Christians push for new immigration process as they support deferred status

AP Felipe Sousa Matos, of Brazil, holds his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) papers during a news conference in … Continued


Felipe Sousa Matos, of Brazil, holds his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) papers during a news conference in Miami on Aug. 15, 2012.

Last Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security finally offered more than 1 million young, aspiring citizens the chance to contribute to the country they love and call home.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which Homeland Security announced earlier this summer, is an initiative to provide relief for young immigrants who were brought here as children, often referred to as dreamers. As CEO of the Christian Community Development Association, I have had the opportunity to work with many of these bright young people.

One of them is Eduardo. When he was 10 years old, Eduardo realized there was something different about him and his family. His sister came home in tears after learning she couldn’t get a driver’s license. This wasn’t because of a failed exam. The 16-year-old had no legal immigration status.

Eduardo didn’t feel the reality of his own immigration status until much later. An active church congregant, Eduardo wasn’t able to join the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program because he didn’t have a Social Security number. “I was trying to positively contribute to my community,” he explains, “but I wasn’t able to because of my legal status.”

Eduardo, whose parents came to the United States when he was 1, lied to friends for years about why he couldn’t drive and didn’t have a job. “I was ashamed to tell my friends the truth, and I was also afraid of what they would think of me if they knew the truth,” he says. Doors to jobs and educational funding were closed to Eduardo, leaving him frustrated and struggling to stay hopeful.

Eduardo’s life is about to change. He may now begin the process of applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Since his earliest memories, America has been Eduardo’s home. He has worked hard, has played by the rules and hasn’t gotten in trouble with the law. Now, he will be able to apply for a two-year work permit that will allow him to fulfill his dream of giving back to the community he loves as a full-time job.

Immigration is an issue that matters to Christians of all stripes and colors. Faith has motivated many to fight for changes in the system, and faith has inspired Eduardo. In his own words:

Eduardo’s hope is to make his parents proud by finding a job doing community development to make sure other youths have the opportunities his parents provided for him. Our country needs more people like this young man.

Let’s hope, pray, and fight for a system where all young people like Eduardo can pursue their dream of making their communities, and this country, a better place. They know that being an American is about more than where you were born. It’s about contributing and improving this place we all love.

This initiative will open previously closed doors for over a million young people, but this will not create an immigration process that works. I’ve taken a stand, along with over 150 prominent evangelical leaders, to put forth common-sense moral principles for a new immigration process.

The signers include the heads of evangelical universities and colleges, nonprofits and denominations, and white and Hispanic mega-church pastors. They span the ideological spectrum, from Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention to Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis.

Unfortunately, within a week, Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman have all made moves to stop these opportunities for young people. This is why Christians are mobilizing again. In just a few days a petition targeted at Brewer, who was the first to take steps to limit the effectiveness of deferred action, has gained over 5,000 signatures from concerned Christians.

Together, we hope to open doors for more aspiring citizens looking to contribute to this country they call home.

Noel Castellanos is chief executive officer of the Christian Community Development Association.

  • two4three2

    Eduardo—What your parents did was break our immigration laws. There is nothing “inspirational” about that.

    While anyone can understand someone wating to improve their lot in life, the way to immigrate here is to apply, follow all the rules and patiently await your turn. If it is good enough for millions of legal immigrants, it should have been good enough for your parents, too.

    What your parents did was put you and your sister through some difficult times. How can you praise them for that?

    How old are you, Eduardo? When you turned 18 1/2, you were then considered to be officially out of status? Why didn’t you return to your own country and right the wrong that was done to you? Why did you continue to remain here illegally?

    You say you’re a Christian. If so, then you do know that Jesus told his followers to obey the laws of the land when in another country.

  • jeffreed

    One of the foundations of our legal system is that one does not benefit from their crime. For example, see the Son of Sam law. In this case, it seems that an exception is being made for the children of illegal immigrants. Simply put, this is wrong.

  • ThomasBaum


    You wrote, “You say you’re a Christian. If so, then you do know that Jesus told his followers to obey the laws of the land when in another country.”

    I am not saying what Eduardo should do or not do, one way or the other, that is something that he has to decide but Jesus did not say the words that you attempt to put into His mouth, He said, “Give to God what is God’s and to Caesar what is Caesar’s”.

  • two4three2

    Romans 13.1 says:

    Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God.

    That sure sounds like telling others to obey the laws of the land.

  • two4three2

    Or phrased another way, if you prefer:

    Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God

  • magyart1

    Every ILLEGAL Jose and Maria that is given Christian and or govt. support is discriminating against the LEGAL Josif and Magdalena.

  • Loveistheway

    If you are suggesting that God put forth immigration laws and Jesus said to obey immigration laws, you should be ashamed of yourself to call yourself a Christian. Jesus would never say anything of the sort. He said to love thy neighbor and help others. These children have no fault in being here undocumented. It was their parents fault, if you consider it a fault to excape poverty stricken countries for a better life.

  • Portia4

    Eduardo’s parents violated our laws and our national sovereignty. It was dishonorable. They went on to lead a life of deceit. They passed on these characteristics and the values that engender them, such as achieving a “better life” is superior to any law, promoting my own interests in the easiest way supersedes the interests of others, etc. Every illegal alien has a sob story that somehow justifies, in their own minds and the minds of similar kinds, their unlawful acts and their failure to take action in their own countries to improve things for not just themselves but for all their countrymen. This nation is not enriched by people of this ilk.

    Eduardo’s parents put him in a terrible position. But it not the responsibility of this nation to make up for the consequences of parental acts. Parents have been making bad decisions since the beginning of time, and their children have had to live with those decisions. We owe these illegal aliens nothing. Permitting these, or any, illegal aliens to avoid the consequences of illegal acts will require this nation to continue to do so for all future illegal aliens, until this nation is wholly ruined. It is unsustainable in every way.

    And how much money have these “Christian” entities put into fixing the broken nations that encourage their people to become our illegal aliens? Every time I read about a religious organization trying to dictate national political policy, I cannot help but wonder why are not taxing them to the max. Perhaps “the people” should demand to set Church policies for them.

  • ThomasBaum


    You wrote, “Romans 13.1 says:

    Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God.

    That sure sounds like telling others to obey the laws of the land.”

    Wasn’t something to this effect used, or at least attempted to be used, at the Nuremberg Trials?

    In other words, “Just following orders, just following the law”, maybe that is why Jesus said what He said, rather than what you tried to say He said.

    Just because something is legal does not mean that it is right, just as just because something is illegal does not mean that it is wrong.

    By the way, wasn’t that Paul speaking in Romans, not Jesus?

  • two4three2

    So, you’re saying that no country in this world should have immigration laws? In other words, you are in favor of open borders? If so, just admit it.

  • two4three2

    It doesn’t matter who said it, Paul or Jesus. If you are going to bring religion into this argument, then a biblical quote is apt.

  • ThomasBaum

    I didn’t bring religion into this argument, you did, I just responded to what you said Jesus said when He, according to the bible, did not say what you said He said.

  • ThomasBaum


    You wrote, “So, you’re saying that no country in this world should have immigration laws? In other words, you are in favor of open borders? If so, just admit it.”

    Why not?

    Aren’t we all human beings?

    Doesn’t the founding papers of this country say something to the effect that: All men (human beings) …”, it doesn’t say All men (human beings) that have “legal” status with this country are endowed by the creator with certain inalienable or unalienable, one or the other, rights but ALL men (human beings), isn’t that what the founding papers say?

    Of course, I am not the one who makes the laws in this country much less the rest of the world but the present immigration situation sure does make a mockery of what is written on the Statue of Liberty, does it not?

    I might add that it is not just the present situation concerning immigration that makes a mockery of what is written on the Statue of Liberty, by any stretch of the imagination.

  • wigglwagon

    There is nothing christian about helping illegal aliens force citizen and legal resident families into unemployment and poverty.

  • naksuthin

    Thus says the Lord GOD: I will make a stormy wind break out in my wrath;
    and there shall be a deluge of rain in my anger.” Ezekiel 13:13

    There is a reason why God has sent this hurricane at the sae time as the Republican Convention and 7 years to the day after he sent Katrina . God is speaking to us.
    Can it be that God is displeased that , for the first time, a Mormon …who believes in false
    Gods and false Scripture…has been selected to lead the Republicans instead of a Christian??
    God is speaking to us. We need to listen

  • hdatl

    Thanks, Noel, for your steadfast leadership. I appreciate your work!

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