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President Donald Trump turned campaign promises on immigration policy into executive orders during his first week in office.
As polls show four in 10 Americans support his promised wall along the Mexican-American border and even more approve of a travel ban on citizens from nine terror-linked countries, Trump’s actions create another obstacle for faith-based immigration activists who work to make outreach to illegal immigrants a core part of religious life. “The Christian scripture, the Hebrew scripture and the Quran are all about creating community, welcoming people, caring for people at the margins and responding to those in need,” said Sister Simone Campbell, director of the NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice. “Policies based on fear and keeping people out are the opposite of a faithful life.”
Trump announced that construction on a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico would begin within a year. He is seeking to enhance the government’s ability to identify and deport illegal immigrants and threatened to take federal funds from cities protecting undocumented citizens. He also banned refugees and other travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, an announcement that sparked protests in airports across the country and four court orders staying the ban.
Sister Campbell and dozens of other faith leaders have decried Trump’s actions, urging America’s religious communities to actively resist his deportation plans.
Catholic, Jewish and Mormon leaders have long been outspoken on immigration policy reform, advocating for a path to legal status for undocumented Americans sometimes in spite of disagreements with the people in their pews. Members of the evangelical Christian community, although still divided on the policy debate, are increasingly linking biblical teachings on welcoming the stranger to more permissive views on immigration. White evangelical Protestants are still more likely to favor heightened border security and enforcement of current laws than creating a path to citizenship. But nearly half of this group (48 percent) now urge policymakers to prioritize both of these goals, compared to 39 percent in 2010, according to data from Pew Research Center.
To read the full article on the Deseret News, click here.