December 4, 2014 STATEMENT—Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Opposes H.R. 5759, the “Executive Amnesty Prevention Act”

Washington, D.C.—Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), the national organization established by Lutheran Churches in America to serve uprooted people, opposes the “Executive Amnesty Prevention Act” (H.R. 5759). This legislation, intended to prevent the President from implementing executive actions on immigration matters, would have devastating unintended consequences on millions of families, as well as other vulnerable individuals fleeing violence and persecution.

Grounded in our faith, LIRS has long advocated for an immigration system that encourages and supports keeping families together, and better protects children, migrants, refugees and other vulnerable persons. By preventing any Administration from acting to even temporarily protect from deportation categories of persons who are present in the United States without documentation, this bill contradicts LIRS’s core principles of respect for human dignity and the biblical call to welcome the newcomer.

LIRS and Lutherans across America welcome President Obama’s steps to invite our family members, neighbors and coworkers out of the shadows; replacing fear and instability with hope and security.  The Immigration Accountability Executive Actions strengthen our communities and congregations by keeping families together. Policies to welcome newcomers are grounded in our history as a nation that has been renewed and strengthened by each generation of migrants and refugees.

While the President’s action addressed several important needs, it is only temporary and is not a substitute for long overdue legislation to fix the immigration system. Rather than trying to obstruct the President’s actions, Congress should work to enact compassionate and just immigration reforms. LIRS will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to ensure that our immigration system maintains our proud legacy as a nation of welcome and refuge.

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Founded in 1939, LIRS is the second largest refugee resettlement agency in the United States. It is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations, and for providing services to migrants through over 60 grassroots legal and social service partners across the United States. Celebrating 75 years of service and advocacy this year, LIRS has helped more than 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.