BALTIMORE, Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), and supporters all across America, welcome the significant steps taken today by the Obama Administration that invite our neighbors out of the shadows, bring greater hope and security in the place of fear and stabilize the lives of millions of immigrants living in the United States. The President's historic announcement of new immigration policies brings hope to immigrant families, aids our communities in being places of welcome, and strengthens our nation by living out American values, and lifting up our economy. These actions are grounded in our history as a nation that has been renewed and strengthened by each generation of newcomers.
The policies announced today reflect American values of justice and are an important step towards a more humane immigration system. It is our hope that the President's demonstrated leadership will lead to Congressional action to rebuild an immigration system which further strengthens us as a nation and respects the rights and dignity of people who have come to the United States seeking refuge, family or the dignity of work and wages.
"Today, millions of lives have been changed for the better. We must continue to lift up the American tradition of being a welcoming society that honors freedom, equality, and opportunity and values each and every person," said Linda Hartke, LIRS President and CEO. "The President's actions are a significant step in the right direction – promoting family unity and offering vital solutions for our economy and country."
As a faith-based organization, 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. The President's actions today are consistent with LIRS's core principles of respect for human dignity and the biblical call to welcome the newcomer.
"The Christian church has always stood for family unity and for welcoming the stranger," said Michael Rinehart, Bishop of the Texas-Louisiana Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. "President Obama's action today helps us do more than talk about these concepts. It helps us live them out with our actions."
While today's action addresses several important needs, it is not a substitute for long overdue legislation to fix the immigration system. The Administration's continued practice of locking up immigrant mothers and their children, for example, is unacceptable for our nation and contrary to our values. On this and other key issues, LIRS will continue to advocate for bipartisan and compassionate immigration reforms, like those approved by the Senate in 2013. We look forward to working constructively with the Administration as it implements the policies announced and pursues meaningful protections and policies for those who come to this country seeking refuge.
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.
Press Contact: Miji Bell
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SOURCE Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service