Faith Leaders Oppose Goodlatte Immigration Bill

Seventy-nine faith leaders sent a letter to Congress in opposition to H.R. 4760, an immigration proposal that would undermine immigrant communities under the guise of protecting immigrant youth. Read the full text of the letter with the full list of nearly eighty signers.


Leaders from nine national, faith-based organizations also commented, urging members of Congress to reject the Goodlatte immigration and similar White House proposal. Instead they urged legislators to champion bipartisan efforts that include a pathway to citizenship for immigrant youth, protect family unity, and consult with affected communities.


“As a 71-year old humanitarian organization representing 37 Protestant, Anglican, and Orthodox communions, Church World Service wholly rejects H.R.4760, the “Securing America’s Future Act”. This bill is not a solution for dreamers, as it does not include a pathway to citizenship. In addition, it threatens the sanctity of family unity by drastically cutting family-based visas and eliminating the ability of green card holders to sponsor their children over the age of 21. Being able to see your family members, hold your children, and live with your family are the most basic of family values. To redefine family and prevent family unification would not only devastate individual’s lives, it would turn our backs as a nation to our collective future and invalidate our claim to prioritize family values.  CWS urges all Members of Congress to reject H.R.4760 and to instead support the immediate enactment of H.R.3440, the Dream Act of 2017.” – Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO, Church World Service


“The passage of H.R. 4760, the so-called ‘Securing America’s Future Act,’ will do precisely the opposite. It will deal a devastating blow to Dreamers and to their families, and we will all suffer the loss of talented and motivated young people, who are studying, working, and contributing to our communities. In threatening deportation and familial separation, the federal government continues to use Dreamers for the political agenda of terrifying every undocumented immigrant in our country, and for promoting a white supremacist vision of America. The history of the Jewish people demands that we stand with those targeted for dispossession: We well know the tragedy of being forced from home and country because of being considered ‘other.’ The Jewish community today would look very different if our neighbors had stood in solidarity with us in times of persecution. And so today we stand in solidarity with Dreamers across the country and urge Congress to take immediate action and pass the Dream Act.” – Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Executive Director, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights


“NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice calls on Congress to reject H.R.4760 the ‘Securing America’s Future Act’ and immediately pass bipartisan legislation to provide Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship and shield them from deportation.  The clock is ticking and this is an emergency. Congress must work with all deliberate speed to protect these young people who only know the United States as their home.

HR 4760 by Congressman Goodlatte is a callous attempt to use the DACA crisis as an excuse to fundamentally restructure our immigration system in the most anti-immigrant way possible. It has many flaws, but the key one is its impact on family.  Family is the cornerstone of society. This bill would destroy the ability of a person to be reunited with their spouse, their parents, or their children. Breaking up families violates the values of any faith.   That is wrong and Congress must reject this bill.”  – Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS Executive Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice


“Immigrant young people in the United States deserve a compassionate response to their desire to become citizens of the only country they know as home.  The Securing America’s Future Act, H.R. 4760 is NOT the bill they need and deserve.  SAF does not provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers who right now contribute to our society and who yearn for citizenship.  Rather, it takes our country in a wrong, anti-immigrant direction.  Jesus Christ and St. Francis of Assisi taught and modeled reaching out to embrace and include all people in love and compassion.  Franciscan Action Network strongly opposes H.R. 4760 and urges Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that provides a path to citizenship for Dreamers while they are still young and that keeps families together.  H.R. 3440, the Dream Act of 2017, does just that.” – Sr. Margaret Magee, President, Franciscan Action Network


“As a Quaker, I take seriously the biblical mandate to love my neighbor, welcome the stranger, and recognize that of God in each and every person. Congressman Goodlatte’s immigration proposal stands in stark contrast to Quakers’ pursuit of policies that recognize, support, and protect family unity and the well-being of vulnerable populations. It undervalues our immigrant neighbors’ worth, dignity, and contributions to our shared nation. It cements immigrant youth into a permanent underclass, with no option for eventual citizenship. Congress must reject this bill and similar proposals. I urge Congress to instead immediately consider real, bipartisan solutions – such as the Uniting and Securing America Act and the Dream Act – which include a pathway to citizenship for immigrant youth, protect family unity, and take impact on communities into account.”  – Diane Randall, Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers)


“Loving one’s neighbor and compassion toward those who migrate are core values for our Ignatian network, grounded in Catholic Social Teaching and the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Across our network, we have seen undocumented young people and their families place their future in the hands of government leaders, faithfully hoping for a humane approach to immigration reform, affirming the dignity of all people. Representative Goodlatte’s bill, the Securing America’s Future Act, is not a compassionate solution, but rather builds upon anti-immigrant sentiments and creates an environment of distrust between law enforcement and immigrant communities. ISN continues to stand with Dreamers and asks Congress to act upon the urgent need bipartisan solution to create a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.” – Christopher G. Kerr, Executive Director, Ignatian Solidarity Network


“The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is committed to the gospel mandate to welcome the stranger and to love our neighbors. It is that commitment that compels us to strenuously object to the Securing America’s Future Act (H.R. 4760), a bill recently introduced by Representative Bob Goodlatte (VA-6). The bill’s provisions deprive Dreamers of the opportunity to pursue citizenship and threaten family unity. It violates our faith and our national values.

The Securing America’s Future Act does not solve the problem President Trump created when he ended DACA and it does nothing to fix our broken immigration system. It does not include a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and it would eviscerate our family-based immigration system, forever separating U.S. citizens and permanent residents from their parents, siblings, and adult children. America’s children could grow up without knowing their grandparents, aunts, or uncles.

Catholic sisters have a long history of accompanying the immigrant community. We know first-hand the fear and uncertainty that plagues Dreamers and their families. We will continue to walk with Dreamers and advocate for bipartisan legislation that addresses their needs, protects their families, and ensures the dignity of all.” – Carole Shinnick, SSND, Executive Director, Leadership Conference of Women Religious


“Jewish tradition is clear on the treatment of immigrants – in the Torah we are commanded 36 times in different ways to welcome the stranger. We are inspired by this teaching even as we know that DREAMers who have grown up in the United States are not strangers; they are passionate and dedicated members of American society. Our future, and the future of our nation, is stronger with the DREAMers in it. The Securing America’s Future Act (H.R.4760) would only add to the injustice of our country’s immigration system by threatening family unity, severely cutting immigration, and leaving DREAMers without a pathway to citizenship in the country where they grew up and know as home. I urge members of Congress to reject H.R.4760 and instead work towards a real bipartisan solution. The Dream Act (S.1615/H.R.3440) remains the best way to secure the futures of DREAMers. Congress should act immediately to protect the American futures of these courageous young people”. – Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism


“We must see a solution to the longstanding plight of Dreamers who are members of our churches, beloved by their communities, and whose cries for justice are heard by a loving God. HR 4760 Securing America’s Future (SAF) Act would leave Dreamers without a solution they can rely on. It is not progress. It also contains alarming changes to our family based immigration system, making it harder for people to immigrate legally and inevitably separating families. The church is for family unity. We are for welcome. We are for justice, mercy, and hospitality. The SAF Act is none of those things. We call on Congress to take this moment to decisively, across the aisle, lead our country toward a more just—not unjust—system for immigrants and pass a solution that leads to citizenship for Dreamers.” – Rev. Reginald Smith, Director, Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America