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On Wisely Engaging Immigration

WHEREAS, By creating them in His own image, God bestowed upon every human inherent value and dignity no matter their background, race, ethnicity, national origin, or language; and

WHEREAS, For the ordering of civil society, God has ordained human government to both restrain evil and promote the good of its people in the distinct roles entrusted to government by God (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14); and

WHEREAS, Flowing from these God-given responsibilities, governments should promote peace and order, including strong borders and clear immigration policies as well as care for migrants— not sacrificing one for the other or capitulating to the ever-shifting cultural and political values of the day; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists are deeply grateful for the men and women who continue to serve our nation and protect its people by patrolling and protecting the border and seeking the good of our neighbors; and

WHEREAS, Christians, including Southern Baptists, have long sought to care for the vulnerable, to promote the dignity and unity of the family, and to provide for those who come to this nation seeking safety, freedom, and opportunity; and

WHEREAS, In the 2018 resolution “On Immigration,” Southern Baptists declared our “desire to see immigration reform include an emphasis on securing our borders and providing a pathway to legal status with appropriate restitutionary measures, maintaining the priority of family unity, resulting in an efficient immigration system that honors the value and dignity of those seeking a better life for themselves and their families”; and

WHEREAS, In the same resolution, we rightly proclaimed that “any form of nativism, mistreatment, or exploitation is inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ”; and

WHEREAS, God commands us to take the gospel to all people (Matt 28:18-20, Acts 1:8), and here, the nations of the world are coming to our neighborhoods; and

WHEREAS, Our churches continue to strive to reflect the kingdom of heaven which includes people from every tribe, nation, and tongue—including immigrants—who seek to love God and love their neighbor as themselves as they serve our communities in faithfulness and are part of God’s work in revitalizing our churches (Matthew 22:37-39); now, therefore, be it 

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 13-14, 2023, affirm the inherent dignity and value of immigrants and refugees, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, culture, national origin, or legal status; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we ask our government leaders to provide clear guidance for immigrants and asylum seekers regarding border policies, legal entry into this country, and work opportunities; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we implore our government leaders to maintain robust avenues for valid asylum claimants seeking refuge and to create legal pathways to permanent status for immigrants who are in our communities by no fault of their own, prioritizing the unity of families; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage elected officials to prioritize measures that secure our borders and to provide adequate resources to border patrol and those working in our immigration system; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge our government to take swift and bold action to protect and prevent the exploitation of unaccompanied immigrant children arriving to the United States; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on federal and state governments to work together in the common pursuit of securing our border, upholding the dignity of immigrants, and protecting our communities; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commend the good work of Southern Baptists among immigrants and refugees and encourage pastors and their congregations to continue sharing the gospel and providing Christlike care for the countless men, women, and children in harm’s way; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we ensure that the language and manner in which we discuss immigration policies and practices recognize and promote the dignity and value of all human beings, including those in our society with differing views and those who seek to come to this nation as migrants; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That as we recognize how the Lord is at work among us, we will continue to strive toward a just and flourishing society, evidenced by love of God and neighbor.