• Evangelical leaders praise Joe Biden's efforts on immigration reform Charles Davis

    Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Jill Biden holds the Bible during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the US Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.

    AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

    President Joe Biden's immediate steps to undue his predecessor's nativist legacy is earning him praise from some evangelical Christian leaders who say he's acting as the Bible instructs.

    Within hours of taking office on Wednesday, Biden signed an executive order overturning former President Donald Trump's ban on travel from largely Muslim countries such as Yemen and Libya. He also moved to preserve existing protections for immigrants brought to the US as children and proposed legislation that would immediately provide

    permanent residency to farm workers and others who fled natural disasters.

    Chris Palusky, CEO of the nonprofit Bethany Christian Services, which assists in the resettlement of child migrants, praised the moves as restoring the United States' status as a "refuge for the overlooked and ignored."

    "At a time of great division in our country, these proposed reforms and executive orders remind us that America can be both strong and compassionate," Palusky said in a statement released by the Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition dedicated to immigration reform "consistent with biblical values."

    Tom Lin, president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, an evangelical campus ministry, said Biden was adhering to the golden rule and Biblical instruction to "not mistreat the foreigner."

    "Public safety and a fair immigration system are not mutually exclusive; as a nation, America can and must do both," Lin said.

    The National Association of Evangelicals, representing more than 45,000 churches across the US, also lauded the new president's more welcoming approach to immigration.

    Galen Carey, the group's vice president of government relations, said he was "thrilled" by both the executive orders and Biden's immigration reform proposal. "This is an important step toward creating a sensible, bipartisan policy that is good for immigrants and good for America," he said.

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