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Posted by on Jan 21, 2021 in Politics, Work | 0 comments

Faith & Immigration (Op-Ed for the Boulder Weekly)

Faith & Immigration (Op-Ed for the Boulder Weekly)

by Jeff Haanen Scrolling through my Facebook feed, last week I noticed a rare delight: Edith Franco was beaming. Recently graduated with a masters degree, she posed in black cap and gown in front of the Texas State University sign smiling ear to ear.  Almost a decade ago I was her youth pastor at a small church in Brighton. Optimistic, kind and bright, Edith was the first to volunteer, the last to complain and she ran circles around her AP classes in high school. As I wondered where the time had went, I also worried for her: What will an undocumented immigrant do with all that potential?  This week I was one of 180 entities and individuals representing business, law enforcement and faith communities to urge the new Biden administration to reform our nation’s outdated and broken immigration system.  I come to this debate not as a business leader, clamoring for an updated immigration system that meets employment needs of our modern economy, nor as a police officer, wanting...

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Posted by on Mar 16, 2013 in Politics, Video | 0 comments

Interview with Matthew Soerens

Interview with Matthew Soerens

  Change is afoot. The evangelical response to the national immigration debate has swelled, and for the first time since 1986, comprehensive immigration reform is a real possibility. Behind the scenes, many have been laboring for years. My friends in Colorado (Dr. Danniel Carroll of Denver Seminary and Michelle Warren of the Evangelical Immigration Table) have brought a deeply biblical perspective to the generally politically-driven conversation. One of the unsung heroes of the push for immigration reform is Matthew Soerens, co-author of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate. Matthew’s book is one of the best introductions to the thorny immigration debate available on the market. He not only gives a very human perspective to the issue (he’s served as legal aide for undocumented immigrants for years), but he also gives a great introduction to the history of immigration, what the Bible says about immigration, the policy debate, and how Christians can practically “welcome the stranger” in their communities. During the interview, I asked Matthew...

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Posted by on Nov 21, 2012 in Politics | 0 comments

Review: Migration Miracle

Who doesn’t love a good adventure story? In my opinion, there are few contemporary stories filled with more hope and tragedy than those of Central Americans and Mexicans taking their chances and migrating north to America. I recently published a review of Jacqueline Maria Hagan’s Migration Miracle: Faith, Hope and Meaning on the Undocumented Journey (Harvard Press, 2012, paperback) in The Review of Faith and International Affairs. Here it is: Suffocating from the sweltering heat, Cecelia, a migrant from Puebla, Mexico, crammed into the back seat of a sealed van. She and a dozen other women and children dared not speak, despite the lack of oxygen, because their coyote insisted immigration officials were close behind. During the seemingly eternal trip across the U.S. Border, in tears Cecelia remembered, “I prayed in silence to God and pleaded with him to let me live.” Compelled by stories like Cecilia’s, sociologist Jacqueline Maria Hagan tells the harrowing tales of undocumented migrants traveling from Central America and Mexico to the United States in...

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Posted by on Oct 11, 2012 in Politics, Theology | 0 comments

Strangers Next Door

What’s the best mission strategy to reach the nations for Christ? J.D. Payne, a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says your best bet is to reach migrants. I recently reviewed his book Strangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration and Mission for the October print issue of Christianity Today. Here’s an excerpt: David Boyd, a pastor from the suburbs of Sydney, sat on the floor of a smoke-filled room in rural Nepal, and spoke to the village elders through his interpreter and friend Gam. Peppered with questions about the “Jesus way,” he marveled at the opportunity to share the gospel with this unreached people group, a privilege denied to previous missionaries. How was this unlikely door opened? It wasn’t through a short-term missions trip or a Western missionary, but through Gam, a Nepalese migrant who became a Christian at Boyd’s church in Sydney. J. D. Payne, professor of evangelism at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wants to show the West that God is orchestrating the movements of migrants like Gam to help...

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