The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) welcomes the White House announcement that the government will no longer deport otherwise law-abiding children of undocumented immigrants. This action does not by itself fix our broken immigration system, but it is an important step in the right direction.

“This new policy is good news for America and is good news for undocumented young adults who came to America through the choice of others. It is the right thing to do,” said Leith Anderson, NAE President. “I hope that the Congress will quickly follow with a just and compassionate reform of our entire system of immigration. Our country has already waited a long time to get our immigration laws fixed. This is an encouraging first step.”

In 2009, the NAE Board of Directors passed a resolution on immigration reform, which was one of the earliest of such calls from a national religious organization. The administration’s new policy is consistent with the NAE resolution, and with the principles announced this week by the Evangelical Immigration Table, a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders committed to immigration reform, including the Southern Baptist Convention, Focus on the Family, Max Lucado, Bill Hybels and Carlos Campo.

In an interview with Christianity Today, Daly said, “[The Focus on the Family board] talked about the NAE statement, strengthening the laws, recognizing the dignity of human beings and what these people face and try to bring some order to it…Let’s get behind this, not play politics with it left or right and not fearmonger with it. These are people that need dignity. Even though in some cases they’ve broken the law, there’s always that heartfelt story out there where you just tear up looking at what they’re facing now. We need to do what’s humane.”

The NAE resolution, among other things, asks the government to “recognize the central importance of the family in society by … reevaluating the impact of deportation on families.”  It also calls for “a sound, equitable process toward earned legal status for currently undocumented immigrants, who desire to embrace the responsibilities and privileges that accompany citizenship.”