Matthew Soerens has served with World Relief, the NAE’s relief and development arm, since 2007. He is currently the U.S. director of church mobilization, and seeks to help churches understand the realities of refugees and immigration and to respond in ways guided by biblical values. He also serves as the national coordinator for the Evangelical Immigration Table. Soerens is co-author of “Welcoming the Stranger” and “Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis” and holds degrees from Wheaton College and DePaul University’s School of Public Service.
Our nation has been gripped by images and stories from the U.S./Mexico border. We have heard statistics, opinions and countless messages about the tens of thousands who are trying to cross the border into the United States each month. Many of us feel helpless and don’t know what can or should be done. Matthew Soerens joins Today’s Conversation to clarify what’s going on at the border and how Christians can make a difference.
In this podcast, you’ll hear Matthew Soerens and NAE President Leith Anderson discuss their recent trip to the U.S./Mexico border and:
- Why so many people are leaving their countries to come to the United States;
- What leaders agree on regarding a solution to the crisis;
- How churches and nonprofits are ministering along the border; and
- What churches thousands of miles away can do.
Read a Portion of the Transcript
Leith: How is today’s situation at the border unique in a place where there’s long been migration?
Matt: I think the single biggest factor that makes this different is so many children. Close to half of the people who have arrived in the past few months have been children. And we can’t treat a 6-year-old or a 10-year-old the same way we would treat a 25-year-old or 40-year-old. Of course, I think any of us would agree that children don’t make the decision to come in the first place, and the reasons that they’re coming are also somewhat distinct.
I’m sympathetic to someone coming and fleeing poverty for a better life. That was my ancestors’ story to come to the United States. But, many people coming are expressing a fear of violence and persecution, which is consistent with very high rates of gang violence in particular and of homicide in those particular countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. A lot of the individuals coming — not all, some are just saying, “I’m fleeing poverty” — but many of them would tell you, if you asked why they’re coming, a pretty horrific story of fleeing violence and trying to protect their families from being killed, or raped, or otherwise harmed.
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- Inhumane Conditions for Migrant Children Are Unacceptable — Letter to the president, vice president and members of Congress, June 27, 2019
- Immigration 2019 — NAE resolution on immigration
- Evangelical Immigration Table
- World Relief