Compelling and Credible Witness: The Church and Immigration

The Gospel Initiative’s mission is to support the Church’s mission in creating a compelling, compassionate, and credible gospel presence in contemporary society.

We conduct ongoing research and host conferences related to the most difficult issues in our society. These resources are intended to help pastors and ministry leaders navigate through the complexity and imagine new strategies for gospel engagement. Resources are compiled jointly by TGI staff and program participants. The views and resources presented here do not necessarily represent those of Denver Seminary.

Compelling and Credible Witness: The Church and Immigration

TGI hosted this event on January 27, 2023.

Conference Videos

Dr. Carroll Keynote

Dr. Salvatierra Keynote

Panel Discussion

Research Questions and Findings

  • Cultural complicity with anti-foreigner attitudes, ungrounded fears of immigrants, and racist immigration policies. It appears that these effects are stronger among white evangelicals.
  • Political rhetoric and language that reduces immigrants with commoditizing terms and sub-humanizing labels.
  • Certain national security views tend to absorb the nuances of immigration and frame immigrant issues in terms of security alone.
  • Ignorance of people-moving patterns both currently and historically across the globe, the voluntary and involuntary reasons for these movements, and the kinds of people who move, including children.
  • Certain political alignments that create value tensions between immigration and other public issues.
  • National immigration policy.
  • Employment systems: research consistently suggests that the workplace is an effective arena for immigration reform via job skill training, increasing immigrant bargaining power at work, wage fairness measures, and workplace access to government services and healthcare.
  • The “crimmigration” phenomenon in the U.S. demonstrates the need to decouple carceral structures from immigrant support structures.
  • Public attitudes: Christians need to better recognize anti-immigrant attitudes and find better methods for redressing and reshaping these attitudes.
  • Among immigrants, vulnerability varies wildly. Generally, children, those in poverty, and those lacking education and job skills are most vulnerable. Mental and emotional health significantly compound immigrant vulnerability.
  • The “receiving network” an immigrant does or does not have upon entering the U.S. can greatly impact an immigrant’s vulnerability. Those without close family members and friends or without access to gainful employment benefit most from services that supplement and build these networks.
  • Black Africans especially face steep wage gaps among immigrants in the U.S.; in some models, these gaps cannot be closed in an immigrant’s lifetime.
  • Poverty, healthcare access, and social capital are among an immigrant’s toughest challenges.
  • The biggest losses to the Church come in failing to recognize the high number of Christians who immigrate to the U.S. Not only is it a stain on the Church’s witness to leave the needs of fellow Christians uncared for, but the opportunity loss for strengthened viability and missional expansion among most churches is high.
  • Non-Christians see the incongruity between the message of the gospel and anti-immigrant attitudes among Christians as hypocrisy. This greatly undercuts the witness of the church to share the gospel even among those who do not view themselves as immigrants.
  • Educating the church about the immigrants among them and the theology of immigrants in our Bibles should lead to more winsome language and postures related to immigrants.
  • Contact with immigrants shows promise for shaping one’s immigrant attitudes, language, and politics.
  • Christian employers who train and hire immigrants, pay them fairly, and provide access to relevant resources can create long-term impacts for immigrant families.
  • Preparing for and acting upon politically salient opportunities for immigration reform.

Conference Summary

On January 27, 2023, The Gospel Initiative hosted a conference at Denver Seminary titled Credible and Compelling Witness: The Church and Immigration. Dr. Danny Carroll (Wheaton University) gave a keynote addresses, followed by Dr. Alexia Salvatierra (Fuller Theological Seminary). Dr. Young moderated Q&A with both guests, including panelist Mrs. Michelle Ferrigno Warren (Denver Seminary).

Sixty-five people attended in-person, and twenty-seven attended virtually. Thirty event feedback surveys were received and are summarized below:

“Prior to the conference, I was confident in my caring ministry skills relative to the issue of immigration.”
“As a result of attending, I increased confidence in my caring ministry skills relative to the issue of immigration.”

TGI Resource List

These resources were consulted by The Gospel Initiative while exploring this issue.

“A Permanent Solutions for Afghans” Evangelical Immigration Table. August 10, 2022.

  • Signed by eight different evangelical organizations, it followed the introduction of the Afghan Adjustment Act, introduced to the senate on August 7, 2022. The letter urged congress to take action but did not mention the bill directly. It is a good example of evangelicals coordinating and communicating with non-partisan language to public officials about immigration.

“FOIA Library,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Accessed December 21, 2022,

  • The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires government agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to make certain records public. Hundreds of records are available here, including contracts with detention facilities, 287(g) Memorandums of Agreement (formal agreements where local law enforcement officers enforce federal immigration laws), inspection reports, private contracts, and other statistics. Few records are newer than 2017, but a formal process is available for submitting a new FOIA request and for tracking its progress.

“Top 10 Migration Issues of 2022.” Migration Policy Institute. Accessed December 15, 2022.

  • The article details global migration issues, but those which have the most bearing on life in the U.S. are mentioned below. 7.8 million Ukrainians and 100 million people globally were displaced in 2022, up from 89 million in 2021. To move beyond unilateral solutions and address shifting immigration patterns in the Americas, twenty-one countries signed the non-binding “Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection” in June 2022. Many former immigrant sending nations in Central and South America are now immigrant host countries, with immigration from Venezuela being particularly noteworthy. Labor demands in jobs traditionally held by immigrants remain high in the U.S., the world’s top immigration destination, even as rates have returned to near pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. Despite the economic opportunity, U.S. immigration policy has lagged. With fewer refugees being resettled in the U.S. flexible immigration status categories such as “humanitarian parole” allow policy makers to create changes. However, the long-term effects of such categories on individuals are unknown, especially in relation to citizenship. Climate migrant numbers are rising in the wake of flooding in Pakistan and droughts in East Africa while the effects on local and transcontinental jurisdictions are still not well understood. Restrictions on asylum seekers and stronger border enforcement policies appear to be trending across the globe.

Achiume, E.T. “Governing Xenophobia.” Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 51, no. 2 (2018): 333-398.

  • International laws regarding refugees and the movement of people across transnational borders have increasingly addressed the topic of xenophobia. Xenophobia is defined as “anti-foreigner attitudes and actions that should be understood as political in fundamental respects.” The body of relevant laws and politics in this regard is referred to as “the framework,” as they are often indirect or unclear where xenophobia is concerned. Normative ethical principles of non-discrimination, equality, and tolerance undergird this framework and find expression in International Refugee law, documentation of the International Convention of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), and other UN declarations. The framework is criticized first for its individualistic, prejudice-based conceptualization of xenophobia that leads to criminalization. This approach overlooks the broader social, economic, and political spheres which are better systems to target for legal action against xenophobia and xenophobic anxiety.  A low bar for what qualifies as xenophobic anxiety is set as anti-immigrant intention. The question is raised as to whether territorial exclusion or religious grounds for immigrant admittance constitute legitimate functions of state sovereignty. As a result of the individualistic approach, the framework itself can function to compound xenophobia. The second criticism of the framework centers on the lack of shared responsibility among neighboring states for the plight of refugees. Citing figures from 2015, 1.8 million refugees were newly displaced, but only 6% were resettled, and only 66,500 in the United States. 80% of refugees are concentrated in the Third World, where countries are not able to achieve the same level of refugee exclusion. Meanwhile, countries such as the U.S. are under no formal legal obligation to assist, and often respond with xenophobic refugee bans, as was the case during the Syrian refugee crisis. Involuntarily displaced migrants, a broader category than “refugee,” is used to analyze the increased mobility of people, especially on economic grounds. If the rate of such migration remains constant, by 2050 there will be 321 million such migrants, making regional containment strategies increasingly untenable. By the same year, it is projected that high income countries such as the U.S. will see population growth of 82% due to international immigration.

Beier, Johnathan, Lauren Farwell, Rhonda Fleischer, and Essey Workie. “Four Strategies to Improve Community Services for Unaccompanied Children in the United States.” Migration Policy Institute and UNICEF. December 2022.

  • The four strategies are: 1) improving interagency coordination and communication, 2) leveraging the role of public schools to connect children with comprehensive support, 3) using interdisciplinary approaches to address needs holistically, and 4) developing a diverse and highly skilled workforce in organizations that serve unaccompanied children. “Collectively, these four strategies recognize that the best way to support unaccompanied children when they arrive in local communities is to build trust, strengthen ties, and facilitate communication—not only between children and service providers, but also among and within service-providing organizations themselves.”

Bohn, Sarah, and Robert Santillano. “Local Immigration Enforcement and Local Economies.” Industrial Relations 56, no. 2 (2017): 236-262. DOI:10.1111/irel.12172.

  • Federal law established in 1996 by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act created a program called 287(g). It allowed local authorities to enforce immigration laws by investigating documentation status during routine traffic stops and at other connection points with police. From 2004-2009, county level datum with active 287(g) programs were examined for economic impact from the program. In such counties, analyzed in pairs, employer reported employment in the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages fell 7-10% in specifically racialized sectors such as landscaping, janitorial work, and maintenance. Manufacturing employment increased 4% over the same time in these counties, and researchers attributed the effect to an increase in employer reporting of documented workers, corresponding with a shift to hire more documented employees. These results weakly support the narrative that enforcement of current immigration laws is more economically harmful than helpful. Results could influence local law enforcement of future immigration policies.

Bolter, Jessica, Muzaffar Chishti, and Doris Meissner. (2021). “Back on the Table: U.S. Legalization and the Unauthorized Immigrant Groups that Could Factor in the Debate.” Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved March 10, 2021 from:

  • The undocumented immigrant population in the United States is put in focus. The historic lack of a legalization process for these immigrants is highlighted in contrast to the public majority supporting it. Overall, undocumented immigrants are presented as a significant population, around 10 million, and as people who are deeply imbedded in society. Overlapping undocumented sub-populations, such as farm workers, so called “Dreamers,” and front-line workers are explicated. Citing the reform posture of the Biden administration, several legislative and executive options are presented along with their relative population impact and estimates on their feasibility. The authors intend to inform policy makers of the options as they seek needed reform.

Butz, Adam M., and Jason E. Kehrberg. “Anti-Immigrant Sentiment and the Adoption of State Immigration Policy.” Policy Studies Journal, 47, no 3 (2019): 605-623. DOI: 10.1111/psj.12326

  • Existing scholarship on the predictors of subnational immigration policy sentiment tend to utilize poor proxies, such as immigrant population size, for anti-immigration attitude. Accordingly, a more robust and direct measure is developed, based on survey data from the American National Election Study and the General Social Survey. While the relationship was almost always in the predicted direction, this anti-immigrant sentiment failed to significantly predict restrictive state-level immigration policy in all models but one. Immigration population size was significantly correlated with more welcoming and more hostile policies at the same time. In general, researchers conclude that immigration goes through seasons of political saliency and that subnational anti-immigration policies develop only when public opinion is strong. The effects of 9/11 on immigration policy are discussed and concluded to be short-lived, having tapered off between 2007-2009. The subnational jurisdictional policy options related to immigration are reviewed, such as regulatory measures on employers who hire immigrant workers, access to Medicaid, and access to other social assistance. It is assumed that a state’s immigration policy climate is fundamentally about how the elites set policy for certain groups. Immigration preferences can influence or predict other policy attitudes, and they can be strong in jurisdictions where there are relatively low immigrant populations. Guidance for future researchers includes careful selection of the unit of analysis and of robust variables to ensure tight fit between theory and research design. It is also admitted that other theoretical mechanisms might have greater impact on anti-immigration policies.

Champlin, Dell P., and Janet T. Knoedler. “Dualistic Discourse and Immigration Policy.” Journal of Economic Issues 54, no. 1 (2020): 38-53. DOI: 10.1080/00213624.2020.1720562

  • Immigration policy is about what qualifies one to become an American. The central question of immigration policy is whether it is possible to exclude one from citizenship on “legitimate” economic grounds without enforcing “illegitimate” racist criteria. Authors argue that not only is this highly unlikely, owing to the long racist history of immigration policy in the U.S. dating back to the 1700s, but also that both economic and racial citizenship criteria lead to the same immigration policies. It is shown that whether immigrants are publicly perceived as “criminals” or “workers,” both monikers carry the connotation of public threat. The “criminal” threat stems from increasingly restrictive immigration policies and the criminalization of immigration violations. The “worker” threat depends largely on conventional labor market analyses that assume low-skilled immigrant workers threaten the wages and jobs of low-skilled citizens. An alternative institutionalized labor market framework is advanced to demonstrate that low-skilled, unauthorized immigrant workers are more often penalized in their wages than low-skilled citizens. Accordingly, more effective immigration reform would be that which reduces the vulnerable status and increases the bargaining power of immigrants in the workplace. Such policy would likely have more overlap with educational and job-skill reform, and its implementation would need to rise above the racist implementations of previous policies.

Gil-Vasquez, Karol. “A Regional Great Transformation: U.S. Contractualization of Citizenship and Crimmigration Regime.” Journal of Economic Issues 54, no. 33 (2020): 569-587. DOI: 10.1080/00213624.2020.1778395

  • Gil-Vasquez takes a Marxist approach to labor and criticizes U.S. immigration policy as a tool for political exclusion. She argues from history, noting the dependence of the textile industry on migrant laborers. As the country transitioned from an industrial capitalist to a finance capitalist society, immigration policy adapted in ways reflective of this transformation. She argues that human rights are only guaranteed and protected by a state, and that only citizenship can confer them in their highest measure. Yet due to the enormous corporate interests in policy, we have tended to commoditize workers for the sake of profits. Current immigration policy is less concerned with citizenship as a means for establishing human rights and a just society. These policies most effect the undocumented, who are ironically drawn to the U.S. for economic reasons. The criminal harboring of undocumented migrants is juxtaposed against the lack of prohibition to hire such migrants. The question of how to address immigrant rights as workers becomes secondary to the cost-benefit analysis of their economic import in keeping wages down to maximize profit. The situation both creates and perpetuates xenophobic tendencies and criminalization of immigrants. It is argued that the imbalance between the market and the state needs to be corrected to meaningfully reform immigration.

Knoll, Benjamin R. “And Who Is My Neighbor? Religion and Immigration Policy Attitudes.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 48, no. 2 (2009): 313-331.

  • Based on data from a 2006 Pew Research study, frequent attenders of religious services were found to have more liberal immigration policy views. The odds of supporting immediate deportation also drop among respondents as their worship service attendance drops below once per week. It is acknowledged that the same effect could be due to a Christian attempt to “love thy neighbor.” However, this was impossible to test for in the models of this study, and it was equally acknowledged that a similar Christian persuasion to “love thy neighbor” could be encouraging immigrants to obey laws and policies. Evidence of public statements by religious and denominational leaders in the U.S. in support of liberal immigration policies are presented. The theory that these elite cues are a more objectively reliable causal mechanism for the pro-liberal immigration phenomenon is supported as such statements need no subjective interpretation. The study extends research on the impact of religious elites on public policy preferences and demonstrates the validity of assessing religion in immigration policy views. As religious factors continue to determine partisan preferences in the U.S., the author notes that “individual religiosity can sometimes lead to more liberal policy preferences.”

Knoll, Benjamin R. “Implicit Nativist Attitudes, Social Desirability, and Immigration Policy Preferences.” The International Migration Review 47, no. 1 (2013): 132-165. DOI: 10.1111/imre.12016

  • This study explores whether political conservatives (“principled objectors”) report anti-immigration policy support for political reasons, for explicitly nativist reasons, or by reason of implicit bias for nativism. Nativism is defined as “the opinion that American culture and way of life needs to be protected against foreign influence.” A dataset from a 2009 study conducted by the author with 625 non-Hispanic whites from a large midwestern university is analyzed. Among other batteries, respondents took an implicit attitude assessment designed to measure implicit bias for traditional American culture against Latino-American culture. Analysis revealed that implicit nativist attitudes occurred at some level in 80% of respondents, while 23% of the same sample reported explicit nativist attitudes. While political conservatives demonstrated greater implicit nativism, it was concluded that they likely object to pro-immigration policies for politically consistent reasons. Rather than misrepresenting their survey answers for reasons of social desirability, it is more likely that such respondents are unaware of the effect of their implicit nativism on their policy preferences. Because culture and demography vary widely in the U.S., more research is needed to confirm results. However, data relationships suggested that where Latino immigrant populations are more prevalent, the effect would be stronger.

Lipka, Michael. “Most Americans express support for taking in refugees, but opinions vary by party and other factors.” Pew Research. September 19, 2022.

  • “Hispanic evangelicals, Black protestants, and White nonevangelical protestants all are more likely than White evangelical protestants to say accepting refugees should be very important.” Hispanic Catholics were also found to be more likely to say that refugee acceptance should be very important. The original survey did not define “refugee” for respondents.

Lopez, Mark Hugo, and Mohamad Moslimani. “Latinos See U.S. as Better Than Place of Family’s Ancestry for Opportunity, Raising Kids, Health Care Access.” Pew Research. January 20, 2022.

  • Latinos are still by far the largest group of immigrants living in the U.S. Nearly a quarter of the U.S. immigrant population is from Mexico alone. Pew investigated the perceptions of these immigrants and found that, overwhelmingly, if they could do it again, they would migrate to the U.S. To the third generation, these immigrants said that opportunities to get ahead, conditions for raising children, and access to health care are better in the U.S. compared to their country of origin. At the same time, they reported that family ties were weaker in the U.S. than in their country of origin, but these results equalize when immigrants reach the third generation in the U.S. or higher.

Loyd, Jenna M., and Alison Mountz. “Introduction” in Boats, Borders, and Bases: Race, the Cold War, and the Rise of Migration Detention in the United States, 1-28. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2018.

  • The history of border policies and practices in the U.S. since 1980 reveals a carceral infrastructure of immigrant treatment. While asylum is an international right, U.S. immigration courts are not required to provide lawyers in asylum cases as they are in criminal court. Transnational conflict, backlogged immigration courts, racism, xenophobia, and the influence of criminal justice law have contributed to the carceral tendencies in immigrant treatment in the U.S. The creation of government branches such as Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), domestic and offshore immigrant holding facilities, and a “legal liminality” for many migrants point to an oppressive immigration policy regime. While many immigrants come for economic reasons, this generalization in public discourse serves to oversimplify immigration and overlooks the situations of asylum seekers and refugees. The growing “crimmigration” phenomenon is discussed. Today there are more than 600 facilities used to house immigrants, most of which are in economically depressed towns with links to existing or decommissioned carceral and military facilities.

Muruthi, B.A., K.K. Hyoun, J. Muruthi, and K. Jaehee. “Immigrant Families: Resilience Through Adversity.” In Families & Change: Coping with Stressful Events and Transitions, Sixth Ed. edited by Kevin R. Bush and Christine A. Price, 229-254. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2021.

  • Data patterns and sending countries reveal that economic opportunity continues to drive immigration to the U.S. Itinerant stressors on immigrants are identified and classified as different from ongoing stressors. Along with communication, the traditional and cultural values underlying family belief systems are discussed as aids to family resiliency. “Liminal legality,” the idea of a family’s ambiguous legal status in reference to citizenship is explored. Differences between immigrant experiences for children, the elderly, and refugees are highlighted. Acculturation, a natural and stressful process for immigrants, is outlined in a four-step path. Conflicting research findings on stress stemming from family roles among immigrants are discussed, especially where children function as cultural liaisons for their immigrant parents. Mental, physical, and emotional health are all factors of immigrant family stress and adaptation. Suggestions are made for points of intervention with immigrant families.

Nowrasteh, Alex, Andrew C. Forrester, and Michelangelo Landgrave. “Illegal Immigration and Crime in Texas.” CATO Working Paper, no. 60 (October 13, 2020): 1-28.

  • Texas is the only state that tracks legal and illegal immigration status on criminals. Because it is a republican controlled state that borders Mexico, it is an excellent place to study the correlation between legal immigration status and criminality. According to the study, “from 2012 through the end of 2018, illegal immigrants in Texas had an average criminal conviction rate 42 percent below that of native-born Americans. Legal immigrants had a criminal conviction rate 63 percent below that of native-born Americans during the same period. Arrest rates are also lower for illegal immigrants during the entire period, but lowest of all for legal immigrants.” Using established methodology for counting the legal and illegal immigrants in other states, evidence suggests that these rates hold nationwide. Researchers conclude that illegal immigration remains a serious problem in the United States, but not because illegal immigrants increase the crime rate.

Sherkat, Darren E. and Derek Lehman. “Bad Samaritans: Religion and Anti-Immigrant and Anti-Muslim Sentiment in the United States.” Social Science Quarterly 99, no. 5 (2018): 1791-1806.

  • Research explores the relationships between negative sentiment toward immigrants and indicators of Christian faith. They find that certain sectarian protestants and white Catholics are less likely to support civil liberties for Muslims in the U.S. and are more likely to express hostility towards Muslims and Immigrants. The effect lessens as income and education increase. Biblical inerrantists had the highest correspondence with immigrant hostility, while those identifying as religious “nones” had the lowest. Association with Christian nationalism also had a significant correlation with opposition to Muslim civil liberties. The polarizing and differing messages offered by evangelicals and by Trump supporters are mentioned in this regard.

Tesfazion Petros and Yaqin Su. “The Economic Assimilation of African Immigrants in the United States.” International Migration 57, no. 3 (2019): 155-133. DOI: 10.1111/imig.12562

  • As of 2019 Africans are among the fastest growing immigrant groups to the United States. Their arrivals in the United States before 1975 through 2006 are analyzed empirically. Nearly 50% of those sampled had a bachelors or a graduate degree, while only 18% of non-Africans had either degree. Despite their higher education and their high English proficiency relative to other immigrants, African immigrants face extremely low rates of return on their education upon entry. Earnings for African immigrants are 30% below that of the next lowest immigrant group upon arrival. Calculated numerically, the entry deficit for African immigrants is between 20 and 28 percent, while the same deficit for non-African immigrants is less than 10 percent. Although most African immigrants can close most of the wage gap over time, modeling shows the deficit is so wide that they will never have earnings comparable to other immigrants. While age at immigration and years since immigration are important factors, based on the Immigrant Human Capital Investment Model, African Immigrants struggle mostly with skill transferability upon arrival. School quality and economic structures of the widely varied African sending countries represent further research opportunities to explain this phenomenon.

Weng, Suzie S. “Asian Immigrant Integration in the Southern Region of the United States.” Society 56, no. 1 (2019): 63-73. DOI: 10.1007/s12115-018-00325-6

  • The Asian American population is projected to increase 262% between 2008 and 2050. Weng surveys the issues of immigration and race and notes motifs of white supremacy and cultural threat in academic literature. Integration is discussed as a two-way process by which immigrants develop belonging, social ties, and trust, and experience the same from their local communities and institutions. In a purposive qualitative study, twenty-eight Asian American Immigrants and re-settlers in the southern U.S. were interviewed about their experiences of integration. Those who received it reported housing, education, and employment assistance. Participants suggested the idea of embracing diversity as an integration strategy for both Asian Americans and the communities to which they immigrate. The idea was supported by contact theory in the literature. Several immigrants in the study also shared the strategy of living near one another to create a support network in an unfamiliar environment. Other research found when non-immigrants live near immigrants it reduced nativist attitudes.

Select, relevant scriptures:

Genesis 15:13; Exodus 23:9; Leviticus 19:33-34; Leviticus 25:23; Deuteronomy 27:19; Jeremiah 7:5-7; Matthew 25:34-36; Philippians 3:20; 1 Peter 1:17

Constituent Resource List

These resources were reported by our community. TGI offers those which are most relevant.

Books, listed by newest publication date

  • The Bible and Borders: Hearing God’s Word on Immigration by M. Daniel Carroll R. (Brazos Press, 2020). From the publisher: “With so many people around the globe migrating, how should Christians and the church respond? Leading Latino-American biblical scholar M. Daniel Carroll R. (Rodas) helps readers understand what the Bible says about immigration, offering accessible, nuanced, and sympathetic guidance for the church.”
  • Welcoming the Stranger by Matthew Soerens and Jenny Yang (IVP, 2018). From the publisher: “Immigration is one of the most complicated issues of our time. Voices on all sides argue strongly for action and change. Christians find themselves torn between the desire to uphold laws and the call to minister to the vulnerable.” Originally published in 2009, this updated edition includes “new material on refugees and updates in light of changes in political realities.”
  • Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis by Stephan Bauman, Matthew Soerens, Issam Smeir (Moody Publishers, 2016). From the publisher: “How should Christians respond to the people seeking refuge on our shores? What will rule our hearts? Fear or compassion? In Seeking Refuge, three experts from World Relief, a global organization serving refugees, offer a practical, well-rounded, well-researched guide on this timely issue. Drawing from history, public policy, psychology, personal stories, and their own unique Christian worldview, the authors offer a nuanced and compelling portrayal of the plight of refugees and the extraordinary opportunity we have to love our neighbors as ourselves.” Recipient of Christianity Today’s Award of Merit in Politics and Public Life, 2016.

Non-book Resources

  • Dialogues on the Refugee Crisis with Carla Barnhill, ed., and Aaron Christopher, dir. (2018). An eight-week curriculum developed to “bring perspective and meaningful conversations around this topic, both at a local community level and from a national policy perspective.” For purchase on Sparkhouse, curriculum includes a facilitators guide, a learner book, and DVDs, which can each be purchased separately. Order here:
  • We Welcome – a loose association (not currently a structured organization) of about 10,000 that is “trying to help families, friends, church groups and lawmakers have more nuanced conversations about immigration.” They keep a short list of links around the web and are most active on Instagram.

Resources Organizations

  • Colorado Hosting Asylum Network – A non-faith-based, 501(c)3 that “supports asylum seekers on their journey to an independent, meaningful life in the U.S.”
  • Project Renew – “A collaboration of local non-profits and churches providing hospitality and shelter for asylum seekers who arrive in the Denver area.” Formally, Project Renew is an initiative of Denver Community Church.
  • Casa de Paz – They welcome those released from, and reunite families separated by, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Aurora, CO, at their one-night guest house.
  • Refugee and Asylee Program of Lutheran Family Services of the Rocky Mountains (LFSRM) – They “help people who have been uprooted by persecution and violence work towards self-sufficiency through essential resettlement services, including housing, employment, English language, and cultural orientation. Some locations have other grant-funded programs. School programs are available in our Colorado Springs and Greeley locations. We work together with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) and other churches, organizations, community groups, businesses, and individuals to provide the services and supplies necessary for refugees to become self-sufficient and integrate into their new communities.”
  • Office of New Americans (State of Colorado) – Started as a state initiative and codified into its own office in 2021, they “serve as the point of contact for state agencies, private sector organizations, and the public to advance the integration and inclusion of immigrants and refugees in Colorado communities.”
  • Women of Welcome (a division of World Relief) – They are “on a mission to engage the Church to live out her biblical calling to advocate and care for the needs of immigrants and refugees.”
  • Immigrant Pathways Colorado – They were “founded in 2009 to support self-development activities and the integration of immigrants and refugees into the Denver Metro area.”