National Lutheran News

LIRS head: Homeland security concerns threaten legitimate immigration

Lutheran Immigration head says U.S. needs to change its law, and quickly

The head of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) believes terror attacks on September 11, 2001, have made it unimaginably difficult for legitimate immigrants to enter the United States.

LIRS President Ralston H. Deffenbaugh Jr. says his agency is supporting The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005, introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators John McCain (Republican, Arizona) and Edward Kennedy (Democrat, Massachusetts).

Based in Baltimore, LIRS is a cooperative ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).

Several factors make comprehensive immigration re-form urgent, Deffenbaugh said. “One is the heightened security concerns after Sep-tember 11. We need to be confident as a country that we do know who is coming into the country,” he said.
On November 28, Pres-ident Bush outlined a three-part plan to reform the nation’s immigration policy. It directs migrant workers to-ward temporary status in the U.S. instead of toward permanent legal resident status.

LIRS espouses “four principles essential to successful reform: uniting families, protecting human rights and worker rights, ending the marginalization of undocumented workers, and providing a path to permanence.”

Calling it “compromise legislation,” LIRS said the McCain-Kennedy bill “goes a long way to carrying out [these] principles.”