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ERLC: Child immigrants need different status


WASHINGTON (BP) — People brought into the United States illegally as children should not be treated in the same way as undocumented immigrants who entered as adults, a Southern Baptist public policy specialist told members of Congress.

Duke, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s vice president for public policy, was one of the witnesses at a July 23 hearing before a House of Representatives subcommittee. “These are people who did not make a conscious decision to break the nation’s immigration laws,” Duke told the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security. “They were brought here as minors.”

The United States “should not hold these children accountable for the choices their parents made,” Duke said.

Not all undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors should qualify, he told the subcommittee. “Those who are of good moral character and demonstrate a desire to make their own way through life should be given a chance to come out of the shadows and join in the full life and vitality of our nation,” Duke said.

About 2.1 million people who were brought to the United States illegally before they were 16 years of age could be immediately eligible for conditional legal status or become eligible in the future, Margie McHugh of the Migration Policy Institute testified at the hearing.