Southern Baptists believe that all men and women are created in the image of God and should be safe from harm. God has called Christians to care for the vulnerable both at home and abroad and frequently chastises those who fail to protect the widow, orphan, immigrant, and the poor (Matthew 25:35-40; James 1:27). The ERLC is committed to advocating for human dignity and justice for all vulnerable people.
In 2018, Southern Baptists passed a resolution affirming that God commands his people to treat immigrants with the same respect and dignity as those native born (Leviticus 19:33–34; Jeremiah 7:5–7; Ezekiel 47:22; Zechariah 7:9–10). Additionally, that resolution declared that any form of nativism, mistreatment, or exploitation is inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Southern Baptists encouraged all elected officials to do everything in their power to advocate for a just and equitable immigration system.
Women and children in Central America face high levels of violence, including femicide. Northern Triangle countries have some of the highest homicide rates in the world, with many crimes against women going unreported due to government corruption and justice system failures. This lack of protection and threat of violence has led many vulnerable women and children to make the dangerous journey to the United States to seek asylum protections. Gender-based violence is one of the driving forces of migration, and many female migrants are subjected to rape or sexual abuse on their journey through Mexico.
The Central American Women and Children Protection Act would decrease violence against women and children in Central America by making homes and communities safer. Through agreements with participating governments, funding is provided to increase access to support services for survivors of violence, improve the responsiveness of the justice system to crimes against women and children, and resource local partners who can provide necessary care to vulnerable families.
By deterring violence and increasing local protections, fewer women and children will have to make the dangerous journey to the United States. The ERLC, along with other faith groups, has urged the administration and Congress to prioritize addressing the root causes of migration. Making local communities more just and secure allows women and children to remain safe at home and avoid the additional risk of violence that they assume when they are forced to migrate.
The ERLC urges Congress to swiftly pass the Central American Women and Children Protection Act and provide support to vulnerable populations in Central America.