As the crisis over immigration and migrant children grows, numerous InterVarsity Press authors are putting power behind their written words as they work to change policies, bring about change, and educate the public about what is happening and what can be done.
Jeff Crosby, InterVarsity Press publisher, said, “I am thankful for the work of IVP authors and friends such as Kent Annan and his book You Welcomed Me: Loving Refugees and Immigrants Because God First Loved Us and Matthew Soerens and Jenny Yang and their book Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate. Like other books published in recent years motivated by the ever-expanding crisis, Annan, Soerens, and Yang address issues of migration, asylum, and refugee populations in helpful, merciful, just, thoughtful, and practical ways.”
Annan was one of a number of IVP authors in Washington, DC, this week speaking out on behalf of migrants and their families. Sandra Maria Van Opstal, Kimberly McOwen Yim, Dale Hanson Bourke, Nikki A. Toyama-Szeto, Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, and others also took action in the nation’s capital for World Refugee Day and the Not Without My Child Campaign.
Annan, a senior fellow at the Humanitarian Disaster Institute of Wheaton College, spoke at a press conference and met with staff in six congressional offices. He said, “When we asked both Republicans and Democrats, they all said that they pay attention when people send letters, emails, or call their offices. They pay attention to letters to the editors or guest op-ed pieces in the local paper. It’s a frustrating time to be advocating for refugees and immigrants. But we saw this past week that raising your voice in a democracy can make a difference.”
Annan’s forthcoming book You Welcomed Me (November 2018) lays out ways to make a difference during this immigration crisis. He writes about how fear and misunderstanding can motivate our responses to people in need. Instead, he invites people into stories that lead them to see the current refugee and immigrant crisis in a new light. He also lays out simple practices for a way forward: confessing what separates us, listening well, and partnering with, not patronizing, those in need.
“I find the approach of the administration on these issues deeply disturbing and discouraging,” Annan said. “But giving up hope isn’t an option, nor is not working for change. People’s lives are at stake—some of the most vulnerable people in our world. Our country is made poorer (not great) morally and economically and in other ways by failing on these issues. As a Christian, I believe (as Jesus said) that to welcome the stranger is to welcome him [Jesus], welcome love, and welcome God.”
In Welcoming the Stranger, Soerens and Yang, both immigration experts at World Relief, put a human face on the issue and tell stories of immigrants’ experiences in and out of the system. With careful historical understanding and thoughtful policy analysis, they debunk myths and misconceptions about immigration and show the limitations of the current immigration system. Ultimately they point toward immigration reform that is compassionate, sensible, and just, as they offer concrete ways to welcome and minister to immigrant neighbors. Soerens said, “At a time of heated debate around the country, Christians in particular can be a sensible voice for reason and compassion in our nation’s immigration discourse and debate.”
Soerens was on Capitol Hill this week, at the Texas border, and speaking to the media in between as he advocated for refugees. He tweeted, “It’s been a crazy week: from CNN-Chicago to Capitol Hill to the border to Mexico. I’m exhausted. Grateful for the people with whom I get to do this work. Prayerful, for much remains undone. After thinking about kids a lot this week, I mostly want to get home and hold my kids tight.”
Crosby said that IVP is committed to working with authors like these who write about and advocate for “the least of these;” authors who put action behind their words and provide resources that help people understand how to put their own faith into action for issues such as immigration. Crosby said, “Even more than selling books I am interested in linking our resources with the unjust conditions of the country and the world.”
Crosby added, “We all need to educate ourselves and respond biblically, compassionately, and thoughtfully in the face of this crisis. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead a publishing house that is genuinely seeking to address these and other issues that plague our broken and divided world. We do, collectively, have the tools necessary to address them. Will we have the courage and the will?”
For a complete list of immigration and justice-related titles, visit ivpress.com.