USA (MNN) — Attorney general Eric Holder recently made it clear that the federal government would be throttling back on the War on Drugs in an attempt to reduce the number of nonviolent drug offenders in prison. However, the federal government is increasing its prosecution of another group of nonviolent offenders–illegal immigrants.
According to the Department of Justice, undocumented immigrants are one of the fastest-growing segments of the federal prison population. From 2000 to 2011, the number of federal prisoners sentenced for immigration crimes increased by 70 percent.
Crossroad Bible Institute has responded to the need to reach Spanish speakers in the United States. Since 2002, CBI has provided the discipleship courses Grandes Verdades de la Biblia and Resumen de la Biblia in Spanish in order to meet the increasing need for a Bible study program in that language.
President of Crossroad Bible Institute David Schuringa. “Because of the increase of incarceration of undocumented immigrants they’ve needed more places to house them, so now they’re being placed into the United States prison system.”
Furthermore, unlike American citizens, undocumented immigrants are not entitled to court-appointed lawyers, and many cannot afford private representation. Unrepresented immigrants are up to eight times more likely to be deported than those who have counsel. According to Schuringa, “They feel pretty isolated, pretty useless, pretty powerless and so we come to them with the power of Christ and give them hope and we provide them with the tools they need to bring hope to their families when they return.”
How has that affected CBI’s program? Schuinga says, “The demand for the program has just been increasing exponentially. Not only here in the United States, but also throughout Latin America.”
CBI’s Spanish program currently serves three thousand students, about half of whom are detained for immigration offenses. “It’s encouraging to see CBI’s concern for undocumented immigrants,” said Nicolette Chambery, CBI’s advocacy coordinator. “This underrepresented demographic is in need of a voice to speak out on its behalf.”
CBI has stayed on the forefront of this developing issue and continues to support a biblical approach toward aliens and strangers. Without endorsing specific immigration policies, CBI advocates for the fair and kind treatment of aliens without lawful immigration status (Ex. 22:21; Deut. 1:16; Heb. 13:2).
Moreover, CBI is partnering with like minded organizations to ensure that all human beings are treated with dignity and that their basic human rights are protected. “Christians are called to show the same grace to foreigners that God in Christ has shown us,” said CBI president Dr. David Schuringa, “so that all may come to know the Gospel and be accepted into the family of faith.”
CBI is a nonprofit prison ministry with over 45,000 students studying through satellite campuses on six continents. The program is provided at no cost to prisoners and their families.