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Immigration Policy and the Effect on Missionaries Worldwide, part 2: Mission Statistics

Mark 16:15 – And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

Last week I reviewed a little bit about what I learned about immigration reform in America since 1790.  I received a few questions as to my post last week. The first had to do with sources. I used quite a bit, but the majority of my sources came from both www.uscis.gov (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) and Pew Research, a nonpartisan fact tank.

Also, I want to suggest to people to take my post last week as a beginning to the conversation. There is no lack of controversy when you begin discussing immigration reform. Some people will agree completely with what I say about it and others won’t. But rather than turning my blog into a potential “fake news” site, I would rather you use it to begin the conversation and to spark a desire to research about the issues yourself rather than taking what people say without doing the research.

That said, I want to take this week and discuss the world as seen by a missionary sending organization.  I am going to be talking about several different Christian-specific principles, so if you have questions about it, again, please do the research and don’t just potentially quote me out of context.

I am pulling this information from several different missions organizations and societies. When dealing with such large numbers in the billions, do not get bogged down in arguing a few thousand people one way or the other. the majority of my world statistic numbers will be coming from 2014 government data.

To start, there are almost 7.2 billion people on the earth today with a median age of just under 30 and a life expectancy of about 68 years. The countries which have the highest population are (in order):

  • China – 1.3 billion
  • India – 1.2 billion
  • USA – 318 million
  • Indonesia – 253 million
  • Brazil – 202 million
  • Pakistan – 196 million
  • Nigeria – 177 million
  • Bangladesh – 166 million
  • Russia – 142 million
  • Japan – 127 million

Out of all of the people in the world, they are broken into 16,761 distinct people groups. A people group is defined as an ethnolinguistic group with a common self-identity that is shared by the members. The organization, The Joshua Project, analyzes all of these people groups and determines how “reached” they are by Christianity.

The first group is the unreached peoples. Those are communities that have less than 2% as evangelical Christian. Of the 16,761 people groups throughout the world, 7,050 of those are unreached! That accounts for over 2.9 BILLION people, or 42% of the world’s population.

The next group is the unevangelized. These are groups that have higher than 2% evangelical Christan but still have very high numbers of unsaved. There are 2,854 unevangelized people groups in the world. That accounts for almost 17%, or 900 million people.

Before I go any further, I need to define what evangelical Christian means. In America, the term “evangelical” holds a very negative connotation as that group of Christians have associated themselves deeply with a singular political party. For terms of this post, an evangelical Christian is a person who believes Jesus is the sole path to salvation, has a personal faith in Him, recognizes the Bible as the inspired Word of God, and is committed to Biblical preaching and evangelism as the way to bring others to faith in Christ.

That brings us to the 10/40 window. Most of the unreached people groups in the world are inside the 10/40 window. It stands for the degrees of latitude, between 10 degrees north to 40 degrees north of the equator. 60% of the unreached groups live in the 10/40 window and over half of the world’s population as a whole are in that window as well.

Of those unreached people groups, the majority of them are Muslim, followed by the majority religions inside China, and then Hindi. Islam has 3,431 of the world’s people groups and 2,854 are unreached. China, one of the fastest growing Christian churches in the world, has 519 of the world’s people groups and 428 are still unreached.

As for the Christians in the world, over 95% of all Christians work within the Christian world. The total number of Christians worldwide is about 2.2 billion with 550 million evangelical. It is pretty amazing to know that evangelical Christians have grown from 3 million in AD 1500 to 550 million today. There are 900 churches for every unreached group and 78,000 Christians for every unreached group.

It is estimated that there are 6,909 languages worldwide. The largest is Mandarin Chinese at 12.44%. This is followed by Spanish at 4.85% and English at 4.83%. Over 4,400 languages in the world do not have a readable version of Scripture available to them. Right now there are over 1,600 languages that have been started for Bible translation, which leaves the rest still needing someone to begin the project.

Reaching the world can be as easy as reaching those international students who have come to America. Right now, there are an estimated 886,052 international students in the United States. 62% of them are from the 10/40 window. 80% of those students will return to their countries never being invited to the home of an American citizen. That is a huge opportunity for Christians here in America!

Over 40% of the world’s 220 Heads of State once studied in America. Only 10% of all international students, which includes those Heads of State, were invited to a ministry by a Christian.

The top countries that have students over here in America are China, India, South Korea, Canada, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Vietnam, Mexico and Turkey. Many of those countries have high amounts of unreached people groups.

Now let’s shift gears a little. Let’s look at the money. The total annual income of all church members worldwide is $42 trillion, with $7 trillion coming from evangelical Christians. The interesting thing is that Christians worldwide give about $700 billion to Christian causes.

But get this….

That $700 billion includes purchasing presents for Christmas!

If we factor out Christmas spending, only a mere $45 billion is given to missions. That is 6.4%.That is equal to the amount America spends on dieting programs and, until recently, less than Americans spend on Halloween costumes.

The majority of the money given goes to tithing and pastoral ministries. Only about $450 million went to reaching the unreached people groups. Sadly, this means that for every $100,000 that Christians make, only $1 goes toward reaching the unreached people groups around the world.

Some thoughts about this, but if Christians used only .003% of their income to plant churches in each of the areas that have unreached people groups, then we would reach all groups around the world.  And if every Christian gave 10% of their income to missions, we could easily support 2 MILLION new missionaries!

So how many missionaries are actually out there?

There are only 400,000 Christian missionaries in the world today. Only 13,300 are in areas with unreached people groups. Over 75% of those missionaries are in areas that are already reached. Some more interesting statistics about this:

  • 1 missionary for every 60,000 tribal/animist people
  • 1 missionary for every 179,000 Hindu people
  • 1 missionary for every 405,000 Muslim
  • 1 missionary for every 260,000 Buddhists

This means that you are more likely to be in a plane crash than being one of the few missionaries that go to unreached areas.

Moving into next week, I want to begin looking at missionaries over the ages. Since there is little to no research done on the effect of immigration reform on missionaries worldwide, I will need to make some assumptions until professional research can be done.

So next week, we will start at 1790 and begin working toward the present day.

Psalm 96:3 – Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!

Immigration Policy and the Effect on Missionaries Worldwide: Part 1, Policy

Leviticus 19:33-34 – “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

This post will kick off a series of posts about immigration reform and the affect it has on missionaries since the founding of our country. This first one is going to be a little tough to digest. It was for me. This is going to lay out the actual immigration policies since 1790.

Almost 52 years ago the United States enacted the Immigration and Nationality Act which replaced the previous immigration program that we had which favored Europeans. The policy put in place 52 years ago opened visas to people from other countries and gave increased priority to people with relatives who are American citizens.

Prior to that, over 65% of the visas allowed in America were given to only 3 countries: Ireland, Germany, and the UK. Today, only 10% of the visas approved come from those 3 countries and the majority of them come from countries in Asia or Latin America.

All the way back to 1790 we have documentation of immigration policies. The Naturalization Policy of 1790 excluded anyone who was non-white from being a naturalized citizen. In order to be naturalized, you must have 2 years of residency, “good moral character,” and be a “free white person.” In 1795 it was extended to 5 years of residency, in 1798 it was extended to 14 years. BY 1802 it dropped back down to 5 years.

In 1798, the president was given the ability to deport or imprison anyone who was deemed dangerous to the United States. It was the first act to authorize deportation of immigrants.  Another 1798 policy, which is still alive today in modified form, was the Alien Enemies Act. It allows the deportation of men (aged 14 and older) from a hostile country during times of war. This was used widely during World War II and, even though modified, currently permits the president to detain, relocate, or deport aliens during war times.

Fast forward to 1864. An Immigration Department is formed under the Secretary of State and the “Act to Encourage Immigration” was enacted. Because of the labor shortages after the Civil War, this act allowed for the government to create contracts with other countries to provide immigrant labor.

By 1870, naturalization was given to those of African nativity or descent. By this time, our immigrant population was at its highest since the inception of the country at 14.4%.

In 1875, the country released its first restrictive immigration legislation with the Page Law, also known as the Asian Exclusion Act.  This prohibited the immigration of criminals into the country and also made it a felony to contract with forced Asian laborers.  By 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act banned Chinese laborers from immigrating for the next 10 years and authorized deportation of unauthorized Chinese immigrants. Anyone of Chinese descent who immigrated prior to 1880 was given amnesty, but could not naturalize. By 1892 the amount of time Chinese could not immigrate to the USA was increased to 20 years and they must show documentation and proof of identity.

The 1891 Immigration Act was pretty large. It increased the list of people banned from immigrating to include polygamists and those with a contagious disease. It also permitted deportation of ANY unauthorized immigrants and it made it a federal misdemeanor to illegally immigrate.

1903 brought about a policy that barred people from immigrating because of their political beliefs. This act prevented anarchists, beggars, and importers of prostitutes from immigrating to the country.

By 1916 we start seeing more exclusions. Almost every Asian country was now excluded from being able to immigrate to the United States and any immigrant over the age of 16 must be able to demonstrate basic reading ability.

In 1921 the Emergency Quota Act was passed. It created numerical quotas for immigration based on nationality. Quotas were to be 3% of the foreign born population of that nationality in the 1910 census. Asian countries were still barred from immigrating. Also, the total amount of people allowed to immigrate to America was capped at 350,000.

1924 saw the creation of U.S. Border Patrol. Also in 1924, the immigration cap was decreased from 350,000 to 165,000. The quotas were also changed. The quota change favored countries that had a longer immigration record with the United States than those with shorter. It also denied entry to the United States of anyone who was ineligible to become a citizen. This meant that only whites and people of African descent were allowed entry.

In 1942 the Bracero Agreement allowed temporary visas to Mexican nationals for the purpose of working in the agricultural fields. This agreement stayed in effect until 1962.

In 1943, the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed and they were added to the quotas. Also with this, Chinese people were able to naturalize in the United States.

In 1952, the McCarren-Walter Act formally removed race as an exclusion for immigration and naturalization. Also under this law, political views, ideology, mental health, and other criteria were used a basis for exclusion and deportation. It also created priority immigration status for those who were skilled workers and those who were immigrating to reunite with their families.

In 1953, the Refugee Relief Act authorized special visas for 200,000 refugees and allowed these immigrants to become permanent residents.

President Kennedy, in 1961, provided medical care, financial aid, assistance with resettlement, and child welfare services for Cuban refugees. The Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962 assisted individuals in the Western Hemisphere fleeing from “persecution or fear of persecution on account of race, religion, or political opinion.”

In 1965, the antiquated quota system was removed and replaced with a preference system that included standards such as family reunification and skilled immigrants. The visa cap was also removed for the Western Hemisphere and the Eastern Hemisphere was given a 120,000 cap on visas.

President Ford, in 1975, approved the Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act. This gave 130,000 Vietnamese funds for relocation and resettlement. This was due to the the fact that South Vietnam would fall to the communist north.

Then in 1976, the visa caps went back into play when Mexico was given a cap of 20,000 visas annually and the entire world was given 290,000. Prior to this, Mexican immigration was at its highest.

The Refugee Act of 1980 adopted the UN’s definition of refugee admission standards. It also included deportation relief and admission based on region or nationality. This means it paved the way for emergency immigration relief for the persecuted and unprotected around the world. A short time later in 1986, the Simpson-Mazzoli Act gave permanent residency to illegal immigrants who lived in the US and worked certain agricultural jobs. This provided amnesty to over 2.7 million illegals. Reagan added to that the minor children and spouses of those who became legal under the 1986 law.

In 1990 the cap was briefly increased to 700,000 and then reduced to 675,000 on the number of visas granted. Of that, 480,000 must be family-sponsored visas, 140,000 are employment visas, and 55,000 are what are known as “diversity immigrant” visas. These are for people who come from countries with low immigration to America.

1996 brought about more protections. President Clinton approved the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. This increased enforcement at the borders and allowed the building of fences and walls at the highest points of entry in the United States. It tightened workforce enforcement, removing criminal and deportable aliens from the country. It also increased the restrictions on aid that immigrants can receive, especially illegal immigrants.

By 2002 we digitized the admissions and removal of immigrants and the visa program. Also, in the wake of 9/11, the Homeland Security Act transfers almost all of the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services) to DHS (Department of Homeland Security).

In 2006, Bush 43 got the Secure Fence Act passed. Due to the failure of immigration reform, the law mandates a 700-mile double-layered fence to be constructed on America’s southwest border. It also beefed up staffing of border security there as well.

In 2012, President Obama, through executive action, signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act. This law affected illegal immigrants between the ages of 15-30 who were brought to America illegally as children to apply for temporary deportation relief and a 2-year work visa. Over 750,000 people applied for that relief.

In 2014, a second executive order allowed illegal immigrant parents who have lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years and have children during that time who are U.S. citizens to apply for deportation relief and a 3-year work visa.

This year, so far, President Trump put through executive action to change immigration policies. These policies will affect 4 distinct groups of people:

  • Criminals who are immigrants. Trump has promised that he will remove 2-3 million criminal immigrants. He has taken a broad stroke on the definition of “criminal” as most partisan and non-partisan groups place that number significantly lower at under 1 million.
  • Immigrants who arrived as children. Over 750,000 qualified for the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) act. While Trump pledged to remove DACA, he has since softened his stance saying that he is willing to work with those who qualified for it. If it was rescinded, those people would face unemployment, the inability to attend college, and possible deportation. There is currently legislation in the Senate that would provide this group “provisional protected presence” but no path to citizenship.
  • Immigrant parents of American citizens. About 4 million people qualified for the 2014 Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program. Again, Trump wanted to immediately rescind both DAPA and DACA, and he may still do so. But they will likely be a low enforcement priority.
  • Workers and recent arrivals. While they may remain low on the immigration totem pole, if Trump decides to follow Bush 43’s lead, there could be an increase in workplace raids. Many recent arrivals were already targeted for prioritized deportation under Obama, such as children from Central America fleeing violence. Trump has considered maintaining their deportation priority.

Trump also recently put a temporary ban on entrance from 7 Muslim-majority nations and an indefinite ban on entrance from Syria. So far this has led to only 109 people being detained nationally. according to his numbers. According to the lawsuit put forward by the states, that number is over 100,000. This isn’t new. Obama did a very similar action in his second term. Unfortunately, whether it is 100,000, 109, or even 1, with a president as polarizing as Trump, the media will be in a firestorm, which will embolden other countries to stand up to Americans.

Beginning next week, I want to look at the potential effect of Americans abroad, especially missionaries, when countries lash out against America for current legislation.

Exodus 22:21 – “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

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