By Michael Gryboski

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday ending parental separations after around 2,000 children were taken from their parents who  entered the country illegally and are being held in Border Patrol detention centers as their claims are being processed.

The decision came in response to a strong national outcry from both liberal and conservative voices, and took place as Congress considers legislation to solidify changes to illegal immigration enforcement as it pertains to family separation.

“We’re going to keep families together but we still have to maintain toughness or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don’t stand for and that we don’t want,” President Trump said Wednesday.

Trump’s executive order was met with much positive reactions from Christian leaders and groups, including those who’ve been critical of his administration’s zero-tolerance policy in an attempt to curb illegal immigration.

Here are four reactions to the issuing of the new executive order. They include prominent evangelicals and a denomination that has denounced the administration’s immigration policies.

Russell Moore

Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and a noted evangelical critic of Trump, expressed his support for the executive order.

In a message posted to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon, Moore explained that he supported the order and hoped that it would be merely the beginning.

“Glad to see that the Administration is listening to Americans on the moral atrocity of separating children from parents at the border. This is a good first step. Now let’s fix this system. We can have security while still showing compassion to those fleeing violence,” tweeted Moore.

The president’s executive order will do three things. It will require Homeland Security to maintain custody of detained families during criminal proceedings and as their asylum claims are adjudicated. For the Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and the heads of other agencies to find or construct facilities to house the detained families. And for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to prioritize the adjudication of cases involving immigrant families who are detained.

Family Research Council

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins issued a statement commending the president for signing the executive order stopping family separations.

In a statement released Wednesday, Perkins spoke of assembling a group of evangelical leaders and meeting with the administration about the issue in advance of the executive order being released.

“Attorney General Sessions shared our concerns and pledged to work toward a solution that would be just, fair and enforceable,” said Perkins.

“President Trump issued an executive order today that will compassionately keep families together while also upholding the rule of law.”

Perkins added that the executive order “should not lessen the pressure for Congress to come together to overhaul our immigration system and secure our borders.”

The United Methodist Church

The United Methodist Church garnered headlines when hundreds of its bishops officially denounced Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a member of the UMC, for his defense of the family separation policy.

Bishop Kenneth H. Carter Jr., Council of Bishops president and leader of the Florida Conference, released a statement quoted by United Methodist News Service expressing support for the executive order.

“An executive order ending separation of families at our borders is good news, and a reversal of an inhumane and immoral practice,” said Carter.

“We rejoice with these families as they are reunited. We give thanks for a prophetic church that joins God in the deliverance of the most vulnerable from bondage and oppression.”

Robert Jeffress

Pastor Robert Jeffress, head of First Baptist Dallas Church, and a longtime evangelical Trump supporter, took to social media to commend Trump for the executive order and also denounce abortion.

“President @realDonaldTrump is ending the separation of children from their parents at the border. Will hypocritical Democrats now put an end to the ULTIMATE separation of children from parents — abortion?” tweeted Jeffress, getting as of Thursday afternoon over 1,500 likes and more than 480 retweets.

Jeffress’ comparison was previously mentioned by others, including former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee.

“I don’t like immigrant children being temporarily separated from parents, but where is outrage over PERMANENT separation of a child and mother when the baby is ripped apart in the mother’s womb by knives of abortionists?” tweeted Huckabee on Sunday.