Evangelical Leaders Praise Momentum for Immigration Reform
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, Senate leaders announced a bipartisan framework for immigration reform. This afternoon, President Obama set out similar proposals to guide the upcoming debate over a new immigration process, including an eventual road to citizenship.
Having helped forge a new consensus on immigrants and immigration, evangelical leaders are responding favorably to the new momentum for immigration reform in Congress and at the White House.
The following quotes can be attributed to members of the Evangelical Immigration Table. The table will keep pressure on Congress to pass broad reform in 2013, including via its “I Was a Stranger” immigration prayer challenge.
Stephan Bauman, President and CEO, World Relief: “We commend the president for taking a courageous step to outline his vision for reform of our immigration laws. For too long, a broken immigration system has led to broken people. We encourage the president to work with Congress in bipartisan fashion to ensure basic fairness and decency in any legislation put forward, including an earned pathway to eventual citizenship, strong support for family unity, and provisions that would facilitate the integration of immigrants into our society in partnership with the faith-based community. We look forward to working with the White House and Congress in coming months to ensure that immigration reform is passed”.
Rev. David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World: “The proposals released this week are good first steps. However, while we address unauthorized immigration to the United States, we must also focus on the plight of all those in extreme poverty around the world. The Gospel of Matthew invites us to welcome strangers into our midst, saying, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’ We must remember that the journey to the United States for jobs is often triggered by poverty, inequality, food insecurity, and a lack of economic opportunity in an immigrant’s home country.”
Galen Carey, Vice President of Government Relations, National Association of Evangelicals: “President Obama underscored the need for immigration reform today, and pledged to support the bipartisan initiatives already underway in the Congress. Now it is time to move from principles to specifics and from words to action. We pray that God will guide all of our leaders as they negotiate in good faith for an immigration reform bill that we can all support.”
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference: “I was present as President Obama laid out a comprehensive solution to America’s immigration crisis. His presentation serves as a reconciliatory prescription to a nation torn apart by this debate. I commend him for his courage and call upon all the followers of Christ to pray for our president and Congress as together we marry conviction with compassion.”
Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition: “Hispanic Evangelicals are convinced that our nation can do immigration reform because we are a nation that knows how to work through its most contentious issues. It is the just and moral thing to do. Inaction is not an option. Immigration reform now!”
Wendy Tarr, Director, CLUE Orange County: “We applaud members of Congress and the president for laying out a sensible and meaningful set of principles addressing the most fundamental challenges we face in reforming our nation’s immigration system. We will be praying for all of our nation’s leaders to join together in good faith to finally pass immigration reform that will result in the full integration of immigrants, who are already a part of our lives.”
Rev. Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners: “The word of the week is ‘citizenship.’ With bipartisan principles from the Senate and the White House showing leadership, a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million aspiring citizens now seems more and more likely to be the greatest accomplishment of the 113th Congress and the second term of the Obama administration. This is the right thing for our economy, for our national security and for our country’s future. But above all, it is the morally right thing to do. No doubt opposition to change will be stiff. But Christians must follow Christ’s call in the 25th chapter of Matthew to ‘welcome the stranger.’ Now is the time for all of us to put our faith into action.”