Catholic, Evangelical Leaders Release Open Letter to Congress on Immigration Reform
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an unprecedented show of unity on the issue, evangelical and Catholic leaders are joining together to send an open letter (also below) to members of Congress, underscoring the urgent need for commonsense immigration reform this year.
On a press call today, Catholic bishops and national evangelical leaders announced the release of the letter and urged Congress to move forward on long overdue reform rooted in biblical principles. The following are quotes from national evangelical and Catholic leaders on today’s call:
Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals: “Every day of delay is a vote for keeping immigration exactly the way it is right now. Since everyone seems to agree that our current immigration system is broken then everyone should be voting for change.”
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y.: “In this debate, often the humanitarian consequences of our broken system are ignored. Families are ripped apart, migrant workers are exploited, and human beings continue to die in the desert. This suffering must end.”
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference: “It’s a new day. Evangelicals and Catholic leaders join together in the spirit of the following proclamation: It is morally reprehensible and counter to the teachings of Christ to continue to sacrifice 11 million lives on the altar of political expediency. As Evangelicals, we join our Catholic brothers and sisters in affirming our conviction that this is the time to reconcile border security with the security of our values; values that include faith and family. For it takes conviction to speak truth, courage to do justice and spiritual fortitude to stand on the right side of history. Now is the time.”
Jim Wallis, President, Sojourners: “When it comes to commonsense immigration reform, the Christian community strongly believes it is time to end the moral crisis created by our broken immigration system. We’re speaking with a unified voice today because all of us — Catholic and evangelical — believe immigration reform should not be a victim of our dysfunctional politics. In an era defined by partisanship, immigration reform should be the great exception, the great exemption, to politics as usual.”
Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, Archbishop of Miami: “There is more at stake in this debate than the next election. The outcome will set the tone for the rest of the century. Either we can choose to turn away from our heritage and our track record of integrating immigrants, or we can embrace it and use it to our advantage.”
February 26, 2014
We, the undersigned evangelical and Catholic leaders, write to urge you to work for a bipartisan agreement on and passage of immigration reform legislation this year. As leaders in our respective faith communities, we live every day with the reality that our immigration system does not reflect our commitment to the values of human dignity, family unity and respect for the rule of law that define us as Americans.
Each day we witness the human tragedies created by our current system, including the separation of families and the violation of basic human dignity. Common sense fixes to our immigration policies are long overdue. As a nation founded upon the principles of the rule of law and the centrality of family, we can no longer delay fixing this system.
We are hopeful for reform legislation that respects the God-given dignity of every person, protects family unity, respects the rule of law, guarantees the integrity of our national borders, ensures fairness for taxpayers, and makes it possible for undocumented immigrants who meet the requirements to become citizens if they desire. We urge you to create bipartisan solutions that reflect these principles and our nation’s values, creating just, fair and humane immigration laws.
Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals Stephan Bauman, President and CEO, World Relief Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Diocese of Brooklyn, NY Most Reverend Eusebio L. Elizondo, Chairman, USCCB Committee on Migration Bishop Daniel E. Flores, Diocese of Brownsville, Texas Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, Archdiocese of Los Angeles Bishop John R. Manz, Archdiocese of Chicago His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington Russell D. Moore, President, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel Bishop Anthony B. Taylor, Diocese of Little Rock Bishop Kevin W. Vann, Diocese of Orange Jim Wallis, President and Founder, Sojourners Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, Archbishop of Miami Bishop John C. Wester, Diocese of Salt Lake City, UT Bishop Luis R. Zarama, Archdiocese of Atlanta