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Evangelical Voices for Immigration Reform

Katie Barge, Director of Communications for Faith in Public Life (Faith in Public Life is a communications and organizing resource center for faith leaders sharing a call to pursue justice and the common good), forwarded the following very, very important information:

Leading Conservative White, Hispanic Evangelicals Issue Evangelical Call to Action on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Sens. Kennedy, Graham, Menendez, Salazar, and Reps. Gutierrez Rep. Flake Joined Richard Land, Samuel Rodriguez at Press Conference Today

(Washington, D.C.) Today two of the leading conservative evangelical voices in America for comprehensive immigration reform — Dr. Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference — called on evangelicals to unite in support of comprehensive immigration reform. While some evangelical leaders remain silent on the immigration crisis, Land and Rodriguez spoke out to urge support for a moral, biblical response — which combines respect for the rule of law and compassion for immigrants and their families.

Joined by Senators Edward Kennedy, Lindsay Graham, Ken Salazar and Bob Menendez and Representatives Luis Gutierrez and Jeff Flake, Land and Rodriguez’s call comes at a critical legislative juncture: following last week’s introduction of a comprehensive immigration reform bill by Reps. Flake, R-AZ, and Gutierrez, D-IL in the House and in the midst of Senate negotiations on reform legislation.

Rev. Rodriguez, who announced the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference’s endorsement of the Guiterrez-Flake, said “Whether we pass legislation is not reflective of political will, but rather a demonstration of our spiritual and moral strength. Let us protect our borders, protect all families, and protect our values.” The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference is America’s largest Hispanic Evangelical organization, serving 10,700 Hispanic evangelical churches with 15 million members.

“The country in general and evangelicals as well, are ahead of where the Congress is on this issue,” Dr. Land said. “This is a profoundly moral issue and it goes to the core of who we are as Americans. This is a nation of immigrants. But more importantly it’s a nation of settlers who came here to be part of the American dream.”

In response to those who would call comprehensive immigration reform “amnesty,” Dr. Land said, “The idea that you would call having to learn to read and write and speak English and you would have to go through a series of processes to earn your way after a probationary period to earn legal status and citizenship, it does grave harm to the English language to call that amnesty.”

Rev. Gilberto Velez, Senior Pastor of one of the largest Hispanic congregations in the U.S., called on his fellow pastors across the country to support comprehensive immigration, to speak to their congregations about the issue, and to urge their congregants to contact their members of Congress. More than thirty other influential Hispanic evangelical pastors and leaders were also present at the press conference to show their support for passage of comprehensive immigration reform.

Exclusive video of the press conference can be viewed at the Faith in Public Life weblog.

Faith in Public Life is a communications and organizing resource center for faith leaders sharing a call to pursue justice and the common good. Faith in Public Life is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization.

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