California Evangelical Leaders Call for a Vote on Immigration Reform

Local Pastors to Fly to D.C., Meet with Members of Congress Next Week

**For a recording of Wednesday’s call click here.**

LOS ANGELES — Evangelical leaders from across California joined a telephonic press conference Wednesday to highlight the biblical call to welcome the stranger and urge Congress to move forward with a vote on immigration reform.

The press conference featured local pastors who will discuss the moral imperatives for immigration reform, their efforts during the April congressional recess and their April 29 #Pray4Reform trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with their members of Congress.

The following are quotes from pastors on Wednesday’s call:

Pastor Tim Celek, Lead Pastor, The Crossing Church, Costa Mesa:
“My goal has been to encourage people to support public policy that is consistent with the Bible. I have been wrestling with immigration myself over the years. I’ve wondered: Am I going to stand up for these people, am I going to stand up with these people? It’s not a political issue, it’s not an economic issue. There are many times in the Scriptures where we as people are to encourage the alien among us and we are to show hospitality to the strangers among us. It’s good in our church to see our people embrace all people.”

Rev. Juan-Daniel Espitia, Associate Pastor, Hispanic Ministries, Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, Solana Beach:
“In the last four to five years, I have lost 64 members of my congregation due to either deportation or ‘checkpoints’ that are placed near my church. I can see the vulnerability, the fear and the destruction that this broken immigration system is causing for families. On the other hand I can see the wonderful potential. That’s why I’ll be traveling to Washington, D.C., to join in Pastors for Reform [Tuesday]. Immigration reform is consistent with our principles and our needs, and it needs to happen this year.”

Dr. Mark Labberton, President, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena:
“Immigration is first and foremost about our commitment to scripture. Deep and sustained political reform is needed for immigration because the Scripture speaks so strongly for the person who is at the margins, the person who is the stranger, the alien, the visitor. We find over and over that God honors people, and yet the current immigration law does not do that.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“Immigration reform isn’t dead because the stories are real. As long as there are churches committed to advancing the cause of righteousness and justice, immigration reform lives. On April 29, we’ll have pastors from all around the country coming to Washington, D.C., to practice prophetic activism, and to tell Congress that we need a vote on reform.”

Lillia Suh, Holywave Associate Pastor and NEXT Singles Assistant Pastor, Sarang Community Church, Anaheim:
“As a leader at the largest Korean church outside of Korea, our broken immigration system is not something I can ignore. This is an issue that directly impacts our church community and many others across the nation. Our broken system puts lives and families at stake, which we feel acutely. That’s why we pray that our representative Ed Royce be a leader on the immigration issue.  And we’re not only praying, but also urging that our members of Congress work together and vote on immigration reform this year.”

Pastor Jonathan Villalobos, Lead Pastor, Bethany Inner-City Church, Fresno:
“We have been enriched by the variety of people who have come to our community. In our school district, we have 170 languages. Many people have problems because of our broken immigration system. I’ve seen families exploited and victimized by human trafficking. We need reform that will bring comfort, peace and unity to our families. It’s time for action. It’s time for our Congress to legislate.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform and #VoteOnReform.