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Catholic, Evangelical Leaders Release Open Letter to Congress on Immigration Reform

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

WASHINGTON, D.C., FEBRUARY 26, 2014 — In an unprecedented showing of unity on the issue, evangelical and Catholic leaders are joining together to send an open letter 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.”

ICYMI: Conservative Evangelical Leaders Underscore Urgency for Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C., FEBRUARY 14, 2014 — In an op-ed published this morning on FoxNews.com, influential evangelical leaders Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and Mathew Staver challenge those who would delay immigration reform and urge Congress to move forward this year.

“Getting to ‘Yes’ on immigration reform this year is urgent for many reasons. We need a system that restores the rule of law, that secures our borders, that jumpstarts economic growth, and that keeps families — including many within our local churches — from being divided,” write Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and Staver, chairman of the Liberty Counsel and Dean of the Liberty University Law School.

“We take our cues from Scripture, which makes clear both that we are to welcome and extend hospitality to immigrants and that we ought to respect and honor the law,” they continue. “Our current immigration quagmire fails on both counts … Across the country, we are praying that Congress will have the courage to do what is right: to get to ‘Yes’ on immigration this year.”

 

The Evangelical Immigration Table is a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values.

ICYMI: Evangelical Leaders Call on Congress to Act on Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C., FEBRUARY 7, 2014 — National evangelical leaders are encouraging movement this year on immigration reform legislation following House Speaker John Boehner’s comments on immigration reform Thursday.

In a Christian Post article today, top evangelical leaders underscored the moral imperatives for reform and the terrible costs of inaction.

“Right now, our nation’s leaders have a rare window of opportunity in which to pass a reform that is good for all Americans,” Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, says in the article. “I encourage our legislators to continue moving forward on the House Republican standards released last week and seize this moment to create an immigration system that works. We cannot keep putting off this issue that is so important to our churches, communities and economy.”

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, adds, “This moment is unique, and it won’t last long. I am praying that [Congress] will not squander it. Our broken immigration system is causing harm in our churches and our communities today, and we need a new process today, not years down the road.”

“With a strong majority of Americans, including evangelicals, wanting leaders to fix our broken immigration system, immigration reform is going to happen,” says Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners. “The only question is how many families will be broken up and how much our communities have to suffer until Washington acts.

“My prayer is that Speaker Boehner and other leaders will be mindful of this reality and continue seeking a way forward. This is the year that commonsense immigration reform needs to pass.”

The Evangelical Immigration Table is a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values.

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Local Faith Leaders Laud Republican Standards on Immigration Reform

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

WASHINGTON, D.C., FEBRUARY 3, 2014 — Evangelical pastors from Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas joined national evangelical leaders today to highlight their support for the House Republican standards for immigration reform and discuss the path forward on immigration reform rooted in biblical values.

The standards discuss ways to reform our broken immigration system in a way that secures our nation’s borders, meets the needs of employers and addresses legalization, including citizenship for DREAMers.

The following are quotes from national and local evangelical leaders on today’s call:

Pastor Jason Lee, Oak Grove Baptist Church, Spartanburg, S.C.:
“As an evangelical pastor, I believe immigration reform is an urgent priority first because of a Christian commitment from scripture that repeatedly tells us to welcome and love the immigrants in our midst and seek justice in our cities. I am encouraged that the Republican principles announced last week for immigration reform will help move us closer to fix our broken and outdated immigration system and that there is progress to move forward. Our current system has led us to a moral crisis. The GOP’s principles are a step to move forward and have bipartisan solutions that will help protect the border, grow our economy and provide opportunities for undocumented immigrants to obtain legal status and provide a way for them to come out from living in the shadows.”

Pastor Evelyn Chaparro, The River Church, Tampa, Fla.:
“As evangelical leaders we call for a bipartisan solution that will help honor the God-given dignity of every human, keep families together, respect the rule of law, ensure fairness to taxpayers, and establish a path to legal status and citizenship for those who qualify and wish to become lawful residents. For me, the pain in the life of the immigrant is my motivation, and I believe that these biblical principles can unite us to come about with the best solution. We must move forward on what all of us care about: passage of comprehensive immigration reform.”

Pastor Alex Cosio, Apex Baptist Church, Apex, N.C.:
“I am thankful and hopeful for this major step toward immigration reform. A comprehensive reform will help our country to continue to enrich our cultural diversity. The U.S. is a country blessed with many cultures and national backgrounds all coming together as ‘one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’”
Pastor David Galvan, New Life Baptist Church, Dallas:
“Immigration Reform is overdue. I applaud the House GOP conference for opening the door to a hurting people and for laying out a framework for reform. Many people have been torn apart by a system in great need of repair, and these principles are a positive move forward. I have great admiration for the tough choices that have been made by our leaders and know that this represents a bright future for many.”

Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association, Chicago:
“Today, it is significant that many evangelical leaders are speaking boldly in favor of fixing our nation’s broken immigration system. We will continue to pray for our elected officials, as pastors and Christian leaders across our nation, that we might work together at this critical time to pass bipartisan reform that will allow our nation to flourish for all.”

Galen Carey, Vice President of Government Relations, National Association of Evangelicals:
“We are pleased that the issue of immigration reform is being debated by both parties in the House and in the Senate. The details of legislation are still being worked out, but we commend the forward movement by both Democrats and Republicans to address the needs of immigrants and our country. In a very politically charged climate, immigration reform is one issue that does have true bipartisan support. We are pleased with the introduction of these principles and will continue to press for immigration reform that is consistent with biblical values. As evangelicals we will stand behind our leaders, and we will pray for them as they move forward on legislation that will allow us to reach our full potential as a nation.”

Find additional reactions to the House Republican standards from national evangelical leaders here, and from local evangelical leaders at the following links:
South Carolina
North Carolina
Southern California
Michigan

National Evangelical Leaders Applaud Republican Immigration Standards

Major Commitment from House Leadership Propels Reform Forward

WASHINGTON, D.C., JANUARY 30, 2014 — This afternoon House Republicans released standards for immigration reform, which discuss ways to reform our broken immigration system in a way that secures our nation’s borders, meets the needs of employers and addresses legalization, including citizenship for DREAMers.

Citing the moral imperatives for immigration reform, national evangelical leaders expressed their support for this important step forward and called for congressional action this year.

The following are quotes from Evangelical Immigration Table leaders:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“America has waited a long time for Republicans and Democrats to get together on long overdue reform of our immigration laws. Let’s pray that they’ll do the right thing in 2014.”

Stephan Bauman, President and CEO, World Relief:
“We are encouraged that the House leadership has released a set of standards that will provide a good framework for reforming our immigration laws. We believe there is a moral urgency in ensuring immigrant families remain together, and these principles provide a good first step to help the House move this important issue forward.”

David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World:
“The House GOP’s statement will hopefully re-start a meaningful, bipartisan and comprehensive reform of our broken immigration system. While the final outcome of this effort will unlikely satisfy everyone, immigration reform is long overdue and is badly needed.”

Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association:
“It is with great anticipation that many of us in the immigrant and faith communities have been waiting for the House GOP leadership to provide a framework that will finally result in the construction of a new immigration policy for our nation. This new policy of opportunity and responsibility is what all Americans need to move forward together with the task of building a land of liberty, justice and flourishing for all.”

Dr. Russell D. Moore, President, Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission:
“I am encouraged by the House’s standards. While much work must be done to turn them into laws, they lay out a clear path forward on all the principal components of reform. I applaud the House for their clear expression and look forward to working with them to finally fix our nation’s broken immigration system and offer opportunity to the millions of hard-working undocumented immigrants living peacefully and productively in our nation.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“As Evangelicals and the spiritual heirs to Billy Graham’s message and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march for justice, we affirm our conviction that this is the time to reconcile border security with the security of our values; values that include faith and family. We commend the leadership of the House of Representatives for capturing the essence of what Dr. King described as the ‘fierce urgency of now.’ Now is the time for comprehensive, convicted and compassionate reform.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“As an evangelical leader I remain hopeful that we will be able to move forward on immigration reform. We are hopeful that the comments by the President at the State of the Union together with the GOP standards on immigration will catapult a renewed bi-partisan commitment to real reform this year.”

Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel:
“The road to immigration reform has been a long one and well overdue. The system is broken and needs to be reformed. We need a system that works. I look forward to seeing the proposals from the GOP leadership in the House of Representatives. I am hopeful that we can move forward as a nation on this most important issue.”

Jim Wallis, President and Founder, Sojourners:
“Our broken immigration system has created a moral crisis that must be urgently addressed. That is why evangelical leaders have united in advocating for common sense immigration reform that reflects the biblical call to ‘welcome the stranger.’ The standards released by House Republicans are an encouraging step in the right direction. Now we must all work together to ensure the opportunity for citizenship exists for everyone ready to earn it. With so much at stake for our nation’s families, it is critical that the House act soon.”

The Evangelical Immigration Table is a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values.

ICYMI: Ads Offer Prayer and Encouragement as GOP Addresses Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C., JANUARY 30, 2014 — Today the Evangelical Immigration Table launched ads on conservative websites such as Townhall and RedState, as well as Christian websites, offering prayer for Congress and for immigration reform. The five-figure buy coincides with the House Republican retreat, at which they are expected to announce principles for reform. The ads will appear for about a week.

As noted in Politico this morning, “The ads read simply: ‘Praying for Congress. Praying for Immigration Reform.’ They are part of a broader reform push from the evangelical group that includes a nationwide grass-roots lobbying effort,” as well as other ads including Wednesday’s full-page USA Today ad.

“Hopefully, it encourages the many members who are serious about immigration reform that evangelicals will stand behind them when they take the steps necessary to move the process forward,” Galen Carey, vice president of government relations for the National Association of Evangelicals, told Politico. “We’ve been working on this for a long time.”

New Evangelical Immigration Table Ad: We’re Praying for You, GOP House Members

Ad Urges Principles That Reflect Biblical Values

WASHINGTON, D.C., JANUARY 29, 2014 — As House Republicans leave town for their annual retreat in Cambridge, Md., and prepare to release their principles for immigration reform, the Evangelical Immigration Table is offering support for positive movement toward immigration reform in the form of a full-page USA Today ad.

Addressed to GOP members of the House, the ad offers prayer and support as Congress moves forward toward “meaningful and urgently needed reform.” It also highlights the Evangelical Immigration Table’s own principles.

Citing the Biblical imperatives for a path forward that honors the rule of law (Romans 13) and the call to welcome the stranger (Matthew 25), the ad concludes by saying that “our churches, our communities, and our country urgently await your action.”

The Evangelical Immigration Table is a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values.

New Immigration Ad Campaign: We’re Praying for You, Speaker Boehner

*TO LISTEN TO A RECORDING OF TODAY’S CALL, PLEASE CLICK HERE.*

WASHINGTON, D.C., DECEMBER 5, 2013 — On a press call this morning, local pastors and the president of the National Association of Evangelicals announced a new round of immigration ad buys to emphasize prayers and support for Speaker John Boehner and other House leaders.

In Washington, D.C., a front-page, wraparound ad appeared today in the Express newspaper and radio ads will air on WTOP. Ads featuring the local pastors on today’s call are running on more than 30 Christian radio stations throughout North Carolina and the Dallas-Fort Worth area over the next week, and a Spanish-language ad will air in Orange County, Calif. The effort builds on the successful Pray for Reform campaign, which includes nearly 200,000 prayer partners, and it puts the Evangelical Immigration Table’s total paid media efforts over $1 million.

The following quotes can be attributed to participants in today’s call:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“The prayers and support for immigration reform are rapidly growing among evangelical Christians across America. There is broad consensus that our immigration system can’t stay the way it is and needs to change. Good proposals date back to President Bush and previous sessions of Congress and now come to President Obama and the current Congress. It’s time to move from talking to acting on comprehensive immigration reform.”

Pastor Hector Hermosillo, Pastor, Semilla@Eastside, Eastside Christian Church, Anaheim, Calif.:
“The fastest-growing churches in our country today are those composed of first-generation immigrants, many of them undocumented. In my opinion, helping so that they have the freedom to express their faith, their service and their loyalty to this country through smart and humane immigration reform is a source of hope for our country.”

Pastor Dub Karriker, Senior Pastor, Christian Assembly Church, Durham, N.C.:
“I’m part of Durham Ministers In Prayer, a group representing 40 evangelical churches — black, white, Asian and Latino — that meet weekly to pray for our city, state and nation. We’ve been praying for many years for the Speaker and House Leadership. Now I hope and I trust that they will listen to the prayers of so many of their brothers and sisters in Christ who are crying out to God to fix this broken immigration system.”

Pastor Roger Raymer, Senior Pastor, Lake Ridge Bible Church, Mesquite, Texas:
“The Bible has much to say about God’s people’s responsibility to care for the immigrant and the stranger. Especially, at this time of year, we are reminded in Matthew Chapter 2 that Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus, less than two years old at the time, fled to Egypt to escape Herod’s plot to kill the Christ child. We don’t often think of the Holy Family as immigrants but in fact for a time they were.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform.

Evangelical Leaders Meet with Obama, Biden on Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C., NOVEMBER 13, 2013 — In an Oval Office meeting today with President Obama and Vice President Biden, evangelical and other faith leaders reiterated their support for broad immigration reform that transcends politics.

The meeting took place amid the Evangelical Immigration Table’s ongoing #Pray4Reform campaign. In addition, Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, will join law enforcement, business and other faith leaders at 10 a.m. Thursday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for an Americans for Reform press conference.

The following are quotes from evangelical participants in today’s White House meeting:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“The call for immigration reform is growing louder. The list of advocates is growing longer —from President Bush to President Obama, from Democrats to Republicans, and from business leaders to police officers to evangelical Christians.”

Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Senior Pastor, Northland – A Church Distributed, Orlando, Fla.:
“The meeting in the Oval Office was not about partisan politics; it was about the urgent need and moral mandate to help these families that are rooted in our churches and communities. Immigration reform will pass one day. There are the votes to pass it in some form now. The leaders that gathered are enthusiastic about providing support to those who could get it done in the near future.”

Mike McClenahan, Senior Pastor, Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, Solana Beach, Calif.:
“I was honored to have the opportunity to share the story of our church and the relationships that compel me to be involved in the immigration reform conversation. I was compelled to be here not because I’m a politician or an immigration expert but as a pastor who is committed to the relationships within our church. The leadership of our church is committed to seeing immigration reform happen, and we want to contribute to the conversation in whatever way we can. This isn’t a political issue, this is a moral and biblical issue.”

Russell Moore, President, Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission:
“I am grateful to the president and the vice president for taking time to listen and dialogue on an issue of concern to many of us. My message to the president is that there are many things that divide us as a country, but on this issue we have a remarkable consensus that the system is broken and the government isn’t doing its job to keep the border secure, to shore up the economic health of the country, and to keep track of who is and isn’t legally here. I urge the president and the Congress to work together to fix the system in a way that honors the rule of law and finds a way for those who’ve broken the law to make things right. I think we can do that, and now’s the time. There are a number of ways we can do this, and I am for every good suggestion, but the same-old, same-old political gamesmanship isn’t an option.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“I was glad for the opportunity to express the urgency the evangelical community feels around immigration reform. It was important to express our ongoing commitment to a bipartisan solution. We hope that our legislators continue to hear our prayers and listen to their constituents, who overwhelmingly favor commonsense immigration reform. It benefits the economy and is the right thing to do.”

Rev. Jim Wallis, President, Sojourners:
“The president assured us that commitment to families would come before politics in this ongoing work for immigration reform. As faith leaders, we know the urgency and the human cost of our broken and system and are committed to working and praying until reform passes.”

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 The Evangelical Immigration Table is a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values.

 

PRESS RELEASE: Evangelical Christians Join More Than 600 Conservative Leaders in Washington to Push for Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C., OCTOBER 29, 2013 — As Congress returns its attention to immigration reform, evangelical leaders from across the country are joining more than 600 conservative law enforcement and business leaders in Washington, D.C. today to deliver a unified message that Congress must move forward on immigration reform.

These leaders are meeting in the nation’s capital for “Americans for Reform: Immigration Reform for our Economy, Faith and Security,” an event hosted by the Partnership for a New American Economy, the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform network, FWD.us and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Coming off of a week of more than 400 large events and small gatherings during “Pray4Reform: Gathered Together in Jesus’ Name,” these evangelical leaders are continuing the Evangelical Immigration Table’s Pray for Reform campaign. They are asking members of Congress to support reform for the sake of our nation’s economy, security and moral integrity — and to take action this year.

The following are quotes from participants in the October 29 fly-in:

Dr. Barrett Duke, Vice President for Public Policy and Research, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“The House of Representatives has already made good progress toward reforming our country’s broken immigration system. It is within their reach to finish what they started. I am praying that the God who loves the stranger will empower them to accomplish this task.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, Pastor, The Lamb’s Church; President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC):
“The time has come to resolve the immigration challenges in our country. Evangelicals from every walk of life are looking for real solutions that respect the rule of law and make moral and economic sense. The evangelical community is glad to be part of this broad constituency of Bibles, badges, and business who believe in common sense immigration reform.”

Samuel Alemán, Pastor, First Spanish Baptist Church of Atlanta, Ga.:
“I am going to Washington, D.C., because I want to be heard as a Christian and an American citizen. On the immigration issue there is a definite biblical position, and it is important for me to share it. I want legislators to know that when a country welcomes people to work, buy houses, educate their children, incorporate their businesses and do other things legally, it has the obligation to provide a way for them of resolve the legal issue of immigration with a law that respects their human and family rights.”

Pastor Danny Garrido, The Crossing Church, Colorado Springs, Colo.:
“As a pastor in Colorado Springs who works with immigrants, I believe there are three reasons that we should promote immigration reform. First, family is the most important part of our society; if we separate the family we weaken our country, values, and economic system. Second, we are trying to present some Biblical alternatives for social and justice problems so the government can focus on other issues in our country. Third, political discrepancies have been putting this issue under the carpet for such a long time; consequently, today immigration issues look like a ‘seven-headed monster’ when the reality is not like that. I think as Christians we can present an alternative that includes justice, freedom and entrepreneurship.”

Pastor John Gil, Youth Pastor, Victory Christian Church, Tulsa, Okla.:
“Immigration reform must happen now. In order for the next generation to succeed, the families and parents of this generation need citizenship today. This one decision will benefit the cities, states, and country as a whole.”

Jeremy Hudson, Fellowship Christian Church, Pastor Spring Hill Campus, Springfield, Ohio:
“I want my congressman to know that the current system is failing, namely in the way that it breaks apart families and fails to treat people with the basic respect and human dignity they deserve. I want to encourage Congress to put politics aside and pass legislation that provides both safety and relief for our citizens and our guests. Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, and our current system falls woefully short. I’m praying for a change and praying that it comes quickly.”

Rev. Mark Milkamp, Open Hearts Community Church, Reformed Church in America, Wyoming, Mich.:
“Our mission as followers of Jesus is not merely one of seeking the personal salvation of others, but we also play an active role in the advancement of God’s redemption into every square inch of creation, especially God’s intentions of justice. The gospel is primarily concerned with justice. The laws and systems in place in our nation concerning immigration are outdated, inhibit economic growth, strip human dignity. This is one issue that nearly all parties involved realize the need to reform. I hope in some small humble way to be a part of this much needed movement.”

Pastor Tim C. Moore, Senior Pastor, Walk Worthy Baptist Church, Austin, Texas:
“The need for immigration reform must be talked about in terms of those who cross and those who hire. Both are huge problems. But no party or government can stop the flow of civilization that marches to the desire of a better and more productive way of life. Our nation’s past was built on that march. Our best future will be a continued embrace of that march. It’s now time for immigration reform!”

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Americans for Reform Sponsors: American Farm Bureau Federation – TechNet – Wal-Mart – Western Growers Association
Conveners: Americans for Tax Reform – Bipartisan Policy Center – Bread for the World – Christian Community Development Association – Consumer Electronics Association – Engine Advocacy – Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention – ImmigrationWorksUSA – Liberty Counsel Action – Marriott International – McDonald’s – Microsoft – National Association of Evangelicals – National Association of Manufacturers – National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference – National Latino Evangelical Coalition – National Restaurant Association – Republicans for Immigration Reform – Sojourners – United States Conference of Catholic Bishops – U.S. Travel Association – World Relief

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