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Category Archive for: "Statements and Press Releases"

Letter to House of Representatives: ‘The Time Has Come to Fix Our Broken Immigration System’

WASHINGTON, D.C., OCTOBER 22, 2013 — With debt and budget debates settled for the moment, the Evangelical Immigration Table today sent a letter to Congress urging action on immigration reform this fall.

The letter to each member of the House of Representatives praises the work of two House committees on individual bills to address our broken immigration system, and it encourages bipartisan cooperation around commonsense reform that adheres to the Evangelical Immigration Table’s principles.

The letter comes as a week of events, “Pray4Reform: Gathered Together in Jesus’ Name,” concludes. At more than 400 events and gatherings in more than 40 states, evangelical Christians have prayed for immigrants, for Congress and for reform rooted in biblical teaching. Since May, more than 187,000 people have signed up as #Pray4Reform prayer partners.

And next week, evangelical Christians will join law enforcement and business leaders in Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress and urge movement on reform.

The full text of the letter follows:

 

October 21, 2013

 

Dear Representative:

 

The time has come to fix our broken immigration system.  We are pleased that the Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees have worked on several bills each addressing a part of the immigration reform puzzle.  As leaders of evangelical churches and organizations we write to offer our support and encourage further bipartisan cooperation towards enacting common sense immigration reform.

 

Evangelical leaders from across the country came together in June 2012 to form the Evangelical Immigration Table. The Table has issued broad principles for reform, which have been endorsed by prominent evangelical pastors, denominational heads, leaders of national parachurch ministries, and university and seminary presidents. We are working across the country to educate and mobilize our fellow evangelical Christians in support of a just and fair bipartisan policy solution to immigration that:

 

  • Respects the God-given dignity of every person,
  • Protects the unity of the immediate family,
  • Respects the rule of law,
  • Guarantees secure national borders,
  • Ensures fairness to taxpayers, and
  • Establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents.

 

We applaud the significant progress toward legislation that would secure our borders, marshal additional resources for border enforcement and internal enforcement, and require the Department of Homeland Security to submit, implement and report on a detailed border security plan. The bills take steps to elevate respect for the rule of law – strengthening E-Verify, establishing a legal guest worker program for agricultural workers, a more workable program for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) visas, and increasing passport and visa security. We are encouraged by reports of other bills being drafted that would address the need for more low skill visas and the legal status of children, adults, and asylees; addressing these needs is vital to fixing all the components of the current system.

 

The work the House has done on immigration reform thus far is commendable. However, we remain concerned about several provisions of H.R. 2278, The Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act (SAFE Act), that could have unintended consequences adversely affecting religious communities, law enforcement agencies, and the people they are called to serve. The SAFE Act, in its current form, criminalizes unlawful presence and includes broad prohibitions on “harboring” undocumented immigrants that could make criminals of the family members of undocumented immigrants and others, including fellow church members, who assist them with everyday activities. This is a significant problem for our pastors, faith leaders and others in our community, who as an extension of their faith, care in tangible ways for the immigrants (regardless of status) within their community. Pastors, faith leaders and others in our communities should not have to decide between following the law and giving water to a thirsty traveler in the desert, providing food to those who are hungry or giving rides to church for those without transportation. While collaboration and communication between federal, state, and local law enforcement is an essential part of effective policing, it must be structured in a way that fosters buy-in from those agencies and does not compromise their rapport and cooperation with immigrant communities.

As you continue to work towards a complete legislative solution for immigration reform, you and your staff are in our prayers. We appreciate the complexity of designing a system that meets our country’s needs and that can meet with broad public acceptance.  Through Bible reading, prayer, and public education campaigns we have mobilized a broad base of evangelical support for immigration reform.  But while Congress debates reform proposals, immigrant families and workers continue to suffer under our broken system.  Now it is time to finish the job.  Please prioritize work to finalize immigration reform legislation this year.

 

May God bless you and your staff in the days ahead.

 

Sincerely,

 

The Evangelical Immigration Table

PRESS RELEASE: Evangelicals Pray for Immigration Reform at Hundreds of Events and Gatherings Nationwide

Evangelical Christians Urge Congress to Move Reform Forward

WASHINGTON, D.C., OCTOBER 17, 2013 — With immigration reform on deck for Congress, evangelical Christians across the country are in the midst of more than 400 events and gatherings in 40 states to pray for immigrants, for Congress and for broad, bipartisan reform.

At large events and small gatherings, “Pray4Reform: Gathered Together in Jesus’ Name” continues the evangelical Pray for Reform campaign, through which more than 187,000 people have signed up as prayer partners. The Evangelical Immigration Table supports reform that reflects biblical values, including family unity and the God-given dignity of every person.

Events continue through Sunday, with a few additional events planned for later in October and into November (a map of larger events is available here). In addition, evangelical Christians will be traveling to Washington, D.C., Oct. 29 to meet with members of Congress and urge movement on reform.

Follow the conversation on Twitter at #pray4reform, and find a recording of a press call announcing this week’s prayer gatherings here. The following are quotes from local participants in this week’s Pray4Reform events:

Luis Cantú, Pastor, Sagemont Church, Houston:
“When I was a boy, I fought for the street corner where I could shine shoes so I could eat. As a young man I fought for my American citizenship. This issue of immigration reform is a 15-rounder. We cannot give up now. We must win the right for those who live hidden in the shadows of society the right to come out and live under the bright lights of the streets and contribute their skills in legal status or as American citizens. The time for reform is now!”

Rev. Dr. David Fleming, Senior Pastor, Champion Forest Baptist Church, Houston:
“We are a nation of laws, yes. But we also have a God-given responsibility as Christians to care for people created in the image of God. We have every right to insist that our laws are just and fairly enforced. But we must remember who we are as a nation of immigrants. And for us here tonight, we are here as Christians, before God, accountable for how we treat people — all people, regardless of status or position.”

Dr. John Jackson, President, William Jessup University, Sacramento, Calif.:
“As the President of an evangelical university, I am for immigration reform that is just, merciful and compassionate. I am praying for our legislators that they will establish a ‘new Ellis Island’ that, coupled with safe and secure national borders, will again declare that the United States is the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’ as a nation under God. Immigration laws that reflect the just and compassionate heart of God is my prayer.”

Rev. Alex Mandes, Director of Hispanic Ministries, Evangelical Free Church of America:
“There are people wondering why the church should be speaking on this matter, but for us the church can have only one plan: to be the hands, legs and feet of Jesus. All of us were immigrants in trouble at one time. If the church wants to be relevant and help, it better show up when people are hurting. For us, this is what Jesus would do.”

Rev. Chase Stancle, Kentwood Community Church, Grand Rapids, Mich.:
“As Christians, we should be concerned about immigration because we ourselves are immigrants. As believers in Christ, our primary citizenship is The Kingdom of God. I am proud to be an American but this is not my home. If we have accepted His gift of salvation, we have renounced our Earthly Citizenships and no longer call this home. I am an immigrant. Because Christ welcomes me as a citizen of His heavenly home, it is my privilege to extend that grace here in America as we seek and support legislation that will live up to the standards of our home.”

Dave Workman, Pastor, Vineyard Cincinnati:
“The system that [immigrants are] stuck in is just a really, really broken system. These are people who really want to work, really want to contribute to our city, and are stuck in the littlest ways, [which] has created all sorts of turmoil in their lives and really difficult situations in their families … The idea of beginning to pray for our leaders and just to get some sort of movement of reform in our immigration policy — that just seems like a smart and wise thing to do. I know it’s a complex problem, but I know there are solutions here that will satisfy [both ends] of the spectrum in terms of politics.”

PRESS RELEASE: Evangelical Leaders Announce Nationwide Week of Events for Immigration Reform


*To listen to a recording of the press call, please
click here.*

 

WASHINGTON, D.C., OCTOBER 9, 2013 — Evangelical Christians across the country are planning more than 300 events and gatherings in 40 states next week to pray for immigration reform.

 

The effort, “Pray4Reform: Gathered Together in Jesus’ Name,” was the subject of a press call today on which local and national evangelical leaders announced the Oct. 12-20 events and spoke about the urgency for reform.

 

With immigration reform on deck for Congress, this week of prayer continues the Evangelical Immigration Table’s ongoing Pray for Reform campaign, which has attracted more than 175,000 people to sign on as prayer partners. Next week’s events will focus on praying for immigrants, for lawmakers and for action on immigration reform that reflects biblical values, including family unity and the God-given dignity of every person.

 

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

 

Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association:

“Jesus teaches his disciples to pray with shameless persistence in pursuit of his justice. Today, Christians across our nation are doing just that on behalf of our immigrant brothers and sisters. We are crying out to God to move in the hearts of our lawmakers to fix our broken immigration system.”

Rev. Steve Dozeman, Associate Pastor, Calvary Christian Reformed Church, Holland, Mich.:

“It can be easy to look the other way on immigration reform, but as a Jesus-follower it is impossible. His call to look after the least of these, the oppressed, those experiencing injustice is crystal clear. Any power or privilege I have been given is a gift to be used to bless and serve the least of these … As a pastor, any time you have the opportunity to speak biblical truth about the stranger and about Christian hospitality and compassion, we are absolutely called to do that, and we’re certainly doing that here in our church in the west Michigan area.”

 

Dr. John Jackson, President, William Jessup University, Sacramento, Calif.:

“As the President of an evangelical university, I am for immigration reform that is just, merciful and compassionate. I am praying for our legislators that they will establish a ‘new Ellis Island’ that, coupled with safe and secure national borders, will again declare that the United States is the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’ as a nation under God. Immigration laws that reflect the just and compassionate heart of God is my prayer.”

 

Tim Moore, Pastor, Walk Worthy Baptist Church, Austin, Texas:

“We are doing everything in our power in Texas to bow our heads and bend our knees, that our leaders of our nation will find the time and will find the heart to come together on this critical issue of our day … I pray that our time is now. We’re in this together, and it is time for the nation to come together on serious, rigorous immigration reform.”

 

Pasqual Urrabazo, Associate Pastor, International Church of Las Vegas:

“As a third-generation Hispanic American, I’ve grown up in the communities of North Las Vegas and have lived among the family fragmentation caused by our present immigration system. People are continually drawn to this nation, even at risk of separation from their loved ones. Decades of the present immigration policy have led to an entire population living essentially ‘underground’ for fear of this family separation. This situation is not what this nation was built for — we were built to be a nation of families, not one that separates them.”

 

Dave Workman, Pastor, Vineyard Cincinnati:

“The system that [immigrants are] stuck in is just a really, really broken system. These are people who really want to work, really want to contribute to our city, and are stuck in the littlest ways, [which] has created all sorts of turmoil in their lives and really difficult situations in their families … The idea of beginning to pray for our leaders and just to get some sort of movement of reform in our immigration policy — that just seems like a smart and wise thing to do. I know it’s a complex problem, but I know there are solutions here that will satisfy [both ends] of the spectrum in terms of politics.

 

Jenny Yang, Vice President of Advocacy and Policy, World Relief:

“Despite the many challenges facing our nation, including the shutdown, the moral urgency of immigration remains. Every day that immigration reform is delayed is a day of justice deferred for the millions of immigrants in our country. We believe Congress can and should work together on immigration reform, which has significant economic and social ramifications for our country, by the end of the year.  In doing so, they will restore the confidence of the American people that they are placing people over politics, with thousands of evangelicals praying for them in the process.”

 

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform.

###

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

ICYMI: Press Highlight Historic Evangelical Immigration Ad Campaign Nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C., AUGUST 27, 2013 — Continuing the burgeoning momentum for broad immigration reform, voices of local and national evangelical leaders are resonating on the radio across 14 states, encouraging prayer and action on commonsense reform. The Evangelical Immigration Table’s largest ad buy to date launched last week, continues this week and has been capturing local and national headlines.

The multi-week ads are airing at saturation levels. This more than $400,000 effort puts cumulative media buys in the every region of the country at nearly a million dollars. The ads are the latest effort in the Evangelical Immigration Table’s “Pray for Reform” campaign, during which grassroots support is coming from more than 60,000 people who have signed up as prayer partners.

Local pastors and national leaders spoke about their ads and other efforts on a press call Tuesday. A recording of the call is available here, and the ads are posted here — including five new pastors who have recorded ads since Tuesday’s launch.

The following are just a sample of the top stories from the past week:

National

Associated Press: Coalition of Evangelicals launches ad campaign in key congressional districts
A coalition of Evangelical groups, including the Southern Baptist Convention, hopes to give an earful to key congressional lawmakers about immigration reform …
The ads will feature local pastors and national voices encouraging passage of immigration reform without delay.

Story published in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.

Associated Press: Voices Opposing Immigration Law Muted This August
“The big story I think of the August recess is that we haven’t seen what some had predicted, this major anti-immigrant movement where members of Congress would be heckled into inaction,” Galen Carey, vice president of government relations at the National Association of Evangelicals, said on a media call this week to announce a $400,000, 14-state radio ad campaign in support of immigration reform. “We’ve seen very much that that has been a muted voice, but actually the pro-immigrant voice has been rather prominent at many of the town halls that we have observed.”
Story published in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Washington Post: Evangelical pastors step up pro-immigration campaign
The campaign builds on work the coalition has done over the past six months, during which members have held dozens of meetings with congressional offices. The coalition also had aired a previous round of immigration ads in five states during Congress’s spring recess.

NBC Latino: “I could be the voice of those who are voiceless” – religious leaders advocate immigration reform
Several religious organizations are stepping up their support for immigration reform as legislators debate the issue around the country.
Today, the national Evangelical Immigration Table launched the latest in its “Pray for Reform” campaign — a Christian and talk radio ad campaign which will air locally in 14 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsi
n.

USA Today: Evangelical group to back immigration reform
A coalition of evangelical Christians will spend more than $400,000 on radio ads urging members of Congress to support immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
Story published in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio.

Illinois

Chicago Sun-Times: Evangelicals take to Illinois airwaves to promote immigration reform
The ad also asks for support of reforms that establish a path toward citizenship, protect family unity and the rule of law, guarantee secure borders and ensure fairness to taxpayers.

Oklahoma

The Oklahoman: A ‘voice for the voiceless’: Oklahoma City pastor pushes for immigration reform in radio ad campaign
“I could be a voice for the voiceless in my church,” Cabrera said of his motivation to participate in the ad campaign.
“I’m not doing this because I’m Hispanic. I’m doing this because I’m a Christian.”

South Carolina

Gannett (S.C.): Evangelicals target Upstate congressional districts with immigration ads
Those involved in the Evangelical Immigration Table said their work represents the grassroots of their congregations, not just church leaders.
“This is not top-down at all. I feel like I’m being brought along by members of my congregation,” said Mike McClenahan, pastor at a Presbyterian church in Solana Beach, Calif.

Story published in South Carolina in Greenville, Hilton Head & Beaufort, Myrtle Beach and Columbia. Also ran in New York, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Texas:

Houston Chronicle: Evangelicals launch radio blitz to sway GOP Texans on immigration reform
Evangelical Immigration Table, meanwhile, have signed up 60,000 people for a grassroots effort called “Pray for Reform,” designed to reach out the wavering or uncommitted lawmakers on immigration reform.
Also ran in the San Antonio Express-News.

ICYMI: Press Highlight Historic Evangelical Immigration Ad Campaign Nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C., AUGUST 27, 2013 — Continuing the burgeoning momentum for broad immigration reform, voices of local and national evangelical leaders are resonating on the radio across 14 states, encouraging prayer and action on commonsense reform. The Evangelical Immigration Table’s largest ad buy to date launched last week, continues this week and has been capturing local and national headlines.

The multi-week ads are airing at saturation levels. This more than $400,000 effort puts cumulative media buys in the every region of the country at nearly a million dollars. The ads are the latest effort in the Evangelical Immigration Table’s “Pray for Reform” campaign, during which grassroots support is coming from more than 60,000 people who have signed up as prayer partners.

Local pastors and national leaders spoke about their ads and other efforts on a press call Tuesday. A recording of the call is available here, and the ads are posted here — including five new pastors who have recorded ads since Tuesday’s launch.

The following are just a sample of the top stories from the past week:

National

Associated Press: Coalition of Evangelicals launches ad campaign in key congressional districts
A coalition of Evangelical groups, including the Southern Baptist Convention, hopes to give an earful to key congressional lawmakers about immigration reform …
The ads will feature local pastors and national voices encouraging passage of immigration reform without delay.

Story published in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.

Associated Press: Voices Opposing Immigration Law Muted This August
“The big story I think of the August recess is that we haven’t seen what some had predicted, this major anti-immigrant movement where members of Congress would be heckled into inaction,” Galen Carey, vice president of government relations at the National Association of Evangelicals, said on a media call this week to announce a $400,000, 14-state radio ad campaign in support of immigration reform. “We’ve seen very much that that has been a muted voice, but actually the pro-immigrant voice has been rather prominent at many of the town halls that we have observed.”
Story published in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Washington Post: Evangelical pastors step up pro-immigration campaign
The campaign builds on work the coalition has done over the past six months, during which members have held dozens of meetings with congressional offices. The coalition also had aired a previous round of immigration ads in five states during Congress’s spring recess.

NBC Latino: “I could be the voice of those who are voiceless” – religious leaders advocate immigration reform
Several religious organizations are stepping up their support for immigration reform as legislators debate the issue around the country.
Today, the national Evangelical Immigration Table launched the latest in its “Pray for Reform” campaign — a Christian and talk radio ad campaign which will air locally in 14 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsi
n.

USA Today: Evangelical group to back immigration reform
A coalition of evangelical Christians will spend more than $400,000 on radio ads urging members of Congress to support immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
Story published in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio.

Illinois

Chicago Sun-Times: Evangelicals take to Illinois airwaves to promote immigration reform
The ad also asks for support of reforms that establish a path toward citizenship, protect family unity and the rule of law, guarantee secure borders and ensure fairness to taxpayers.

Oklahoma

The Oklahoman: A ‘voice for the voiceless’: Oklahoma City pastor pushes for immigration reform in radio ad campaign
“I could be a voice for the voiceless in my church,” Cabrera said of his motivation to participate in the ad campaign.
“I’m not doing this because I’m Hispanic. I’m doing this because I’m a Christian.”

South Carolina

Gannett (S.C.): Evangelicals target Upstate congressional districts with immigration ads
Those involved in the Evangelical Immigration Table said their work represents the grassroots of their congregations, not just church leaders.
“This is not top-down at all. I feel like I’m being brought along by members of my congregation,” said Mike McClenahan, pastor at a Presbyterian church in Solana Beach, Calif.

Story published in South Carolina in Greenville, Hilton Head & Beaufort, Myrtle Beach and Columbia. Also ran in New York, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Texas:

Houston Chronicle: Evangelicals launch radio blitz to sway GOP Texans on immigration reform
Evangelical Immigration Table, meanwhile, have signed up 60,000 people for a grassroots effort called “Pray for Reform,” designed to reach out the wavering or uncommitted lawmakers on immigration reform.
Also ran in the San Antonio Express-News.

PRESS RELEASE: The Evangelical Immigration Table’s Historic Radio Ad Buy

To listen to a recording of today’s call, click here.
To listen to the ads, visit https://soundcloud.com/eit_1/.

WASHINGTON, D.C., AUGUST 20, 2013 — As momentum for broad, commonsense immigration reform continues to build, the Evangelical Immigration Table announced today the launch of its largest radio ad buy to date. With Congress home for the August recess, local evangelical pastors and national evangelical leaders are encouraging their fellow Christians to pray and take action for broad immigration reform. On a press call today, national and local evangelical leaders discussed the more than $400,000 effort, which puts cumulative media buys in the every region of the country at nearly a million dollars.

The multi-week ads, airing at saturation rates locally in key cities across 14 states, are the latest effort in the Evangelical Immigration Table’s “Pray for Reform” campaign, during which grassroots support is coming from more than 60,000 people who have signed up as prayer partners.

 

Ads are airing locally in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin. Members of Congress in these states will return to Washington knowing that they have support at home for immigration solutions that ensure secure borders, keep families together and include an earned pathway to citizenship.

The following quotes can be attributed to speakers on today’s call:

Barrett Duke, Vice President for Public Policy and Research, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission:
“The rule of law and love of neighbor are both necessary values for any civilized people. They don’t have to be competing values. I am praying for our members of Congress as they engage in the nation-defining work of developing immigration solutions that temper justice with compassion.”

Felix Cabrera, Hispanic Pastor, Quail Springs Baptist Church, Oklahoma City:
“I decided to record the radio ad because I feel that through the ad, I could be the voice for those who are voiceless in my congregation. As a Hispanic pastor in the United States, I have to deal with the collateral damages that immigration brings to Hispanic families. There are many who are unjustly detained and deported. Many are separated from their families, leaving behind U.S.-born children without their parents.

“The Bible doesn’t call me to judge the reasons why immigrants arrive to this country. The Bible calls me to love them and welcome them. It calls me to treat them justly. That should be the response of all of us who call ourselves Christians. Immigration reform is urgent — our 11 million brothers and sisters living in the shadows should be able to live here safely and in peace, knowing they’re a part of this nation. Many of them have come here to do good, to work and make the United States a better place. They and their children deserve and need immigration reform.”

Galen Carey, Vice President of Government Relations, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Millions of evangelicals look to Christian radio for news and perspective on social, moral and spiritual issues. Hearing local evangelical leaders present a biblically informed call for a just, compassionate and effective immigration system will unleash a new wave of support for reform. We pray that these radio messages amplify the evangelical witness to God’s love and care for the immigrants whom He has brought to our shores.”

Dr. Stan Coffey, Senior Pastor, The Church at Quail Creek, Amarillo, Texas:
“All of us know that Texas is a border state. We have many, many immigrants in our state, and I think it’s so important for Christians and evangelicals to let our voices be heard on immigration reform. As a minister to the immigrant community I’ve found them to be people who are a family, people who are hard-working, people who make a positive contribution to our community and to our state. And that’s why I’d like to see immigration reform for our nation … I believe that’s what Jesus would have done if he were here. He would have been compassionate.”

Dr. Bob Lowman, Executive Director, Metrolina Baptist Association, Charlotte, N.C.:
“I serve in Charlotte, and the immigrant communities in our metropolitan area are growing to a size that cannot be ignored and must not be neglected. I often talk about the nations that live in our neighborhoods and how we must be actively engaged in building relationships and serving these neighbors in ways that will bless them and their families. We have prayed for years that we would be able to reach the ends of the earth with the love and hope of Christ, and now the ends of the earth have moved to the city where we live. … The more I work and the more I see our local churches and leaders, especially our churches that are actively engaging the immigrant community, the more that awareness and that need come to the front.”

Mike McClenahan, Pastor, Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, Solana Beach, Calif.:
“I never thought I’d be advocating for immigration reform, but I lead a church deeply invested in relationships with our Hispanic neighbors through worshiping and serving together, house-building across the border, tutoring children and encouraging first-generation college students. I urge our elected representatives to say yes to immigration reform that respects the rule of law, maintains family unity and secures our borders. For me, this is not hypothetical but very personal: Children living in fear are not “their children” but “our children.” I believe lasting and comprehensive immigration reform grounded in biblical values will give children and adults the opportunity to move out of the fearful shadows, eventually earn citizenship and contribute to our society with their God-given potential.

“The reason I did the radio ad was because of the urging of my members who have spent the last year or so talking together … our people have a growing awareness and their minds are being changed as they’re engaging in scripture and having honest conversations … I feel that I’m being brought along by members of my congregation.”

###

PRESS RELEASE: The Evangelical Immigration Table’s Historic Radio Ad Buy

To listen to a recording of today’s call, click here.
To listen to the ads, visit https://soundcloud.com/eit_1/.

WASHINGTON, D.C., AUGUST 20, 2013 — As momentum for broad, commonsense immigration reform continues to build, the Evangelical Immigration Table announced today the launch of its largest radio ad buy to date. With Congress home for the August recess, local evangelical pastors and national evangelical leaders are encouraging their fellow Christians to pray and take action for broad immigration reform. On a press call today, national and local evangelical leaders discussed the more than $400,000 effort, which puts cumulative media buys in the every region of the country at nearly a million dollars.

The multi-week ads, airing at saturation rates locally in key cities across 14 states, are the latest effort in the Evangelical Immigration Table’s “Pray for Reform” campaign, during which grassroots support is coming from more than 60,000 people who have signed up as prayer partners.

Ads are airing locally in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin. Members of Congress in these states will return to Washington knowing that they have support at home for immigration solutions that ensure secure borders, keep families together and include an earned pathway to citizenship.

The following quotes can be attributed to speakers on today’s call:

Barrett Duke, Vice President for Public Policy and Research, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission:
“The rule of law and love of neighbor are both necessary values for any civilized people. They don’t have to be competing values. I am praying for our members of Congress as they engage in the nation-defining work of developing immigration solutions that temper justice with compassion.”

Felix Cabrera, Hispanic Pastor, Quail Springs Baptist Church, Oklahoma City:
“I decided to record the radio ad because I feel that through the ad, I could be the voice for those who are voiceless in my congregation. As a Hispanic pastor in the United States, I have to deal with the collateral damages that immigration brings to Hispanic families. There are many who are unjustly detained and deported. Many are separated from their families, leaving behind U.S.-born children without their parents.

“The Bible doesn’t call me to judge the reasons why immigrants arrive to this country. The Bible calls me to love them and welcome them. It calls me to treat them justly. That should be the response of all of us who call ourselves Christians. Immigration reform is urgent — our 11 million brothers and sisters living in the shadows should be able to live here safely and in peace, knowing they’re a part of this nation. Many of them have come here to do good, to work and make the United States a better place. They and their children deserve and need immigration reform.”

Galen Carey, Vice President of Government Relations, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Millions of evangelicals look to Christian radio for news and perspective on social, moral and spiritual issues. Hearing local evangelical leaders present a biblically informed call for a just, compassionate and effective immigration system will unleash a new wave of support for reform. We pray that these radio messages amplify the evangelical witness to God’s love and care for the immigrants whom He has brought to our shores.”

Dr. Stan Coffey, Senior Pastor, The Church at Quail Creek, Amarillo, Texas:
“All of us know that Texas is a border state. We have many, many immigrants in our state, and I think it’s so important for Christians and evangelicals to let our voices be heard on immigration reform. As a minister to the immigrant community I’ve found them to be people who are a family, people who are hard-working, people who make a positive contribution to our community and to our state. And that’s why I’d like to see immigration reform for our nation … I believe that’s what Jesus would have done if he were here. He would have been compassionate.”

Dr. Bob Lowman, Executive Director, Metrolina Baptist Association, Charlotte, N.C.:
“I serve in Charlotte, and the immigrant communities in our metropolitan area are growing to a size that cannot be ignored and must not be neglected. I often talk about the nations that live in our neighborhoods and how we must be actively engaged in building relationships and serving these neighbors in ways that will bless them and their families. We have prayed for years that we would be able to reach the ends of the earth with the love and hope of Christ, and now the ends of the earth have moved to the city where we live. … The more I work and the more I see our local churches and leaders, especially our churches that are actively engaging the immigrant community, the more that awareness and that need come to the front.”

Mike McClenahan, Pastor, Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, Solana Beach, Calif.:
“I never thought I’d be advocating for immigration reform, but I lead a church deeply invested in relationships with our Hispanic neighbors through worshiping and serving together, house-building across the border, tutoring children and encouraging first-generation college students. I urge our elected representatives to say yes to immigration reform that respects the rule of law, maintains family unity and secures our borders. For me, this is not hypothetical but very personal: Children living in fear are not “their children” but “our children.” I believe lasting and comprehensive immigration reform grounded in biblical values will give children and adults the opportunity to move out of the fearful shadows, eventually earn citizenship and contribute to our society with their God-given potential.

“The reason I did the radio ad was because of the urging of my members who have spent the last year or so talking together … our people have a growing awareness and their minds are being changed as they’re engaging in scripture and having honest conversations … I feel that I’m being brought along by members of my congregation.”

###

Evangelical Support Broadens as Momentum for Immigration Reform Builds

WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 29, 2013 — Results from a new CBS News poll indicate broad support for immigration reform, including widening support among evangelicals across the country. Among the 1,036 respondents, 75 percent of evangelicals expressed support for broad reform that includes the opportunity for aspiring Americans to earn citizenship — alongside border security and other important elements.

The findings capped a week during which more than 300 evangelicals and evangelical leaders from 27 states came to Washington for a Day of Prayer and Action to urge congressional leaders to follow through on broad immigration reform without delay. The Wednesday event, part of the Evangelical Immigration Table’s “Pray for Reform” campaign, made #pray4reform a trending topic in the nation’s capital. (See photos from the Day of Prayer and Action.)

Participants spoke with more than 110 congressional offices, most of them Republican, about the urgency for broad reform. It is the same message evangelical leaders around the country made in a series of op-eds that appeared last week. Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, made the evangelical case for reform in a July 22 Washington Times op-ed. He was joined by National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference President Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Thursday in Politico.

Local voices chimed in as well: Regent University President Dr. Carlos Campo made the case in Wednesday’s Virginian-Pilot, and Revs. Jim Goodroe and Anthony Casey wrote in support of reform in the Greenville (S.C.) News — in House Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy’s district.

“We’re here today as a group of believers in Jesus Christ to let our elected officials know we are praying for them,” Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said at Wednesday’s Day of Prayer and Action. “We have recognized that immigration reform is not just a political issue, it’s a personal issue, and we’re praying for justice and compassion, wisdom and mercy. We are speaking to the consciences of our lawmakers.”

For additional quotes from evangelical leaders who spoke at Wednesday’s event, please click here. Video of the day’s worship service is available here.

Evangelical Support Broadens as Momentum for Immigration Reform Builds

WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 29, 2013 — Results from a new CBS News poll indicate broad support for immigration reform, including widening support among evangelicals across the country. Among the 1,036 respondents, 75 percent of evangelicals expressed support for broad reform that includes the opportunity for aspiring Americans to earn citizenship — alongside border security and other important elements.

The findings capped a week during which more than 300 evangelicals and evangelical leaders from 27 states came to Washington for a Day of Prayer and Action to urge congressional leaders to follow through on broad immigration reform without delay. The Wednesday event, part of the Evangelical Immigration Table’s “Pray for Reform” campaign, made #pray4reform a trending topic in the nation’s capital. (See photos from the Day of Prayer and Action.)

Participants spoke with more than 110 congressional offices, most of them Republican, about the urgency for broad reform. It is the same message evangelical leaders around the country made in a series of op-eds that appeared last week. Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, made the evangelical case for reform in a July 22 Washington Times op-ed. He was joined by National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference President Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Thursday in Politico.

Local voices chimed in as well: Regent University President Dr. Carlos Campo made the case in Wednesday’s Virginian-Pilot, and Revs. Jim Goodroe and Anthony Casey wrote in support of reform in the Greenville (S.C.) News — in House Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy’s district.

“We’re here today as a group of believers in Jesus Christ to let our elected officials know we are praying for them,” Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said at Wednesday’s Day of Prayer and Action. “We have recognized that immigration reform is not just a political issue, it’s a personal issue, and we’re praying for justice and compassion, wisdom and mercy. We are speaking to the consciences of our lawmakers.”

For additional quotes from evangelical leaders who spoke at Wednesday’s event, please click here. Video of the day’s worship service is available here.

Over 300 Evangelical Leaders Meet with House Republicans on Immigration Reform

Evangelical Delegations from 27 States Pray, Urge Action

WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 24, 2013 — Today, on the eve of a critical August recess for immigration reform, over 300 evangelical leaders from across the nation made the pilgrimage to Capitol Hill to pray and urge congressional leaders in both parties to come to agreement and pass immigration reform that respects the rule of law, keeps families together and is compassionate.

The morning kicked off with a press conference on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol and continued with a worship service at a Capitol Hill church. Evangelical leaders have now fanned out across House office buildings, where they are holding more than 90 meetings with their representatives and with House leaders, including many key Republicans.

Evangelical participants represented states and met with congressional delegations from 27 states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

The Day of Prayer and Action comes in the midst of the Evangelical Immigration Table’s Pray for Reform campaign, an effort that has included letters to Congress and a Week of Prayer, billboard and radio advertisements in key states and congressional districts and nearly 30,000 new Pray for Reform partners across the country.

The following quotes can be attributed to speakers at the Pray for Reform Day of Prayer and Action.

Dr. Carlos Campo, President, Regent University; Board Member, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“Reform is often in the eye of the beholder, but more and more evangelicals—and more and more Americans—agree that we are facing a moral imperative to transform our broken immigration system. This need transcends race, political party and even faith. Our country will be stronger with a system that strategically addresses our immigration problem, and reflects the compassion that has defined our nation.”

Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association:
“We can all agree that our current immigration system is not working. Therefore we must choose to take action. In a time of political division, it is encouraging to see support from both parties and, more important, from a vast majority of Americans. I pray that lawmakers will share our urgency and quickly move ahead with broad reform.”

Dr. David Crosby, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church New Orleans:
“The most victimized and vulnerable people in my community are the undocumented workers. They are assaulted, robbed, raped and shot with impunity. Common decency requires us to address their plight with haste and humanity.”

Andy Crouch, Executive Editor, Christianity Today:
“There aren’t many changes more dramatic in American evangelicalism than the way its leaders have embraced the indispensable justice of immigration reform. Evangelical Christians are involved in countless forms of service in cities and towns where they directly experience the dignity and the needs of both documented and undocumented immigrants. Their churches and institutions have been enriched by generations of immigrants from every part of the world. They have seen how directly Scripture addresses the responsibility of nations to welcome and protect the most vulnerable: widows, orphans, and ‘strangers.’ A just and humane system for recognizing and welcoming immigrants is a biblical non-negotiable for any nation that wants to reflect the heart of God.”

Rev. Wendell Griffen, Pastor, New Millennium Baptist Church, Little Rock, Ark.:
“Immigration reform is justice for all. It builds a lawful and predictable system of immigration, assures border security and reorders justice with business solutions, law enforcement solutions and family solutions. Bipartisan cooperation is already at work; many workable solutions are available. Scripture reminds us that ‘to everything there is a season.’ The time to reform immigration is now.”

Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil, Reconciliation Leader, Author, Professor & Teaching Pastor at Quest Church, Seattle:
“We have a mission to perform, and we are united. This is going to require us to step out with faith for the solutions to a broken system that ruins lives. The world that God created intends for every family to flourish.”

 

Dr. Russell Moore, President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“We’re here today as a group of believers in Jesus Christ to let our elected officials know we are praying for them. We have recognized that immigration reform is not just a political issue, it’s a personal issue, and we’re praying for justice and compassion, wisdom and mercy. We are speaking to the consciences of our lawmakers.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“We have not lost hope that we can find a way to get to commonsense bipartisan immigration reform legislation. Evangelicals believe that we can both respect the rule of law while finding ways to integrate men, women and children who want to contribute to our great nation.”

Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners:
“Now that immigration has moved out of the Senate, it’s time for members of Congress, especially those who consider themselves people of faith, to put their faith in to action by supporting common sense immigration reform that reflects our values as a nation.  There is a way forward on immigration that respects the God-given dignity of every person, keeps families together while also securing national borders.  While no solution will be perfect, any solution to help bring 11 million people out of the shadows will require leaders with the moral courage to do what is both right and seeks to serve the common good.”

 

Jenny Yang, Vice President of Advocacy and Policy, World Relief:
“The evangelical community continues to build momentum and urges the House of Representatives to pass immigration reform consistent with Biblical principles of compassion, justice and the rule of law. There is a moral cost to inaction and we urge members to act quickly and in good faith to move our country forward in the right direction.”

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