Evangelical Leaders Meet with Obama, Biden on Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. — 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.