Illinois Evangelical Leaders Call for a Vote on Immigration Reform

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

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

CHICAGO — Top Illinois evangelical leaders joined a telephonic press conference today to highlight the biblical call to welcome the stranger and urge Congress to move forward with a vote on immigration reform.

The press conference comes a day before the pastors travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with their members of Congress and highlight the moral imperatives for immigration reform. And it will build on the momentum of last week’s support for reform from Illinois Republican and business leaders.

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

Noel Castellanos, Christian Community Development Association, Chicago:
“I am so excited to see so many key evangelical leaders in Illinois fully engaged in advocating for a just and commonsense reform of our broken immigration system. Along with serving our immigrant brothers and sister in our churches, we will also urge members of the House to introduce and pass immigration legislation immediately.”

Chris McElwee, Local Impact Pastor, Wheaton Bible Church, West Chicago:
“As we examine what the Bible has to say about the ‘stranger’ living in our communities and we meet more and more immigrants in our neighborhood, we believe now more than ever that our immigration system is broken and in need of repair. This is an important issue for all Christians, and not just the immigrant. We urge both parties in Congress to come together and pass new legislation in order to create a just immigration system.”

Bertie Holmgren, Senior Associate Pastor, First Free Rockford:
“It is very exciting to see the momentum building behind immigration reform, particularly within the church, which is letting its voice be heard. It is imperative that the church be able to bring some grace and some common sense to the discussion on immigration issues, which are too often dominated by harsh rhetoric. That is the primary focus of the evangelical community in this debate: to stop and say, ‘What does God have to say about how we are to treat immigrants?’ ”

Aaron Monts, Pastor of Missions & Outreach, South Side Christian Church, Springfield:
“More than 250 pastors from 25 states will be descending upon Washington, D.C., tomorrow to advocate for sensible immigration reform with our elected representatives. As pastors we see in our congregations the effects of a broken immigration system tearing the lives of families apart. Our system is not only broken but destructive to the fabric of our society and our nation. This is a family values issue that must be resolved, and we are urging Congress to take action today because every day we wait, more families are torn apart.”

Luis Ruiz, Pastor, Rios de Aguas Vivas, Chicago:
“We seem to forget that one of the main lessons Jesus Christ taught us is to love our neighbors. President Obama and our legislators need to revisit our policies through the eyes of love — for the children who have no parents, the parents who are afraid to drive to work, and the families that have no stability in their communities. We need to continue letting our legislators and our other officials know that the church is here, and it needs to, wants to, and is available to help these families, but it will also be pushing along the wheels of progress on immigration reform.”

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