Springfield Evangelical Leaders Call for a Vote on Immigration Reform

Local Pastors Speak a Day Before Flying to D.C.

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Top Springfield-area evangelical leaders met for a 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 featured local pastors who will discuss the moral imperatives for immigration reform, their efforts during the April congressional recess and their #Pray4Reform trip Tuesday to Washington, D.C., to meet with their members of Congress.

The following quotes are from pastors at today’s press conference:

Jesse Bowers, Missions Leader, Apex Community Church, Dayton:
“When a person tries to live out Scripture and truly love their neighbors as themselves, it becomes difficult to truly help humans who are hiding in fear from a system that needs change. My advocacy for reform comes not from a political position, but from a heart that desires to fully love those who some in society easily consider loveless.”

Dr. William Brown, Chancellor, Cedarville University, Cedarville:
“Many evangelical leaders are supporting immigration reform for moral reasons. Both in the Old and the New Testament, the call for God’s people is to care for those who for whatever reason are on the fringes of society. We see it as faithfulness to the Gospel call to love our neighbors. It’s hard to imagine Jesus telling us to either deport the undocumented or make them so miserable that they leave on their own. This is a unique opportunity for America. We are asking our representatives, Speaker Boehner and Congressman Turner, to be in the ranks of those who are helping to get immigration reform passed.”

Jack Legg, Lay Leader, Vineyard Springfield:
“As a Christian leader, I am called to love my neighbor. I do a great disservice to my neighbor if I debate the issue of immigration reform without knowing the individual people and families in my neighborhood who are most impacted by these issues. When one part of the Body hurts, the whole body hurts. I call on Speaker Boehner to bring this issue to the floor so Congress can pass sensible immigration reform that protects family unity, maintains fairness to the taxpayer, and, most of all, creates a pathway to citizenship for my amazing neighbors who bring so much good to this community.”

Cameron Luther, Student, Catholic Central School, Springfield:
“I support immigration reform because I want to see Springfield once again become the thriving city that I have heard so much about. Many of my friends are planning on vacating Springfield after they graduate from college because there aren’t enough high-paying, technology-based jobs in our area. As people leave our city, a hole is opening up, but I believe that immigrants can help stop the bleeding. Immigrants can help attract new businesses, fill vacant housing, and most of all, they bring an attitude of hope to Springfield. If we only provide them with a city that supports them, I think that immigrants will make Springfield great again.”

Jose Salas, Pastor, Iglesia Hispana Emanuel, Springfield:
“Many Latino Christians who live or work here in Springfield live in fear of being detained or deported. They came here because Springfield is a good place to live and because back in Mexico or Guatemala they would only be able to make a few dollars a day, not enough to feed their families. Many want to get right with the law, but our current system doesn’t provide a way for them to do that. The wait to come legally is often over 15 years and many have no hope of ever getting a green card.”

Monserrate Salas, Iglesia Hispana Emanuel, Springfield:
“I see the toll that this is taking on families and children right here in the Miami Valley. When moms and dads are detained or deported, the wage earners are taken out of the family and the children can’t survive without help. This is a tragedy for families. We support the deportation of people who are selling drugs or committing other serious crimes, but to deport people with minor traffic violations who came here just so that they could support their families seems like a far cry from Jesus’ call to welcome strangers and love them as we love ourselves.”

Jason Zastrow, Growing Teacher Lead, Apex Community Church, Dayton:
“Evangelicals, especially young evangelicals, care deeply about issues of justice. Immigration reform has energized them. They see it as their chance to be a part of something historic. Many evangelical churches regret that they didn’t actively support the civil rights movement. This generation wants to make sure that they don’t repeat that mistake. They understand that telling the Gospel story and living it out through advocacy for justice go hand in hand.”

Carl Ruby, Executive Director, Welcome Springfield; Ohio Director, Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform:
“This delegation is especially significant because we need to let Speaker Boehner and Congressmen Turner, Chabot , Wenstrup and Tiberi know that people of faith are ready to stand with them on this issue. Ohio is a great Midwestern state that values hard work and hospitality. We want our congressmen and congresswomen to take the lead in getting immigration reform passed this year.”

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