300 Evangelicals from 40 States to Petition Lawmakers for Smart, Bipartisan Immigration Reform
WASHINGTON — The Evangelical Immigration Table will conduct a “Virtual Hill Day” Thursday, coordinating Zoom, Skype and conference calls among more than 300 evangelical constituents from 40 states and nearly 70 congressional offices to discuss the need for bipartisan immigration reforms.
In these meetings, evangelical pastors and leaders will urge their elected officials to support immigration reform that keeps families together, respects the rule of law and creates a way for undocumented immigrants who qualify to earn legal status and eventually citizenship.
The leaders of the Evangelical Immigration Table have repeatedly urged Congress to act on a bipartisan basis to provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers and praised the recent bipartisan re-introduction of the Dream Act in the U.S. Senate. They have also urged legislators to reach a bipartisan consensus on a restitution-based solution for the broader population of undocumented immigrants that avoids either mass deportation or amnesty. Table leadership and evangelicals across the country are eager to see progress on the urgent, national imperative to build an immigration system that works for U.S. families, grows our economy and strengthens communities, while welcoming immigrants who are vital members of our society.
“In years past, we’ve coordinated visits from hundreds of evangelical pastors and leaders from throughout the country who have flown to Washington to meet with their congressional leaders on Capitol Hill, urging them to pursue immigration policies consistent with biblical principles,” said Matthew Soerens, national coordinator of the Evangelical Immigration Table. “Given the challenges of travel and in-person meetings, that was not possible this year — but the silver lining is that we have more evangelical leaders participating than ever before, with more than 300 registered participants from 40 states participating in nearly 70 congressional meetings. Throughout the nation, evangelical Christians are pressing our congressional leaders to overcome partisan divisions and find bipartisan consensus on important immigration policy issues.”
The following are quotes from local evangelical leaders participating in the virtual Hill Day:
Andrea Castaneda-Lauver, Associate Pastor, Houston First Church of the Nazarene, Houston, Texas, and President, South Texas District, Nazarene Youth International:
“As an evangelical pastor, I feel called to make practical the biblical principles of justice and dignity for every human being who has been created in the image of God, especially immigrants and those who have been forced to flee their homes, who are some of the most vulnerable in our societies. To me, pursuing justice and helping bring dignity to my neighbors looks like not only seeking to meet some of their most immediate needs, but also using my platform to advocate for them to my senators and representatives. I am an immigrant who has personally, and is currently, living through the fear and unknown of my future and the future of my family in our country. Because of this, I recognize that this is the time to use my voice and platform to speak for those who do not have one. I am prayerful and hopeful that our congressional leaders can unify through shared values, the pursuit of justice, and honoring the dignity in human lives to forge bipartisan reform for the immigrants whose lives are hanging in the balance.”
Eric Costanzo, Senior Pastor, South Tulsa Baptist Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma:
“It’s an honor to join other evangelical pastors here in Oklahoma and throughout the country to encourage our senators and representatives to work together to pursue long overdue immigration reforms that are rooted in our values as Christians. In particular, I’m hoping that the support of evangelical Christians can help rebuild bipartisan support for refugee resettlement and advance a bipartisan legislative solution for Dreamers.”
Adam Clark, Director, World Relief Durham, Durham, North Carolina:
“Immigration policies profoundly impact the well-being of families whom we serve every day at World Relief. For us and for the many local churches with whom we partner, this isn’t a partisan issue, but one rooted in our biblical convictions, and we’re thankful for the opportunity to join with others from throughout North Carolina and the country to advocate for and with the refugees and other immigrants within our communities.”
Rich Nathan, Founding Pastor, Vineyard Columbus, Westerville, Ohio:
“An attorney from Guinea, and a convert from Islam to Christianity, legally came to the United States with her Christian husband and their four adopted children. She’s a member of our church. She did not want to return to Guinea when her adopted daughter reached puberty since her family might abduct the girl and subject her to female genital mutilation. Her husband periodically returned to Guinea for business. Because of a change of policy under the last administration, he was unable to renew his multiple entry visa. The family has been separated for several years. In the church that I pastor, there are dozens of families that have been shattered by America’s broken immigration system. As a matter of basic morality, it’s time for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
Gabriel Salguero, Pastor, The Gathering Place, Orlando, Florida, and President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“As an evangelical pastor who serves immigrant communities, I believe that our immigration system is broken and that we can find a bipartisan and humane way forward. I continue to pray for and call on Congress to act now to fix this broken system.”
The Evangelical Immigration Table is a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values.