Evangelical Leaders Announce Letter Pressing House Leadership For Action
**For a recording of today’s press call, click here.**
WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 12, 2014 — National and local evangelical leaders joined a press call today to announce the release of a letter to House leadership.
In the letter, the Evangelical Immigration Table urges Congress to move forward with votes on broad immigration reform this summer — in spite of Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary defeat.
Today also marks the two-year anniversary of the Table’s launch. With the letter and other efforts this summer, leaders are telling Congress that it’s time to decide whether and how immigration reform rooted in biblical values will move forward.
The call comes amid more than 800 nationwide screenings of The Stranger, which highlights the stories of three families caught in our broken immigration system.
The following are quotes from speakers on today’s call:
Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“The overdue reform of our nation’s immigration laws should not depend on a limited number of one-party voters in one district of one state on one day. Let’s ask all of Congress to vote for all of America. If now is not the right time for immigration reform, when is? Is Congress waiting for 2020, 2040, or would 2014 be best for America?”
James Heyward, Pastor, Calvary Church of the Nazarene, Annandale, Va.; resident of Majority Leader Cantor’s district:
“I’m here to say that the time to act is now. I live in a community where we see the effects of bad immigration policy all the time. I believe this is our opportunity to put this before Congress, put this up for a vote and pass commonsense reform this summer. I think this is not a political ball we play with. This is about people, and as evangelicals we care about people. I’m excited about the political opportunity I think we have.
“As a person who lives in Cantor’s district, we were not as surprised by the results of the primary. We felt that his not connecting on this particular issue and going back and forth on it hurt him. People like Lindsey Graham who clearly stood for immigration reform handily won their primaries.”
Bill Robinson, Interim President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities; President Emeritus, Whitworth University, Spokane, Wash., in Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers’ district:
“As an association of Christian higher education institutions, our colleges and universities are caught in the middle of our broken immigration system. Thousands of high school graduates who are otherwise qualified, and are often some of the most driven and motivated students, can’t afford to go to college because of their legal status, even though they were brought to the United States through no fault of their own. Our institutions are doing everything they can to make it possible for these students to go to college, but we can’t do it alone. We need Congress to act and fix our broken immigration system to help these students and their families, our colleges and universities, and our country.”
Monserrate Salas, Pastor, Iglesia Hispana Emmanuel/Emmanuel Hispanic Church, Springfield, Ohio, in Speaker Boehner’s District:
“This is not about politics, it’s about people. As Christians, we are called to love people, to help people. My husband and I pastor a church that is Hispanic and 85 percent immigrant, and it’s sad to see families torn apart, parents whisked away, leaving children abandoned and not knowing when or if their parents are coming back. People come here for work, to better their lives and those of their family. They come to pursue the American dream. We need reform and we need it now.”
Tony Suarez, Vice President of Chapters, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“While members of the House have mulled over what direction to take in passing immigration reform these past years, the NHCLC and our president, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, provided a covering of prayer and support. It appears that some in leadership do not comprehend the urgency of the moment. Rev. Rodriguez has said, ‘It takes faith to move mountains, conviction to speak truth, courage to do justice and love to change the world. Immigration reform will require all of the above.’ Due to the urgency of the moment and the lack of progress in the House of Representatives, we announced this week that we call on Hispanic Evangelicals not to support candidates that do not support commonsense immigration reform.”
Jenny Yang, Vice President of Advocacy and Policy, World Relief:
“The politics of passing immigration reform may have changed this past week, but the moral urgency of passing reform has not. Principled stances on immigration reform are what the American people, including many evangelicals, want from their elected officials. It’s time for the House of Representatives to do their job and for House leadership to make a decision on whether to move forward with immigration this summer or not. If they do move forward, they will see support from many in the evangelical community who are dealing with the consequences of broken families within a broken system every day.”
Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform.