Evangelical Immigration Table Leaders Praise Senate’s Historic Vote

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Evangelical Immigration Table Leaders Praise Senate’s Historic Vote

Support for Broad Reform to Continue as Debate Shifts to House


WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 27, 2013 — This afternoon, in a strongly bipartisan 68-32 vote, the U.S. Senate passed S.744, The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. This broad, commonsense bill is the first immigration reform bill to clear the U.S. Senate in decades.

The Evangelical Immigration Table has called for immigration reform that respects the God-given dignity of every person, protects the unity of the immediate family, respects the rule of law, guarantees secure national borders, ensures fairness to taxpayers, and establishes an earned pathway to citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents.

The vote took place amid the Table’s 92-day Pray for Reform campaign, and during a Week of Prayer in Washington that will conclude Friday with a 10 a.m. gathering near the Capitol.

Following today’s historic vote, Evangelical Immigration Table leaders praised the Senate’s courage and reaffirmed their commitment to broad, bipartisan immigration reform as the focus turns to the House of Representatives:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“We’ve prayed for bipartisan immigration legislation in the Senate. Now it’s time to pray for bipartisan immigration legislation in the House.”


Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association:
“The passage today of an immigration bill in the Senate is an answer to prayer for Evangelicals, and for the men, women and children who will benefit from this action. We thank our Senate leaders for having the courage and resolve to pass a bill that will fix our broken immigration system. Today, all Americans can be proud that our political representatives have pulled together to strengthen the fabric of our great nation.”

Mark DeYmaz, Founding Pastor, Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas, Little Rock:
“Evangelicals across the country, and here in Arkansas, have been united in our support of comprehensive immigration reform, and in urging Washington to fix a broken immigration system. Thankfully our collective voice has been heard. For evangelicals, immigration reform isn’t about politics. It’s about following where Scripture leads in honoring Jesus’ call to love our neighbors and to care for the least among us — people often marginalized by society for one reason or another. Personally I’m thankful for the progress that we are witnessing and pray that Washington will continue to listen to the voices of faithful Americans, including millions of evangelicals, who are closely watching this debate. We will continue to encourage and expect comprehensive immigration reform from this Congress: indeed, the time is now.”


Robert Gittelson, President, Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform:
“For advocates of a solution to our nation’s immigration crisis, today’s victory was years in the making. For the faith community, and particularly for the members of the Evangelical Immigration Table, today’s vote was so much more; it was a serious step toward a moral and biblical solution, and we praise God for giving our Senators the wisdom, leadership and compassion to pass this important bill. We also recognize that much hard work remains, and passing this bill in the House will prove to be challenging. America is built on a foundation of justice and compassion; we pray that the House passes immigration legislation that reflects these values.”

Dr. Leonardo Guerrero, Pastor, Fuquay Varina Baptist Church, Fuquay Varina, NC:
“We give thanks to God for today’s victory in the Senate, which brings us one step closer to fixing our broken immigration system. Immigration reform will fulfill the dreams of millions of families and the promise of a nation. The hard work and especially the prayers of the faithful have lifted up the moral imperative before us and the biblical call to act on behalf of our immigrant brothers and sisters. We know a long road still lies ahead, but we are strongly encouraged and deeply committed to final passage of broad, commonsense immigration reform laden with evangelical values. Our nation, our families and our spirit simply cannot wait any longer.”

Dr. Russell Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention:
“The Senate should be commended for accomplishing something we don’t often see: bipartisan cooperation across the ideological spectrum for the common good. Most of us can agree that our current immigration system is broken, and is neither just nor fair. While this legislation isn’t perfect, it’s clear that our leaders are working toward ‘both/and’ solutions, solutions that both secure our borders and demonstrate compassion for hardworking immigrant families. As Christians, we are called to affirm the rule of law and compassion for the vulnerable. Let’s pray for just such a solution to our immigration crisis.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“We commend and applaud the Senate for passing immigration legislation, thus demonstrating that our elected officials stand capable of exhibiting prophetic courage by reconciling conviction with compassion. The immigration cause no longer resides in the Egypt of political apathy or the desert of inevitable deportation. Today, 11 million people stepped into the Jordan called reform. Just a few steps away lies a land of secure borders, families, communities and — above all — our most cherished values. Can the House of Representatives demonstrate similar courage? Can the House repudiate pathetic political expediency and engage in prophetic legislative deliberation? We call upon the members of the House to finish the work now started. At the end of the day, passing immigration reform is not  about advancing the agenda of the donkey or the elephant. Immigration reform is about living out the agenda of the lamb.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“As evangelicals we have prayed, marched and mobilized for a moral, just and humane response to our broken immigration system. Today’s vote in the Senate is a genuine sign that as Americans, when we work together, we can provide real solutions to our greatest challenges. While there is still much work to do, we pray that the House will work in the same spirit of bipartisanship to finally bring a resolution in line with the highest of our values. We stand at a defining moment where we must choose between inaction or courageous leadership. For me, the way forward is clear bipartisan immigration reform rooted in justice and morality.”

Wendy Tarr, Director, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice of Orange County (CLUE OC):
“We celebrate the historic progress that was made today toward establishing immigration reform that provides for the economic needs of our country and maintains a path for legal status and citizenship for immigrants who are contributing members of our communities. We remain in earnest prayer, hope and faith for a final bill that protects the core principles that we have been upholding as people of faith. Our communities have waited long enough. Now is the time for members of the House to show leadership toward unifying our nation and bringing millions of people who have been part of us out of a second-class position.”

Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners:
“The principles contained in the bipartisan immigration reform bill that passed the Senate today are drawn from the heart of the Gospel welcoming ‘the stranger’ as Jesus commands, protecting families as Christians must do, respecting the rule of law as Christians are biblically asked to do, and fixing and healing a broken immigration system that has shattered the lives of 11 million people, whom the Bible tells us to defend and serve. The meaning of the Gospel in our times is at stake in this long overdue effort to repair our corrupt and cruel immigration system. And the promise of an earned path to citizenship is in the best tradition of American democracy and diversity. That is why so many Christians, other people of faith, and many people of conscience — most of whom also consider themselves American patriots — are coming together to pass this bill and bring this process to a positive final conclusion.”



Jenny Yang, Vice President of Advocacy and Policy, World Relief:
“We are encouraged that the Senate worked in a bipartisan fashion to craft an immigration bill that incorporates many of the principles World Relief has been supporting for years. We thank those senators who voted in favor of the bill. We believe the passage of this bill sends a strong message to the House that members of Congress are ready to tackle a tough issue, and we hope the House of Representatives will similarly work in a bipartisan fashion to pass immigration reform that strengthens border security, creates more flexible legal avenues for future immigrants and provides earned legalization for undocumented immigrants, many of whom have been suffering in the shadows of our society for far too long.”





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