Evangelicals Mobilize to Capitol Hill on Immigration Reform for the First Time; Respond to Senate Immigration Proposal

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Evangelicals Mobilize to Capitol Hill on Immigration Reform for the First Time; Respond to Senate Immigration Proposal

WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 17, 2013 — Today, on the same day that the Senate introduced immigration reform legislation, hundreds of megachurch pastors, denominational leaders, heads of evangelical organizations and other leaders descended upon Washington, D.C. for the first-ever national “Evangelical Day of Prayer and Action on Immigration Reform.”

The Day of Action kicked off with a press conference on Capitol Hill and will continue with a morning worship service of hundreds of evangelical leaders from Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Since its inception in June 2012, the Evangelical Immigration Table has released immigration ad campaigns in Christian radio in key states, led letter-writing campaigns, and launched national prayer challenges like the “I Was a Stranger Challenge” and the G92 Conferences at universities all over the U.S. The “I Was a Stranger Challenge” called on elected leadersto join over 10,000 Christians in reading a verse a day for 40 days and learn about God’s heart on immigration. The G92 Conferences have energized young evangelicals like never before. In this school year, 7 universities have hosted these conferences to discuss and plan for immigration reform.

Throughout the day, delegations of evangelical leaders are scheduled to meet with 80 Congressional representatives and their staff to discuss the evangelical support for fair and practical reform that includes an earned path to citizenship.

The following quotes can be attributed to evangelical speakers at today’s Capitol Hill press conference:

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, Pastor, The Lamb’s Church and President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC):

“The time for immigration reform is now. NaLEC remains hopeful that we will cross this rubicon with strong bi-partisan support. Now is the time for courageous leadership. The 7.8 million Hispanic evangelicals are looking to see real leadership not partisanship on immigration reform.”

Jenny Yang, Vice President of Advocacy and Policy, World Relief:

“We are encouraged that after months of careful negotiation and deliberation, a group of bipartisan Senators will soon introduce an immigration bill that reflects many of the principles World Relief has been advocating for. While the introduction of the bill is just one step forward in a long process, we applaud the actions taken by the Senate and believe such leadership from Members of Congress and the President will continue to be critical in the months ahead.”

Dr. Richard Land, President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention:

“The contentious issue of immigration reform is rending the social fabric of the nation in ways that are far easier to rend than they are to mend. It is well past time for our elected representatives to quit behaving like politicians who are focused on the next election, and start focusing on the next generation as statesmen and deal with this issue in a fair and responsible way. Comprehensive immigration reform must secure the border, secure the workplace, recognize the dignity of each and every undocumented worker, and find a pathway to earned legal status and or citizenship for those who desire it. There should be no room for second class citizens in our democracy. Those who desire citizenship should be able to earn it.”

Timothy Goeglein, Vice President of External Relations, Focus on the Family:

“If our immigration challenges are to be effectively addressed, then we need a balance of compassion, respect for the rule of law, and common sense.  We can find that balance, rooted in what is best for families, marriages, and kids.  We at Focus on the Family are dedicated to keeping families together as they comply with entrance requirements.”

Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church (South Barrington, Illinois):

“Immigration is an urgent issue that directly affects many individuals within Willow Creek Community Church and thousands of other local churches around the country. I’m encouraged that our elected officials are now coming together to address this topic. I join many within our local church family in praying that they find consensus.”

Kenton Beshore, Senior Pastor, Mariners Church (Irvine, California):

“The biblical mandate is clear that we are to love and care for the poor, orphaned, widowed and strangers; namely immigrants. For over twenty-five years, our church has cared for those on the margins of our society. It was through our work in one of the most impacted cities, west of the Mississippi, that we came face to face with the effects of our broken immigration system.”

Dr. David Uth, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church Orlando:

“I’ve met so many families whose lives are broken by the system. I want to find a way to help them, influence the debate on immigrants and immigration, not to write it, but to bring it to a discussion. No matter their immigration status, if they are part of our community we will minister to them. We, as evangelical Christians, travel halfway around the world to bring hope to people. Why should we not reach out in our own neighborhoods?”

Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Co-Chair. National African America, Clergy Network:

“The Black evangelical community stands in solidarity with our Latino brothers and sisters for comprehensive immigration reform that respects the dignity and right of every person to a better life.”

Dr. Carlos Moran, Board Member, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:

“As Evangelicals, as born again believers, as the spiritual heirs to the mantles of Billy Graham and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we affirm our conviction that it is the time to reconcile border security with security of our values; values that include faith, hope and charity. Values that prompt us to worship our Lord and welcome the stranger.For at the end of the day, passing immigration reform is not, as Rev. Samuel Rodriguez reminds us, about advancing the agenda of the donkey or the elephant. Immigration reform is about living out the agenda of the lamb.”


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