Evangelical leaders call for bipartisan work on immigration
More than 150 Evangelical leaders today called on President Obama and Congress to begin working on broad immigration reform legislation that reflects American values, including human dignity, family unity and respects the rule of law. The evangelical leaders represent congregants from various denominations including the Assemblies of God and the Southern Baptist Convention which are increasingly Latino. Of the nation’s 52 million Latino population, almost 7 million belong to Evangelical churches, according to Pew Hispanic Center.
“Our national immigration laws have created a moral, economic and political crisis in America. Initiatives to remedy this crisis have led to polarization and name calling in which opponents have misrepresented each other’s positions as open borders and amnesty versus deportations of millions. This false choice has led to an unacceptable political stalemate at the federal level at a tragic human cost,” the Evangelical leaders said in a statement that accompanied letters to President Obama and Congress calling for action on immigration reform.
SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina issued the following statement following the pledge of support from the Evangelical community:
“The Evangelical leadership delivers a much-needed moral voice to the immigration debate. Inside its churches, the pastors have seen the growing diversity of its congregants, including immigrants from all over the world. They have heard the angst of those with and without legal status who worry whether or when they can be reunited with their families, whether their children will be bullied at school or asked about their status, whether they will be treated with compassion and dignity or be scapegoated because of the color of their skin.
“These are issues Congress must consider. In recent days, we have heard Republican conservatives talking about the need to address immigration reform, apparently having awakened to the political reality that Latinos carried President Obama to victory. But as I ask in a Huffington Post blog huffingtonpost.com/eliseo-medina/republicans-immigration-reform_b_2118065.html published today, the GOP talks about immigration reform but will it change its tone?
“The GOP can no longer hang on two tones, one of apparent understanding of the problems of our immigration system and another that sees immigrants as an unfair burden. The party needs to not only work with us to fix the immigration problem but also change its tone if it wants to remain a viable political party.”