Fifteen religious leaders, including NAE President Leith Anderson, urged President Barack Obama and the 112th Congress to “reassert your authority” and move to enact immigration reform legislation. The national faith leaders expressed concern that, because of its inaction on this issue for several years, the federal government is implicitly transferring “unprecedented authority” to state and local governments to implement immigration policy.
Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We, the undersigned faith leaders, write to urge you to address the issue of immigration reform as soon as possible.
Because of inaction by the federal government on this issue for the past several years, state and local governments have been taking steps to fill the void. As a result, we are witnessing an unprecedented transfer of authority for immigration policy from the federal government to state and local governments, to the detriment of our nation and our local communities.
Instead of one federal immigration system applicable to all, we now have many states and an untold number of localities attempting to create their own immigration policies. This only will lead to a patchwork of laws which would cause family separation, economic disruption, and divided communities.
Any immigration reform measure should, at a minimum:
1. Reaffirm federal authority and responsibility to enact and implement the nation’s immigration laws;
2. Protect and recognize the central importance of family unity as the cornerstone of our immigration system;
3. Establish more functional legal mechanisms for the entry of immigrant workers;
4. Create a sound, equitable process toward citizenship for currently undocumented immigrants who desire to embrace the responsibilities and privileges of becoming a U.S. citizen; and
5. Ensure that our laws are enforced in ways that recognize the importance of due process of the law, the sanctity of the human person, the incomparable value of family, and the integrity of our borders.
As the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the case of Arizona v. United States, we urge you to reassert your authority and move to enact immigration reform legislation.
His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York
President, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
His Excellency José H. Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles
Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration
National Association of Evangelicals
The Rev. Geoffrey Black
United Church of Christ
Reverend Dr. David H. Benke
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
Bishop Minerva Carcaño
Resident Bishop Phoenix Area of The United Methodist Church
Chair, United Methodist Task Force on Immigration
Reverend Luis Cortés, Jr.
Rabbi Steve Gutow,
President, Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Mark S. Hanson
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Rabbi Naom E. Marans
Interreligious and Intergroup Relations
American Jewish Committee
Reverend Gradye Parsons
The Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Reverend Sam Rodriguez
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
President and Chief Executive Officer
Rev. Dr. Sharon E. Watkins
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)