Leaders from across the evangelical community released open letters to President Obama and to the House and Senate leadership seeking action on immigration policy. The letters highlight why evangelical leaders are concerned about the current immigration system, lay out moral principles for reform, and explain why leaders have called for reform in the first 92 days of President Obama’s second term.
Dear President Obama,
Congratulations to you and your campaign team on your victory. Our nation faces many great challenges and opportunities. We pray that God will lead and guide your steps and provide you with wisdom during the years ahead.
As evangelical leaders, we live every day with the reality that our immigration system doesn’t reflect our commitment to the values of human dignity, family unity and respect for the rule of law that define us as Americans. Initiatives by both parties to advance commonsense fixes to our immigration policies have stalled in years past.
With your leadership, this can change. As a candidate, you promised to work with both Republicans and Democrats to pass and implement a national immigration strategy addressing our nation’s broken immigration system. You also promised to get this done within your first year in office.
We commit to supporting you as you fulfill this promise. We are already working across the country to educate and mobilize our fellow evangelical Christians to support just immigration laws. Support for reform is growing in our churches, denominations, campuses and communities.
We stand ready to support legislation that reflects our Christian values and builds the common good. We are driven by a moral obligation rooted deeply in our faith to address the needs of immigrants in our country. Compassionate and just treatment of immigrants is a frequent topic in scripture. The Hebrew word for immigrant, “ger”, occurs 92 times throughout the Bible.
We respectfully request that you meet personally with leadership from the Evangelical Immigration Table in the first 92 days of your administration to introduce bipartisan immigration reform legislation 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
- Establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents
These principles are endorsed by the signers of this letter and by more than 150 other prominent evangelical leaders from around the nation. The principles reflect a growing convergence with the positions of other religious, civic, business, labor and law enforcement leaders. We urge you to reach across the aisle and work to create a bipartisan solution that reflects our values, creates just and humane immigration laws, and moves us forward together.
President, National Association of Evangelicals
President and CEO, World Relief
President, Bread for the World
CEO, Christian Community Development Association
President, Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition
President, World Vision United States
President and CEO, Sojourners