The Common Good

The Crossroads of Outreach and Immigration

Date: April 3, 2013

In a 2010 Pew Research survey, only 16 percent of white evangelicals said their clergy spoke out about immigration, and only 12 percent of the same group said their religion is the biggest influence on how they think about immigration reform. It seems that for a long time evangelicals remained on the sidelines of the national conversation.

But then, last summer, more than 150 evangelical leaders signed a resolution that calls on the United States to have a more compassionate stance toward illegal immigrants, including a path to legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and wish to become permanent residents. The statement was signed by Christian leaders ranging from Jim Wallis of Sojourners to Jim Daly of Focus on the Family.

So what happened? How did evangelicals go from remaining mostly silent on the issue of immigration to becoming some of the loudest proponents of reform?

Well, simply put, it’s because the laws were changing around them with no input from evangelical leaders.