The Common Good

Jim Wallis on Equal Protection Under Immigration Reform

Date: May 9, 2013


May 9, 2013


Tim King


In response to immigration reform talks and surrounding debate this week, Jim Wallis, President and CEO of Sojourners, issued the following statement:

On a press call yesterday that was organized to announce another phase of work by the Evangelical Immigration Table, I responded to a reporter's question about whether same-sex partners should be protected under reform. My comment about process was taken out of context and interpreted as a statement on how I think our immigration system should function. I would like to clarify:

I believe our immigration system should be fully inclusive of same-sex partners, without any discrimination on the basis of sexual-orientation. Equal protection under the law for all people is a value I hold and a goal I will continue to stand behind. In the past, I’ve supported marriage equality and the inclusion of same-sex couples in the protections of immigration reform

While I remain steadfast in my support of the goals embodied in the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), I recognize that there are different ways to accomplish them. I am praying for legislation to fix our broken immigration system that is as inclusive as possible of the nearly 11.3 million people whose lives hang in the balance, including the estimated 267,000 undocumented LGBT immigrants and the nearly 40,000 couples that UAFA could benefit. In order to help any of these people, we need to begin with a bipartisan bill that can pass both the House and the Senate and become law.

Now that the legislative process has begun and specific bills and amendments are being considered, there will be many prudential and strategic judgments about reaching these goals. The difficult reality is that whatever legislation emerges, it will not completely align with the ideals of any single person or political party but will still bring hope to millions of aspiring Americans. No bipartisan bill will make everyone happy; how and when each part occurs will be a challenge, but we can still work toward the ultimate goal of immigration reform that is truly for all.


Sojourners' mission is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world. Visit Follow us on Twitter at @Sojourners

Jim Wallis is CEO of Sojourners. His book, On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good, is now available. Watch the Story of the Common Good HERE. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimWallis.