The Common Good

Some evangelicals push for immigration reform

Date: January 19, 2013

Among church leaders, a new hope is stirring that 2013 could be the year for immigration reform.

“This is the best opportunity we’ve had in quite some time,” said Nell Lawrence, executive director of the Catholic Charities of East Texas. “There’s a huge interest right now in pushing for reform to be just and humane.”

While Catholics have been pushing for immigration reform for some time, a new evangelical push was unveiled this week.

A coalition called the Evangelical Immigration Table has brought together evangelicals from a variety of backgrounds — the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the National Association of Evangelicals, Sojourners and Focus on the Family are only a few.

In an open letter to the White House and Congress, the group pushes legislators to establish a “path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and wish to become permanent residents.”

“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,” reads the letter. “Initiatives by both parties to advance common-sense fixes to our immigration policies have stalled in years past.”