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As Obama Speaks on Immigration, Christian Leaders Step Up Campaign for Reform

Christian leaders have their fingers crossed for a good speech from President Obama at American University this morning, making the case for comprehensive immigration reform.

This is a highly relevant debate for Catholics and evangelical Protestant groups with growing Latino memberships. But beyond that, a range of Christian leaders involved in the interfaith call for immigration reform cite biblical motives — “What Would Jesus Do” kinds of things, like loving your neighbor and helping the less fortunate.

Religion Link has more on why this issue matters to faith-based groups, including their reactions to Arizona’s new law cracking down on illegal immigrants.


In addition to denominational lines, this issue transcends some color barriers: “black” and “brown” clergy held a conference call yesterday to publicize their emerging coalition’s efforts, including sending a letter to Obama and members of Congress urging for legislation to help the estimated 12 million undocumented people already in the United States. One of the organizers, the Rev. Luis Cortez Jr. of Esperanza for America, a Hispanic evangelical network, said people of faith “are called to care for the poor and to welcome the stranger.” A new law should “compassionately” address the millions of people already here — including undocumented parents with American-born children — while recognizing the need for border security and enforcement of legal hiring practices, he said.


While lobbying Congress, the coalition, which includes members of the National Baptist Convention USA, the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Progressive National Baptist Convention, has started recruiting more clergy and planning joint education programs for African-American and Hispanic congregations. (They may also try to get some Native Americans involved, which could make things mighty interesting…)

Obama’s speech is scheduled to start at 10:45 a.m. EST. Check back for updates, and share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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Janet Kay

posted July 1, 2010 at 2:10 pm

I understand helping the poor as a Christian. I believe those that aren’t Christian for the most part believe that too. How can we as Christians, however, condone helping the very ones that have broken the law. Are we advocating for criminals? What about all the people who are trying to come into this great country the “legal” way?

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posted July 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm

With jobless numbers growing every month, how can a prudent person, such as the commander in Chief expect to get a reasonable response on both legal and illegal immigration? No administration will until that Southern border is sealed shut, with serious ramifications for employers who knowingly hire foreign labor.
After watching President Obama’s dialogue to the American people on Cable, about immigration reform. The consensus is that he doesn’t know what his political Czars are exploiting behind his back? Starting with the border fence and overall enforcement, that Sen. Harry Reid, Pelosi, Napolitano have silently expurgated funding to the US Border patrol and interior enforcement. Sen. Reid of Nevada cut expenditures to the real (TWO) two parallel fences, now we have only one that remains uncompleted.
Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-TX, and co-sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, (R-TX) utterly unheeded the people’s will, in that they wanted immediately the border sealed. The 2006 Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations bill eviscerated the 2006 Secure Fence Act and that would have built the first true 854 miles of the U.S-Mexico border as a serious deterrent. It would have been foreseeable that two fences along the border would have held back the hordes that keep coming? The reality is two fences separated by a 1000 yards of no-mans-land, would be a great deterrent. As for any kind of disguised terminology, known by everybody as AMNESTY–it will not happen! If such a bill passed–millions more would just—KEEP ARRIVING–believing that sometime in the future another Amnesty would appear. Liberals hidden inside the Democratic administration has shown only limited immigration enforcement, in fact Sen. Reid almost eliminated E-Verify in the Senate.
The computer program that has now been modified, to identify illegal workers in the workplace was in serious jeopardy at one time. Even 287 (g) county-municipal police verification and detainment system has been faded–out HS Secretary Janet Napolitano. IF THE PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ADMINISTRATION WAS SERIOUS ABOUT ENFORCING IMMIGRATION LAWS, SEN. HARRY REID WOULD HAVE BEEN ADVISED TO LEAVE THESE SIGNIFICANT IMMIGRATION LAWS ALONE? This not an exhaustive war between just the State of Arizona, but this pandemic has spread to the smallest community in America, which can least afford to support the illegal alien invasion that is running rampant.
To show good faith the government should have hammered down Sen. Harry Reid for his determination to table E-Verify in the Senate. It is the same with cutting back ICE from raids within America or severing federal funding on the 287 (g) programs. Reid was unable to crush E-Verify, but he did manage to make the Databased conceived program none mandatory? Both the majority party and Republicans are highlighted now and specially Sen. Harry Reid, because of his power over the Senate. All incumbents must be removed from office in November, including anybody partnering with this Nevada Senator. It is my belief that any politician with the heavy influence from the open border coalition with large margins of ethnic groups legal and illegal, are insistent for a path to citizenship. Be astounded by costs, statistics and—REAL—numbers of illegal nationals in this nation at ImmigrationCounters. Learn what you can do by joining NumbersUSA.
However I do agree with working visas for legal professional workers, in the highest demand such as Engineers, Scientists and highly skilled labor. It is unlikely that these exceptionally educated will ever become a public charge in the welfare office. The exception is none or low skilled labors that are illegally entering this sovereign nation through borders or staying after their visas have expired. Those who work on farms and in Agriculture, should not be allowed to stray away from the job that was allocated. Immediate deportation after registry should be the outcome as with anybody who breaks the law.

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