WASHINGTON (BP)--Both political parties should come together soon to enact a strategy of comprehensive immigration reform that increasingly is being supported by evangelical Christians, leaders from that religious identity said at a June 9 forum on Capitol Hill.
'I think every church in America ought to start English classes.'
-- Richard Land
Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land and other evangelicals called for Congress and President Obama to set aside partisanship and special interests to resolve the controversy and problems of illegal immigration.
The immigration crisis "is fanning the flames of hostility and animosity and distrust between various elements in our society, and it is time for our representatives in Congress and our president to put aside partisanship, to put aside narrow political interests and do what is best for the country," said Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
"This just takes national will and insistence that our representatives and our senators and our president do what is in the best interest of the nation," Land said.
Both parties have failed on the issue, said Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
"Democrats are willing to save the auto industry, the housing market, health care and banks but somehow do not find time or the political will to save children from being separated from their parents, securing our borders and integrating 12 million into a legal status that would reconcile our communities," Rodriguez said.
The Republican Party "stands at the brink of repeating history by completing a wall, not between Mexico and the United States but between Hispanic Americans and the conservative movement. How ironic," he said. "The group that [President Ronald] Reagan believed would invigorate the Republican Party via its traditional values of God, family and country today potentially stands rejected by the party of Reagan. The family values party is alienating the most pro-life, pro-family constituency in America. Go figure."
While there is disagreement from some, "there is significant agreement" among evangelical and faith-based leaders for comprehensive immigration reform that secures the country's borders and integrates illegal immigrants by providing "a pathway for earned, legal status and/or citizenship for those seeking" it, said Mathew Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel.
Among white evangelicals, there was "a disconnect between the pulpit and the pew" the last time immigration reform was attempted in Congress in 2006-07, Rodriguez told reporters and others in attendance. Read More