October 9, 2009
Hispanic Leader Calls Immigration Resolution 'A Tipping Point'
NAE president: 'Jesus was a refugee.'
On Thursday, the board of the National Association of Evangelicals endorsed without dissent a resolution that urges comprehensive immigration reform by the U.S. government. The resolution summarizes the biblical principles that should guide the needed change, but it stops short of endorsing any specific policy proposal. Read the Religion News Service coverage elsewhere on our site, and the resolution itself.
Presenters for the Capitol Hill press conference that followed the vote on the resolution included NAE president Leith Anderson (who reminded those present that Jesus was a refugee), national director of the Vineyard USA Berten Waggoner, president of Elim Fellowship Ronald Burgio, and president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) Samuel Rodriguez.
The NHCLC serves 15 million Hispanic Christians and is an affiliate organization of the National Association of Evangelicals.
I asked Sam a copy of his press conference statement to share with CT's readers:
On behalf of our 25,434 churches, we commend and applaud today’s resolution by our sister organization, the N.A.E. This is, without a doubt, a tipping point. We can no longer state that immigration reform stands as a Latino, immigrant or partisan issue. Today’s resolution conveys a collective message on behalf of the Evangelical community that at the end of the day immigration reform is a matter of justice firmly grounded on biblical truth.
Moreover, this resolution embodies the spirit of a message declaring that comprehensive immigration reform stems neither from the agenda of the donkey nor from the agenda of the elephant but rather from the agenda of the Lamb.
Correspondingly, we stand obligated to respond to the challenge before us. Can we reconcile Leviticus 19 and Romans 13? Can we repudiate xenophobic and nativist rhetoric, push back on the extremes from both left and right and converge around the nexus of the Center Cross where righteousness meets justice, border security reconciles with compassion and common sense marries common ground?
Let us be clear: we humbly encourage Congress to finally pass and sign into law legislation that will protect our borders, put an end to all illegal immigration, create a market-driven guest worker program and facilitate avenues by which the millions of families already in America that lack legal status can assimilate fully into our society.
Our desire is for every immigrant in America to become a productive citizen, demonstrate proficiency in the English vernacular, embrace the core values of the American idea and realize the American Dream.
To that end, I humbly pray, in the name of justice, in the name of righteousness, in the name of the Divine, let us pass comprehensive immigration reform. By doing so we will protect our borders, protect all our families, protect our values and then and only then can we protect the American Dream.