On Friday, June 27, it will be exactly one year since the Senate passed their comprehensive immigration reform bill with strong bipartisan support. Unfortunately, House Republican leaders have refused to follow suit and allow a vote on any immigration legislation, despite broad support for comprehensive reform.
In addition to the majority of the American people, numerous faith-based organizations support reform and are urging Republican leadership to fix our broken immigration system. Here’s a roundup of faith-based organizations from around the country that are calling for comprehensive immigration reform:
Evangelical Immigration Table: “After thousands of hours of work, reaching millions of evangelical Christians across our nation, the evidence proves America is ready for commonsense immigration reform… With all due respect, it is time to decide. We believe these next weeks are crucial in ensuring legislation comes to the floor.… The status quo is untenable. Congressional inaction is hurting our families, farms, businesses, churches and national security. The moral case for reform is clear and compelling.” [Letter, 6/12/14]
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration: “Catholic bishops returned to Capitol Hill on Thursday (May 29) with a renewed push for immigration reform, as Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski called the failure to address immigration reform ‘a stain on the soul of our nation’… The bishops’ push was accompanied by a separate open letter to House Speaker John Boehner, a Catholic, signed by 30 Catholic leaders, including the Rev. Larry Snyder, CEO of Catholic Charities USA, and the Rev. Thomas H. Smolich, who oversees Jesuit priests in the U.S. ‘Legislative obstruction in the face of preventable suffering and death is not only a failure of leadership. It is immoral and shameful,’ the letter said.” [Washington Post, 5/29/14]
National Association of Evangelicals: “Last June the Senate passed an immigration reform bill on a bipartisan, 68-32 vote. In the House of Representatives, the Judiciary Committee has passed five immigration bills, with several others still in development, each addressing a particular aspect of immigration reform. These need to be brought to the House floor for debate and passage.” [Newsletter, Spring 2014]
Southern Baptist Convention: “Republicans in the House of Representatives—sensing the political winds at their backs heading into the midterm election and distrustful of President Obama's willingness to enforce the law—have opted to do nothing about immigration. Their strategy is shortsighted. Reform will require moral courage and leadership, but it is necessary… The current system is inadequate for the country's needs, and it is inequitable as well… The message is clear: Reform is the right thing to do for our economy and needed for a safe and secure border. It is also the smart thing to do for our future and the moral thing to do for the soul of our nation.” [Wall Street Journal, 3/30/14]
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference: “This weekend, Hispanic evangelical pastors will preach a ‘call to action,’ asking churchgoers to call members of Congress to demand passage of a broad immigration bill. The program is being organized by the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which encouraged its 34,200 member churches, representing 16 million members, to participate.” [Wall Street Journal, 2/26/14]
National Latino Evangelical Coalition: “The tone in the churches and pews is lament and sadness that political expediency has trumped moral urgency. So too are evangelical leaders all over the country -- Hispanic and non-Hispanic, megachurch pastors and denominational executives -- stunned and saddened by the possibility that the House will not move on immigration reform in 2014...We have prayed, fasted and advocated for reform for well over a decade. The notion that it is not a ‘good time’ politically does not make sense to us, nor does the idea that the problem is distrust for the Obama administration -- which has the highest successful enforcement rate in 20 years.” [Huffington Post, 2/19/14]
American Jewish Committee: “Comprehensive immigration reform offers our country a tremendous opportunity to act in accord with its highest values, ensuring fairness and humanity while also being mindful of our nation’ security and economic interests.” [Letter, 11/15/13]
Mennonite Central Committee: “We see firsthand the results of a broken immigration system and the urgent need for reform…The current U.S. immigration system, which relies on harsh enforcement measures and a bureaucratic morass, is ineffective, unjust, and causes needless suffering.” [Letter, 11/7/14]
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee System: “I call on you to work with your colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass compassionate and just immigration reform… The time is now for the House to enact fair and humane immigration laws that work for migrants, refugees, and America.” [Letter, 11/5/13]
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious: “The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is determined to end the suffering and injustice of our present immigration system and calls on Congress to pass bipartisan immigration reform legislation that is fair and just... We believe the House of Representatives must act. Now is the time to fix our country’s broken immigration system. Our immigrant brothers and sisters cannot wait any longer. We will not wait.” [Letter, 10/30/13]
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): “As a pastoral leader, I [Reverend Gardye Parsons] am currently aware of the suffering created by our broken immigration laws… Now is the time for reform. Not a redoubling of enforcement measures or a broader surge that militarized border communities, but just a comprehensive reform that honors our past as nation of immigrants and ensures that we will continue to be a country helped up as the measures of freedom and opportunity. I urge you to remember your immigration story and to work across party lines to solve this challenge facing our country.” [Letter, 10/24/13]
A Look at the Polls
A recent poll by Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution found the majorities of several religious groups supported a pathway toward citizenship: “Among white mainline Protestants, 58 percent are supportive, a proportion topped by minority Protestants at 62 percent, Catholics at 63 percent and religiously unaffiliated Americans at 68 percent.” [Huffington Post, 6/10/14]
Chief Executive of the Public Religion Research Institute, Robert Jones, said: “Given how polarized our current political environment is, one of the things that stands out is [immigration reform] is a major issue in the country where there is actual agreement across partisan and religious lines. That’s something exceedingly rare in the country today.” [Wall Street Journal, 6/10/14]
And poll results from Pew Research Center, shown below, hammer the point home:
It is time for House Republican leaders to allow comprehensive immigration reform on the Floor for a vote.
Click here to read the PDF.