Christian leaders support Obama’s call for immigration reform
Christian leaders expressed support recently for President Barack Obama’s call for immigration reform.
Recently, Hispanic and African-American pastors coalesced including the National Baptist Convention, USA; Esperanza for America; the Progressive National Baptist Convention; and the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Christian Post said.
Derrick Harkins, 19th Street Baptist Church senior pastor in Washington D.C. said, “Immigrants are not taking our jobs or public resources. The reality is that we are unified across ethnic and racial lines. We will not waver as we pursue justice on this human rights issue of our day,” the Christian Post said.
Conservative white evangelical leaders, among the strongest Republican Party supporters, stood behind Obama as he addressed the issue at the American University, the Christian Post said.
Obama was introduced by Rev. Bill Hybels, senior pastor of the 12,000-member Willow Creek Community Church outside of Chicago. In the audience were Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Christian Post said.
Anderson and Land support an earned pathway for immigrants already in the country but without documents. In a statement last May they said, “Let us be clear – an earned pathway to citizenship is not amnesty,” the Christian Post said.
An earned pathway includes allowing legal residency if one has a job and pays back taxes. A CNN poll showed this is supported by 80 percent of Americans, the Christian Post said.
In his speech Obama urged Congress to pass comprehensive legislation that will create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. He described the current system as “fundamentally broken,” Fox News said.
Obama also said the Arizona law passed by Governor Jan Brewer is “divisive” and “ill-conceived.” The law requires Arizona police to ask anyone on the streets who they find suspicious to produce their immigration papers, even if they stopped them for other reasons, Fox News said.
Recently Brewer released a campaign ad telling Obama, “Do your job. Secure our borders,” while standing beside new Arizona border signs that read, “Danger-Public Warning. Travel Not Recommended,” the New York Daily News said.
Brewer claimed the signs are Obama’s response to a meeting they had. However, the Bureau of Land Management said local rangers put up the signs, the New York Daily News said
Brewer asked Obama for 6,000 National Guard troops on the Arizona border, New York Daily News said. Obama approved 524 troops, a record high, Fox News said. Brewer is up for reelection this fall, the New York Daily News said.
In his speech Obama said, “Reform that brings accountability to our immigration system cannot pass without Republican votes,” the Christian Post said. Obama said that mass deportation is “logistically impossible and wildly expensive,” Fox News said. It is estimated that there are some 11 to 12 million immigrants without documents in the United States, the Christian Post said.
Obama said, “I’m ready to move forward, the majority of Democrats are ready to move forward and I believe the majority of Americans are ready to move forward. But the fact is that without bipartisan support, as we had just a few years ago, we cannot solve this problem,” the Christian Post said.