The Common Good
Immigration reform rally, spirit of america / Shutterstock.com

As Christians, we should stand with our immigrant neighbors and pledge our support for them as they pledge their allegiance to our nation and it’s future. In how we are to treat one another, through community and the policies our community adopt, there is a clear biblical imperative.

YouTube video of a clip featuring Pastor Barco

Sojourners has released a powerful video telling the story of Pastor Juan Luis Barco, an undocumented minister following God’s call and faithfully serving a congregation. We especially want elected officials like Rep. King and those who share his views to hear this message, so we launched the video as a TV ad running across his district.

Jim Wallis and Lisa Sharon Harper speaking at the press conference. Photo: Brand

Given the obvious benefits of, and broad public support for, immigration reform, why are many arch-conservatives in the House of Representatives refusing to address the issue in a serious way? The answer may point to an issue that we still hesitate to talk about directly: race.

Jim Wallis speaks at the #Fast4Families press conference before the fast. Brando

For people of faith this is not a political issue, but a moral one. And for Christians, how we treat 11 million undocumented people, the "strangers" among us, is how we treat Christ himself.

U.S. Capitol Building, Gary Blakeley / Shutterstock.com

by Jim Wallis
What I have heard after visiting 18 cities in six weeks is that people around the country believe that nothing can happen in Washington, D.C. They are basically right. So I am very grateful today to report the one exception.

About Sojourners Immigration

In Deuteronomy, God tells the Israelites: You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. (10:19). Having experienced life as immigrants in a foreign land, God’s people were now called to offer love and welcome to the immigrants among them. Jesus reiterates this call to radical hospitality in the New Testament (Matthew 25:35).

The United States is a nation of immigrants. While we come from different backgrounds, our country’s strength is the ability to unite together around common goals. Yet, our immigration laws prevent immigrants from using their gifts to improve our communities and grow the economy. Instead of “welcoming the stranger,” the current system leaves families living in fear and prevents young people from achieving their dreams.

Sojourners believes Christians are called to change this. Through our work with groups like the Evangelical Immigration Table and the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, we are articulating the biblical witness for immigration reform and encouraging our political leaders to take action. By working together, we believe the faith community has a historic opportunity to help create a road map to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans.

Follow Sojourners Immigration

From the Magazine & Blog

Obama is not offering people citizenship, but his address reflected on the meaning of community belonging. “These people” often act like citizens, he seemed to be saying, because they “came to work, and study, and serve in our military, and above all, contribute to America's success.” To those of us who are citizens legally, Obama also had a message: Become better Americans.
While Republican leaders blast President Obama for taking executive action on immigration reform, some prominent evangelical leaders are welcoming the president’s plans to keep about 5 million undocumented immigrants from being deported. Evangelicals are a key voting bloc for the GOP, but on immigration some are taking a pragmatic step away from the party. They include Hispanic leaders such as the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez who say the time has come to manage what has become a “de facto humanitarian crisis” for millions of immigrants. “This merciful action takes place because for years our government, under the leadership of both parties, failed miserably as it pertains to immigration,” said Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Rodriguez planned to be with Obama on Nov. 21 in Las Vegas, where the President hopes to rally for his new steps.
Editor's Note: Thursday evening, President Barack Obama announced he is taking action to reform pieces of our broken immigration system. See Sojourners President Jim Wallis' recap here. Below are President Obama's remarks as prepared for delivery.
For us, the 1,000+ deportations per day means the breakup of families we have come to know and love in our own congregations and communities. Their families are now our families; their kids are our kids. For us, this is an issue for the body of Christ, a question of our obedience to Jesus Christ. It is about things that are so much more important than politics.
Yesterday, President Obama released a short video providing more information on a much-anticipated executive action announcement on immigration policy. While the details remain unclear on how many of the 11 million undocumented and aspiring Americans will be covered, relief is rumored to include temporary legal protection for the following: Undocumented parents of children who are legal U.S. citizens Undocumented immigrants with a longstanding presence in the United States Extension of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program The President will address the nation tonight at 8PM ET. Watch the speech live here.