The Common Good

Christians Launch Ad, Grassroots Campaign Calling for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Source: Sojourners
Date: May 7, 2007

Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Jack Pannell, Sojourners/Call to Renewal at jpannell@sojo.net, (202) 745-4614 or (202) 285-1899

MAY 7, 2007

Christians Launch Ad, Grassroots Campaign Calling for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

(<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Washington, DC) – Evangelical Christians from across the ideological spectrum today launched a national grassroots and ad campaign calling for comprehensive immigration reform that is consistent with biblical values. Ads announcing the campaign ran in Roll Call and CongressDaily today to coincide with the launch. Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CCIR) will place ads nationally and locally in newspapers and on the radio, and mobilize at least 200,000 letters, tens of thousands of calls, and hundreds of lobby visits to Members of Congress by the August recess.

Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform will mobilize churches and faith groups to focus pressure on political leaders in Florida, Arizona, Kansas, Ohio and Pennsylvania with local newspaper and radio ads, letters (more than 30,000 letters have already been written), phone calls, lobby meetings, rallies, house parties, opeds, and letters to the editor. CCIR will work in several targeted sates in collaboration with New Sanctuary Movement, which launches May 9.

"We are coming together today because the bible tells us again and again about the need to care for the stranger in our midst," said Jim Wallis, Founder and President of Sojourners, and author of God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It. "Compassionate immigration reform is a critical step toward eradicating poverty in America."

"Despite differing theological and doctrinal perspectives, groups sharing a common Judeo-Christian heritage are uniting to challenge our lawmakers to create an immigration policy characteristic of a faithful people: compassionate, just, respectful of human dignity and valuing family bonds," said Rev. Dan Soliday, CEO, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, Inc.

The organizations and individuals that make up Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform are uniting around a shared set of common moral and theological principles, including:

  • All people, regardless of national origin, are made in the "image of God" and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect (Genesis 1:26-27, 9:6).
  • There is an undeniable biblical responsibility to love and show compassion for the stranger among us (Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Leviticus 19:33-34, Matthew 25:31-46).
  • Immigrants are our neighbors, both literally and figuratively, and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and show mercy to neighbors in need (Leviticus 19:18, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:25-37).
  • Respect for the rule of law, but also an obligation to oppose unjust laws and systems that harm and oppress people made in God’s image, especially the vulnerable (Isaiah 10:1-4, Jeremiah 7:1-7, Acts 5:29, Romans 13:1-7).

Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform seeks legislation that is consistent with biblical principles; legislation that protects U.S. borders while establishing a viable, humane, and realistic immigration system. "We propose that Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform that reflects the American commitment to the three formative pillars of our nation: the rule of law, our faith value system and the pursuit of the American Dream," said Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, America's largest Hispanic Evangelical organization, serving 10,700 Hispanic evangelical churches with 15 million members.

Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform supports comprehensive immigration reform legislation that includes:

· Border enforcement and protection initiatives that are consistent with humanitarian values while allowing the authorities to enforce the law and implement American immigration policy;

· Reforms in our family-based immigration system that reduce the waiting time for separated families to be safely reunited and maintain the constitutionally guaranteed rights of birthright citizenship and the ability of immigrants to earn naturalization;

· An opportunity for all immigrant workers and their families already in the U.S. to come out of the shadows and pursue the option of an earned path towards permanent legal status and citizenship upon satisfaction of specific criteria;

· A viable guest worker program that creates legal avenues for workers and their families to enter our country and work in a safe, legal, and orderly manner with their rights and due process fully protected and provides an option for workers to gain permanent status independent of an employer sponsor; and

· A framework to examine and ascertain solutions to the root causes of migration, such as economic disparities between sending and receiving nations.

Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform’s biblical and legislative principles are included in the coalition’s Joint Statement of Principles (see it with signatories here), which have been signed by a of coalition Christian organizations, churches, and high profile leaders, including, Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Sammy Mah, World Relief; Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Ron Sider, Evangelicals for Social Action; Jim Wallis, Sojourners; Noel Castellanos, Christian Community Development Association; Tony Campolo, The Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education; World Evangelical Alliance; We Care America; American Baptist Churches USA, Presbyterian Church (USA); United Methodist Church; Mennonite Church USA; and Church World Service.

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