The Common Good

Diverse Religious Leaders from Central Florida Call on Policymakers to Refrain from Hateful Immigration Rhetoric and to Enact Reform

Source: Sojourners
Date: June 10, 2008

June 10, 2008

Contact: Jason Gedeik, Sojourners, (202) 745-4633, media@sojo.net

Diverse Religious Leaders from Central Florida Call on Policymakers to Refrain from Hateful Immigration Rhetoric and to Enact Reform

More than Thirty Religious Leaders Sign a Letter Advocating for Humane Immigration Reform

ORLANDO, FL — June 10, 2008 — Religious leaders, representing evangelical and mainline Christians from both Latino and white communities, united today to call on federal, state and local officials in Florida to uphold the values of this welcoming nation and focus on immigration reform. A letter signed by more than thirty local religious leaders from across the state outlines the need for humane immigration reform.

To read the letter and view the list of signatories please visit: www.sojo.net/immigration

Faith leaders in Florida are deeply concerned about the broken immigration system facing our state and nation. Congress failed to pass immigration reform, and as a result the ongoing debate has been dominated by hateful rhetoric while greatly dividing local communities over the issue. This conflict and public demonizing of immigrants is tearing communities apart with fear. The incessant hateful and divisive language will only drive families further into the shadows. Until the nation pursues reasonable solutions through immigration reform, local communities and families will continue down the path of destruction.

"As Christians in our respective churches we have seen firsthand the human toll borne by the men, women, and children caught in the trap of our broken immigration system," said Joel Hunter, Senior Pastor of Northland Church in Orlando, FL. "It does not reflect the Spirit of Christ to demonize people, all of whom are made in God's image, especially those who He would recognize as the most vulnerable among us."

A debate is needed about the immigration crisis in America, but it needs to be focused on reform that does not degrade people. Our current discourse has perpetuated hate and blame towards immigrant communities, and is not moving us toward a solution. Religious leaders encourage local politicians to commit to the fair treatment and rights for immigrants.

Rev. Dr. Nino González, Senior Pastor, Iglesia El Calvario said, "We have many vulnerable people, including immigrants, living in our communities and worshiping with us. We come together now to commit ourselves as the church to care for the immigrant and treat them with dignity and respect as contributing members of society."

The letter outlines how Congress’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform has created a heated environment where unfounded blame is all too commonly placed on undocumented immigrants. While there is an array of legitimate concerns and positions regarding the immigration debate, lawmakers should refrain from any unnecessary, hateful speech. The faith leaders call on policymakers to proceed with respect in the immigration debate.

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About Christians For Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CCIR):

CCIR represents a coalition of Christian organizations, churches, and leaders, from across the theological and political spectrum, united in support of comprehensive immigration reform. Despite our differences on other issues, we are working together to revive comprehensive immigration reform as soon as possible, because we share a set of common moral and theological principles that compel us to love and care for the stranger among us.

For more information about CCIR please visit: www.sojo.net/immigration

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