The Common Good

Evangelical Groups Call for Path to Citizenship in Immigration Overhaul

Date: March 18, 2013

A coalition including some of the nation’s largest evangelical Christian organizations said on Monday that Congress should include “clear steps to citizenship” for illegal immigrants in any bill to overhaul the immigration system.

The group, the Evangelical Immigration Table, issued a statement of principles calling for an eventual path to citizenship for immigrants who would gain legal status under proposals that lawmakers in both houses of Congress are considering. “This call is rooted in our biblically informed commitment to human freedom and dignity,” the group said.

While the coalition has previously expressed support for comprehensive changes to immigration laws, including paths to legal status for those in the country illegally, the statement on Monday was the first time the evangelical groups, most of them politically conservative, have explicitly endorsed a pathway to citizenship.  The groups include the National Association of Evangelicals, the largest national umbrella organization; the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal advocacy group; and two national organizations of Hispanic evangelical Christians.