The Common Good

Obama, Evangelicals To Make Immigration Top National Priority Following Fiscal Crisis Resolution

Date: October 17, 2013

President Barack Obama and evangelical leaders have pledged to make the issue of immigration reform the top national priority following months of delays due to the Syria crisis and government shutdown.

"President Obama is not alone in making immigration reform a top priority. Across the country, local and regional conservative leaders continue to showcase their considerable support for members of Congress who back commonsense and bipartisan reform," Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, said in a statement.

Obama pledged on Tuesday in an interview with Univision that "the day after" the fiscal crisis has been resolved, he will push for a vote on immigration reform. On Wednesday, political leaders finally reached an agreement on a temporary government funding bill and a temporary extension of the nation's debt limit, which will at least delay further decisions on the topic until the beginning of 2014.

Obama's re-election bid in 2012 was strongly backed by Hispanics, Reuters reminded readers, partly beause the president has promised reforms addressing the concerns of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.

The Senate and House of Representatives have not yet found common ground on passing comprehensive immigration reform, however, something which Obama blamed House Speaker John Boehner for.

"We had a very strong Democratic and Republican vote in the Senate. The only thing right now that's holding it back is, again, Speaker Boehner not willing to call the bill on the floor of the House of Representatives," Obama said on Tuesday.

Evangelical groups across America have continued pushing for such reform, however, framing it not only as a political discussion, but a theological one as well.

"As evangelicals, we don't believe there are second class images of God, and therefore we don't believe in a second class status for people who are willing to follow and earned path for citizenship," said the Rev. Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners, which is part of the Evangelical Immigration Table