Top evangelical officials held a press conference the morning of Tuesday, June 12, to announce the launch of a major campaign for comprehensive immigration reform. Among the pastors and organizational leaders gathered at the Rayburn House Office Building were Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners, Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Rev. Leith Anderson of the National Association of Evangelicals, and representatives from Focus on the Family and the National Christian Hispanic Leadership Conference. In addition to those present, more than 140 nationally-recognized Christian leaders have signed on in support of the Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT).
“There are many ordinary days in Washington,” opened Jim Wallis. “I think this is an extraordinary day.” In a written statement of support that he submitted, Jim Daly of Focus on the Family noted that many of the organizations behind the EIT “have some pretty significant differences of opinion in matters of theology and public policy.” The leaders hope that the unification of such traditional conservative groups as Focus on the Family and the Southern Baptist Convention with left-wing organizations like Sojourners will send a message to lawmakers that there is widespread support for immigration reform in congregations on both sides of the aisle. “We call upon members of Congress. We call upon and Administration to take a step of courage, moral courage,” said Stephan Bauman of World Relief. “To rise above the fray, the Left and the Right, the polarization that simply does not need to be there, and create a better life for immigrants.”