A coalition of Latino religious leaders from 17 states is fighting for amnesty for thousands of undocumented workers in the United States. The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, which represents 2,500 churches, is lobbying for a new amnesty project and has several senators on board, including Senate Majority Leader Bob Frist. The moderator of the coalition, Rev. Miguel Rivera, told the New Jersey-based newspaper El Especial that Frist is committed to an amnesty initiative.
"We agreed that the best way to solicit amnesty is through the church," said Rivera. "The ministers see what the needs of our community are and how we suffer for our legal status, and they recognize that this is our responsibility." Rivera says that 15 percent or more of the parishioners in the 52,000 U.S. Latino evangelical congregations are new immigrants. Of these, about half are undocumented. The coalition was formed in 1999 to raise awareness among church leaders of their responsibilities to the Latino community.