Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (www. nhclc.org), America's largest Latino evangelical organization, which "is committed to serve approximately 15 million evangelical/born again Christians." He talked about comprehensive immigration reform and the New Sanctuary Movement with Sojourners organizing/policy intern Bob Francis.
The Hispanic evangelical church can really mediate reconciliation between the extremes in the immigration debate. We offer a viable alternative to complete amnesty or "Let's shut down the borders, build a 1,000-foot wall, and put missiles on top of the wall."
Hispanics are Republican and Democrats. However, Republicans have historically depended on evangelical voters to get elected, and Hispanic evangelicals—even though they are more bipartisan than white evangelicals—are taking their message to these political representatives. There are moral ramifications of immigration reform that affect the spiritual health of our nation.
In earlier sanctuary movements, many non-ethnic clergy were responsible for the leadership. But this time around you're seeing a lot more Hispanic clergy involved. It's a minor but significant difference in the mosaic of leadership. We're working to find white evangelical solidarity on the issue of reform. One recent success was getting the Southern Baptists to support comprehensive immigration reform that includes an earned pathway to citizenship—with 97 percent of the vote!