The Evangelical Immigration Table is planning a number of events bringing attention to immigration reform to coincide with next week's vote in the U.S. Senate for an immigration reform bill. Events will include letter writing, a week of prayer, and a mobile billboard in Washington, D.C.
The Senate is voting on amendments to the bill, S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, this week and is expected to hold a vote on the entire bill next week.
At 10 a.m. every day next week, June 24-28, evangelical leaders will gather at Peace Circle near the U.S. Senate to pray that the senators will "transcend partisanship and vote for commonsense immigration solutions that include an achievable roadmap to citizenship," according to a press release. A number of evangelical organizations that are part of the EIT will participate, including, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Sojourners, the National Association of Evangelicals and World Relief. Pastors involved in the effort have also been gathering signatures for a letter writing campaign to their representatives in Congress. There is also an associated website – pray4reform.org.
Keith Stewart, senior pastor at Springcreek Community Church in Garland, Texas, said on a Thursday press call organized by the EIT that his support for the effort comes from a Biblical mandate.
"No one who reads the Bible can come away with any other conclusion than that the immigrant matters to God," he said.
One of the defining events of the Jews in the Old Testament, Stewart added, was when they were immigrants in Egypt. After they fled Egypt, that experience was to inform how treated immigrants in their own land.
"If there were ever an immigrant among them, they should always remember how they were treated, treat that person fairly and treat them honorably," he explained.
Additionally, Stewart said that "the most common sociological grouping in the Bible is the verbal triplet of the widow, the orphan and the immigrant."