Evangelicals Launch Immigration Reform Campaign

WASHINGTON – Evangelical leaders launched an ecumenical national grassroots and ad campaign on Monday advocating for comprehensive immigration reform.

The campaign, under the title of Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CCIR), plans to run ads nationally and locally in newspapers and mobilize at least 200,000 letters, tens of thousands of calls, and hundreds of lobby visits to Members of Congress by the August recess to demonstrate support for immigration laws that would both protect the U.S. borders yet provide a way for immigrants already in the States to gain legal status.

"We are coming together today because the Bible tells us again and again about the need to care for the stranger in our midst," said Jim Wallis, founder and president of the social justice group Sojourners. "Compassionate immigration reform is also a critical step toward eradicating poverty in America."

The faith-based advocacy campaign will mobilize churches and faith groups across the nation with special focus on Florida, Arizona, Kansas, Ohio and Pennsylvania – states where CCIR will work with New Sanctuary Movement to show how the U.S. immigration crisis affects individual lives.

CCIR supports the belief that immigrants are American neighbors and U.S. citizens are to love their neighbors and show mercy to those in need.

"We propose that Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform that reflects the American commitment to the three formative pillars of our nation: the rule of law, our faith value system and the pursuit of the American Dream," said the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, America's largest Hispanic Evangelical organization, which serves 10,700 Hispanic evangelical churches with 15 million members.

Signers of the coalition's Joint Statement of Principles include Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland Church in Longwood, Fla.; Sammy Mah, president/CEO of World Relief; and the World Evangelical Alliance.

So far more than 50,000 letters have already been written out of the goal of 200,000 letters.