(Photo: Reuters/Larry Downing)
As long as progress is made toward reforming the United States' immigration system, members of the Evangelical Immigration Table are not disturbed at Speaker of the House John Boehner's announcement that the House would not take up the Senate bill, they said Tuesday on a press call.
"As long as you're engaged in dialogue and keep moving forward, I'm ok if they want to start over again," Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, said in response to a question from The Christian Post. "I'm not endorsing a single bill that is out there right now, but I am standing firmly behind the set of principles that the Evangelical Immigration Table has put forward."
David Cooper, president of Front Range Christian School in Littleton, Colo., responded that he would "echo" Staver's remarks.
"I think that speaks for most of the organizations that are part of the Evangelical Immigration Table," he added.
Boehner clarified Monday that the House would not vote on the recently passed Senate bill but would work on its own legislation.
"I've made it clear and I'll make it clear again, the House does not intend to take up the Senate bill," he said. "The House is going to do its own job in developing an immigration bill."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, on the other hand, predicted Monday that Boehner will eventually have to bring the Senate bill to the House floor for a vote if any immigration bill is to pass this session.
"Eventually he'll be forced to take the bill that we passed here, or the country will be left with no immigration reform at all. Which is a bad, bad outcome," he said.
The Senate bill passed last month, 68-32, with every Democrat and 14 Republicans voting in favor of it.
Noel Castellanos, CEO of the Christian Community Development Association, added that the EIT would work to build bipartisan support in the House for immigration reform legislation based upon the principles outlined by the EIT, just as they did in the Senate.
The EIT placed a full page ad Tuesday in Politico thanking the Senate for passing immigration reform. Plus, the organization will hold another rally in Washington, D.C., on July 24 to build support in the House for a reform bill.
Cooper said he plans to be at the July 24 event to show that it is not just liberals who support immigration reform but also people like himself, a self-described "dyed-in-the-wool highly-conservative Republican evangelical."
"Effective, commonsense reform" will help churches in their efforts to fulfill a "biblical mandate" to "reach out to immigrants," Cooper added.
The EIT also includes Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary and executive editor of The Christian Post; Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners; and Jim Daly, president and CEO of Focus on the Family.
Another set of evangelical leaders, Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration, have signed a letter opposing the current immigration reform legislation. They include Kelly Monroe Kullberg, president of Christians for a Sustainable Economy; Eric Metaxas, author of Bonhoeffer, Amazing Grace, and 7 Men and the Secret of Their Greatness; Sandy Rios, talk radio host for American Family Radio; Carol Swain, professor of law at Vanderbilt University; Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy; and Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association.