SAN FRANCISCO, July 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As the U.S. House Republican Conference convenes today to determine the path forward on immigration reform legislation, leaders of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), the largest Hispanic Christian organization representing over 40,000 U.S. churches and more than 16 million Evangelicals, urged the GOP to stand in support for reform.
"Whether this nation secures its borders and values lies in the hands of Republican leaders in the House of Representatives," said Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, NHCLC president. "GOP leaders have an opportunity to exhibit prophetic courage by passing immigration reform in a manner that advances an agenda that reconciles the rule of law with a non-amnesty process of integration."
The NHCLC, which is also a part of the Evangelical Immigration Table, applauded the U.S. Senate for its bipartisan efforts in passing immigration reform legislation June 27, and continues to advocate for a non-partisan approach. Just this week, it joined leaders from around the nation in publicly thanking Senators who voted "yes" on immigration reform through a Politico advertisement and also blanketed House members with letters pressing them to move on comprehensive reform.
"Members of the House that embrace reform are poised to make history by reconciling Abraham Lincoln's justice imperative with Ronald Reagan's conviction regarding immigrants," Rodriguez added. "It was Reagan who said that immigrants really embody the future of America. True conservatism means that if we are to conserve the spirit of entrepreneurship, we need to welcome these immigrants. Now is the time!"
Believing immigration reform is as much a religious issue as it is a policy, NHCLC leaders have also been actively rallying support from the Evangelical Christian community, which was once hesitant to embrace reform but now believes it is necessary to heal communities, usher in peace and promote righteousness and justice. Based on the biblical mandate of Matthew 25:35, where Jesus says that by welcoming a stranger, one may be welcoming Him, NHCLC leaders have rallied with Evangelical leaders to educate the Christian community on the importance of reform, based on conviction and commitment to a biblical worldview.
NHCLC supports reform focused on three main elements that puts an end to all illegal immigration. First, increasing border protection, including using infrared, satellite, and other technologies, in addition to border patrols. Second, creating a market-driven guest-worker program that provides clear avenues by which millions of undocumented families can obtain legal status in a manner that reflects the Judeo-Christian value system on which this nation was founded. And finally, developig standards for undocumented residents without a criminal record who are earning citizenship status to go to the back of the citizenship line and receive a financial penalty, while acquiring civic and language proficiency and serving the local community.
Seeking to reconcile evangelist Billy Graham's message of salvation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s march of prophetic activism, the NHCLC emphasizes "seven directives" of Life, Family, Compassionate Evangelism, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth. For additional information, visit http://www.nhclc.org.
SOURCE National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference