SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- One week after a historic Immigration Summit hosted by Hispanic Evangelical leaders with delegates from across the nation, including representatives from President Obama's administration, denominational leaders, pastors, local community leaders and pro-immigrant activists, convened to discuss Biblical solutions for the immigration crisis in America, U.S., District Judge Sharon Blackburn, last Wednesday, refused to block key parts of Alabama's immigration law including a measure that requires immigration status checks of public school students -- and in theory, paving the way for the Supreme Court to rule in favor of states passing their own immigration laws.
Federal law requires public schools to provide K-12 education to undocumented immigrants, but the Alabama law requires that schools verify the immigration status of children enrolling for the first time -- Judge Blackburn's ruling has created an atmosphere of fear within the Hispanic community causing 231 Hispanic children in Montgomery, Alabama's state capital, and other students throughout the state, to be absent from school on Thursday, the first day the law went into effect.
In addition to the provision that requires public schools to check students' immigration status, Alabama's Immigration Law H.B. 56 also criminalizes giving an undocumented immigrant a ride, instructs police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop if they suspect the person of being an undocumented immigrant and requires employers to use E-Verify to check potential employees' status -- which, by most appearances, invites racial profiling not only by law enforcement officers but by landlords and employers.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (www.nhclc.org), also known as the Hispanic Evangelical Association, the nation's largest Christian Hispanic organization which represents over 16 million Hispanic Evangelicals, said, "Alabama's immigration law succeeds not in addressing the immigration crisis or offering a viable and sustainable solution but rather the law succeeds in fostering a spirit of racial and discriminatory practices. This law is anti-Christian, anti-Conservative and anti-American. It resurrects the old spirit of George Wallace and places Pastors and Clergy in peril as they reach out to all in their communities with the love of Christ."
Robert Gittleson, Co-Founder of Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, said, "Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission since 1988, has stated that our current immigration system is 'rending the social fabric of our nation.' This Alabama ruling is but one in a continuing series of unfortunate decisions that states are making that are indeed rending our social fabric. This is ultimately due to our nation's inability to address this issue at the Federal level. This is a fiscal, but even more importantly a national moral issue that we must come together - despite the political difficulties - to solve in a rational and fair way. We cannot allow this issue to continue to rend America's social fabric."
Dr. Carlos Moran, Director of Hispanic Ministries, Church of God International, said, "It is obvious that Alabama's HB 56 is one of the toughest laws in the United States that will complicate the biblical, just, and righteous mission and mandate from Christ to His Church and disciples to carry out the Great Commission and Great Commandments. I hope that preaching the gospel in the United States to all people will not be criminalized. The Church is called to serve all people regardless of their immigration status in the USA."
The Alabama Immigration policy was signed into law by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley on June 9. 2011 and has, in fact, been hailed as the most controversial immigration law and the most restrictive law against illegal immigration in the country. Judge Blackburn's previous order blocking enforcement expired on Thursday. An ACLU attorney said an appeal is likely. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, a Republican, said after the ruling that he intends to enforce the "strongest immigration law in our country." The Justice Department said in a statement that it is reviewing its options.
"The answer is to reconcile Leviticus 19 with Romans 13, compassion with the rule of law," Rodriguez continued. "The answer is a 'Just Integration' solution that stops all illegal immigration, prohibits amnesty, deports those engaged in nefarious activities while facilitating an integration and legalization process for self-sustaining hard working individuals. The anti-immigration rhetoric needs to end and we call upon the Church and the Federal government to stand with a heart of righteousness and justice in approaching this, and other, anti-immigration state laws."
Rodriguez, concluded, "At the end of the day, immigrants will revitalize the American Church, reaffirm the values of faith, family and hard work while enriching the collective narrative of our American experience. We, the NHCLC, stand committed to addressing the current immigration crisis in America. We are pressing forward with a multi-tier strategy to bring about positive change in immigration reform."
The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference is the Hispanic Evangelical Association unifying, serving and representing the Hispanic Born Again Community via 34,200 member churches and 16 million constituents by reconciling the vertical and horizontal of the Christian message through the 7 Directives of Life, Family, Great Commission, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth.
SOURCE National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference