Faith Leaders Welcome President Obama's Proposal for Common Sense Immigration Reform

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama delivered remarks in Las Vegas about fixing the broken immigration system so that it is fairer and helps grow the middle class by ensuring everyone plays by the same rules.

"I’m here because most Americans agree that it’s time to fix a system that’s been broken for way too long." President Obama said. "I’m here because business leaders, faith leaders, labor leaders, law enforcement, and leaders from both parties are coming together to say now is the time to find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as the land of opportunity.”

President Obama's proposal for immigration reform has four parts. First, continue to strengthen our borders. Second, crack down on companies that hire undocumented workers. Third, hold undocumented immigrants accountable before they can earn their citizenship; this means requiring undocumented workers to pay their taxes and a penalty, move to the back of the line, learn English, and pass background checks. Fourth, streamline the legal immigration system for families, workers, and employers.

In response to the President’s remarks, a number of faith organizations across the nation issued statements applauding the President for his moral leadership in affirming our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.  Here are a few of those statements:

Anti-Defamation League

“The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today applauded President Obama’s vision for comprehensive immigration reform and welcomed his remarks on not allowing this issue to be “bogged down in an endless debate.”

Muslim Public Affairs Council

“This is an issue that affects all Americans, and as such, MPAC will be working to ensure that policies written toward reform include just and fair opportunities for all. It is our moral obligation as American Muslims to make sure that fixing our broken immigration system is based on an ethical foundation.”

National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

“I was present as President Obama laid out a comprehensive solution to America's immigration crisis. His presentation serves as a reconciliatory prescription to a nation torn apart by this debate. I commend him for his courage and call upon all the followers of Christ to pray for our president and Congress as together we marry conviction with compassion.”

National Council of Jewish Women

“President Obama’s proposals move us further toward the kinds of changes we need. In his speech, the President underscored the importance of shielding all workers in the US from corrupt employment practices by bringing them out of the existing ‘shadow economy,’ and advancing the prospects of young people brought to this country illegally in childhood. His plan would facilitate family reunification, including same-sex families on an equal basis — a welcome and much-needed reform. In addition, it would provide for visas and other protections for immigrant women who are victims of domestic violence. Most importantly, the President’s plan creates a path to citizenship.”

Sojourners

“With bipartisan principles from the Senate and the White House showing leadership, a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million aspiring citizens now seems more and more likely to be the greatest accomplishment of the 113th Congress and the second term of the Obama Administration. This is the right thing for our economy, for our national security and for our country’s future. But above all, it is the morally right thing to do.”

National Association of Evangelicals

“Evangelical leaders are calling on every Christian in America to listen to the biblical testimony on immigration,” said Galen Carey, Vice President of Government Relations for the National Association of Evangelicals. “Immigrants are part of our congregations and our communities. Immigrants are not them, immigrants are us.”

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

“LIRS and Lutherans all across this country will be lifting up our voices and engaging lawmakers from both parties to answer the president’s call for fair and compassionate immigration reform that is both business and family friendly.”

“We look forward to standing with President Obama this year as he signs a fair and just immigration reform bill into law—one that provides a roadmap to citizenship, ensures enforcement measures are humane and just, protects families from separation, promotes integration of vulnerable migrants, and protects U.S. and migrant workers.”

For more information:

Paul Monteiro is an Associate Director in the Office of Public Engagement
Related Topics: Faith Based, Immigration
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