The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
Dear Mr. President:
As Hispanic Evangelical leaders and pastors of churches around the country, we stand ready to do our part to realize the promise of change. In our communities, an essential part of that change means enacting just and humane immigration reform.
We are leaders serving a diverse spectrum of churches, but we are united in the belief that every human being is created in the image of God. We take seriously the Gospel’s call to treat the foreigner with respect and compassion. Acting on this call means raising a public voice for immigration reform as a moral and spiritual issue.
When our current approaches leave families afraid to send their children to school, go to the grocery store, talk to the police during an emergency, or even answer a knock at the door, regardless of the nature of their immigration status, we must speak up. A divided, polarized, and frightened community works in complete contrast to the message of Christ’s love and reconciliation we strive to communicate in our world.
Congress’s failure to pass immigration reform in 2007 has only exacerbated the problem, confusing enforcement procedures at the state and local level and contributing to a climate where hateful rhetoric dominates the national dialogue. It was exactly this climate that drove so many Hispanic voters to the polls in November. Our community turned out to vote in record numbers, largely motivated by the negative rhetoric of the immigration debates in 2006 and 2007. We are looking for a solution.
We were encouraged by your campaign promise to act on immigration reform in the first year of your administration and we commit to working with you to achieve this goal. We urge an end to raids that divide and terrorize families and support a comprehensive reform that would prioritize family unity so husbands, wives, parents and children won’t be forced to wait years to reunite with their loved ones. We must effectively enforce our borders and restore the rule of law in this country, but we must also look with compassion upon the immigrants who are here.
We pray that your administration will work with Congress to take action on comprehensive immigration reform by Thanksgiving of 2009. As Americans we must not forget our history and values as a welcoming nation. It’s time for our country to come together so that all members of our society can share in the responsibility and the promise of making America the best it can be.