From Pope Benedict to prominent Protestant pastors, clergy from a variety of faiths are raising their voices on behalf of immigrants and the need to fix the broken system. President Obama has consistently and forcefully called for a comprehensive solution to the immigration challenges we face. In an historic move demonstrating his Administration’s commitment to addressing the broken immigration system, the Department of Homeland Security announced a deferred action process for certain young people on June 15.
This move was universally praised by leaders in the faith community. From the Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles, José Gomez, who “welcomed the announcement by President Obama… and renewed [the Bishop’s] call for bipartisan efforts to enact comprehensive and humane reform to our nation’s broken immigration system,” to Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, who said we should “applaud the President for doing the right thing and encourage Congress to follow up by codifying it into law.”
Many faiths have a strong history of welcoming newcomers, a tradition that is embedded in the founding values of the United States. We define ourselves as a nation of immigrants – a place for people from all walks of life to come together to pursue common hopes, shared values, and the American Dream. From artists and business owners to faith and civic leaders: the stories of immigrants are woven into the fabric of American history.
Pope Benedict XVI recently stated, "The Catholic community in the United States continues, with great generosity, to welcome waves of new immigrants, to provide them with pastoral care and charitable assistance, and to support ways of regularizing their situation, especially with regard to the unification of families. A particular sign of this is the long-standing commitment of the American Bishops to immigration reform.”
Recently a broad cross section of Evangelical leaders endorsed a statement of principles on immigration that tracks closely with what President Obama has outlined in his comprehensive immigration reform blueprint. We welcome the vocal support of the National Association of Evangelicals, Southern Baptist Convention, Focus on the Family, National Latino Evangelical Coalition, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, World Relief, Sojourners and others. Shortly after their announcement, leaders from these groups met with senior Administration officials at the White House. The week before, the Interfaith Forum on Immigration also held a meeting with White House officials.
We appreciate the support by the Pope, his fellow Catholic Bishops in the United States, and their Protestant, Jewish and other faith colleagues. We will continue to work with a broad spectrum of faith leaders around the country and the entire growing coalition of leaders urging Congress to pass comprehensive legislative reform.
Cecilia Muñoz is Director of the Domestic Policy Council