The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar

Splash! Summer guide

HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Monday, March 18, 2013, 1:04 p.m.

Evangelicals support path to citizenship

WASHINGTON -- Evangelical leaders said Monday they will support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants as part of immigration legislation, the first time they've taken an affirmative stance on the contentious issue.
Jim Wallis, head of the Christian social justice group Sojourners, said it's part of a "sea change" in the evangelical community, driven in part by the increasing numbers of immigrants in congregations. He said evangelical leaders have concluded that "we don't believe there are second-class images of God, and therefore we don't believe in a second-class status for people who are willing to follow an earned path to citizenship."
Sojourners is part of a coalition of evangelical groups called the Evangelical Immigration Table that has been lobbying for an immigration overhaul to bring the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants into legal status. Before Monday the groups had stopped short of advocating for citizenship, but they told reporters on a conference call that they've now concluded it's appropriate as religious leaders to support citizenship as well.
It's a step that may go farther than some members of evangelical congregations support, particularly those who are more politically conservative, but the leaders insisted that once the issue is viewed from the perspective of the Bible's injunction to welcome strangers, there's surprising agreement.
Legalization short of citizenship "does not bestow upon the recipient the full measure of God's grace and redemption," said Robert Gittelson, head of Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
The announcement comes as a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Senate works to finish sweeping legislation by next month that would create a path to citizenship, as well as strengthen border security, install new measures to keep employers from hiring illegal immigrants, and improve legal immigration. The fate of the legislation is uncertain, especially in the GOP-led House, and the religious leaders said they would be lobbying lawmakers for passage.
It's all part of an increasingly prominent role evangelicals have been playing as the immigration debate moves forward. They met recently with President Barack Obama on the issue and last week announced they were running a radio ad on immigration in South Carolina, where Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a leader on the issue, is up for re-election.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

HeraldNet highlights

Bad behavior
Bad behavior: Start of crab season brings out the worst in some
Longer, farther
Longer, farther: Air New Zealand gets first stretched 787
From seed to store
From seed to store: Photo essay: Follow marijuana from the grower to the seller
Summer spirits
Summer spirits: Four refreshing drinks for hot days, suggested by local experts