It does not seem possible that it has been three years since I was in Washington DC with a group of evangelical leaders to launch the Evangelical Immigration Table. Up until that time, CCDA leaders like me had a firsthand understanding of how our nation’s immigration laws were impacting our neighbors, church members and friends, but I wondered if our concern for a system-wide solution would make it out of our neighborhoods, and reach the hearts of key evangelical leaders, and ultimately, our elected officials?
The launch of the Evangelical Immigration Table was the moment when that happened. A national coalition was formed with leaders from a broad spectrum of evangelical institutions to work together toward immigration reform. Our desire was to call for a bipartisan solution to immigration that:
- Respects the God-given dignity of every person
- Protects the unity of the immediate family
- Respects the rule of law •Guarantees secure national borders
- Ensures fairness to taxpayers
- Establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents
When we launched, we had about 200 hundred leaders – mostly national with a few local pastors. As we have continued to spread the word and build our coalition, we now have the endorsement of more than 1,600 leaders. These leaders are heads of evangelical denominations, presidents of Christian colleges and seminaries, executives of prominent para-church ministries, and hundreds of local pastors and ministry leaders from all across the country.
Much of the ground work has been supported by CCDA leaders across our country in places like Miami, Florida; Omaha, Nebraska; Atlanta, Georgia; Los Angeles, California; St. Louis, Missouri; Denver, Colorado; New Orleans, Louisiana; Chicago, Illinois; Phoenix, Arizona; Kansas City, Kansas and many, many others. Thank YOU for the efforts and voice you have given to help communicate the need for change to our broken immigration system.
While we have seen so much progress in our communities as well as in Washington DC, our work is far from done. There are many ways to engage immigration advocacy. On this 3 year anniversary, I would like to invite you to join the Evangelical Immigration Table by becoming a signatory. (http://evangelicalimmigrationtable.com/sign-the-principles/)
If you are a signatory, we thank you and ask that you continue to do the great advocacy work representing your community well, but for those who have not, we ask that you take time to join myself, along with so many other evangelicals calling for a bi-partisan, legislative solution that will bring justice to immigrants and reform to an outdated and broken law.
Justice work is a long journey. I was reminded of this when I walked the 500 mile-long Camino de Santiago, but we in the CCDA familia know that even though our journey towards justice for our immigrant neighbors is long and often difficult, that together we can endure to the end.