The newest allies in the fight for immigration reform are Christian conservatives, Politico.com reported on Feb. 6. The religious right has opposed immigration reform since 2006, but has sprung to action to push lawmakers to pass the newest immigration reform proposal.
Not only are Christian conservatives pushing for immigration reform in private meetings with lawmakers, they are supporting immigration reform publicly.
Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Ralph Reed told Politico.com, “I think it is night and day, particularly among social conservatives.”
The Faith and Freedom Coalition released a letter outlining broad goals for reform which include keeping families together, reforming the visa system and securing the border.
Matthew Staver, vice president of Liberty University, is on board as well. Focus on the Family, which for years has focused its attention on opposing abortion rights and gay marriage, is supporting immigration reform for the first time in its history. Focus on the Family is even using radio broadcasts to push the message to millions of listeners.
Several conservative Christian groups, including Bread of the World, Esperanza, Christian Community Development Association and the National Association of Evangelicals, have launched a 40-day “I was a stranger” campaign.” The “I was a stranger” campaign asks parishioners to read a bible verse dealing with immigrants each day.
Noel Castellanos of CCDA reports that the effort has drawn a half million people:
“We’ve moved beyond the religious leadership in our country on the evangelical side to begin influencing more of the pews. We need to inform them and expose them the way we did with our pastors.”
Sen. Marc Rubio, R-Fla., and other lawmakers have made a concerted effort to “woo” conservative leaders. Sen. Rubio is part of the bipartisan group of senators who recently announced that a major agreement has been reached on immigration reform.
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