News / USA

US Evangelicals Call on Congress to Pass Immigration Reform

US Evangelicals Call on Congress to Pass Immigration Reformi
X
June 08, 2013 12:24 PM
A broad range of religious groups is calling on Congress to pass immigration reform - among them conservatives who in the past have opposed reform plans. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says evangelical Christians see it as an opportunity to expand their congregations.
A broad range of religious groups is calling on Congress to pass immigration reform - among them conservatives who in the past have opposed reform plans. Many evangelical Christians see it as an opportunity to expand their congregations.
 
Among the groups supportive of immigration reform are “Nuns on the Bus,” currently on a nation-wide tour. They drew a lot of attention last year campaigning against a Republican budget plan.
 
Sister Simone Campbell says now they want millions of undocumented immigrants in America to be allowed to stay.
 
“We must step back from fear. A democracy cannot work on fear. What we have to do is look with clear eyes at what our past is. Our past is beautiful because of immigration.”
 
Campbell says many of the people her Catholic sisters minister to are undocumented foreigners who work in America’s service sector.
 
“We also see every day the contribution that immigrants make to our society; how they work in the most menial tasks often.”

According to government estimates, some 11 million undocumented immigrants are thought to be living in the United States.
 
It could be argued that these progressive women are speaking to people who already agree with them.  But conservative evangelical leaders are preaching the same message. One group released an ad as part of a scripture-based campaign that argues immigration reform is a moral issue.

Reverend Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference says 30 to 40 percent of the congregants in Hispanic churches are undocumented.
 
“So deporting 11 million people may very well be deporting the Hispanic church, which in essence, at the end of the day, looking at the conversion rate, we may very well be deporting the future of American Christianity.”
 
Indeed, recent surveys show that fewer young Americans are joining religious organizations.
 
But Mark Tooley of the conservative Institute for Religion and Democracy says support for immigration reform won't win churches new Latino members.
 
"I'm a skeptic in terms of thinking that because some white Anglo-evangelicals speak out on behalf of a legalization process in favor of illegal immigrants, that therefore immigrants are going to be attracted to their churches."
 
Recent surveys have found that most evangelicals do favor reform, though they are less supportive than other Americans.

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid