Black and Brown Pastors Unite in Call for Immigration Reform
A coalition of African-American and Hispanic pastors from across the United States announced support for immigration reform that transcends divisions and honors this country’s interests and values. The pastors plan to send a letter to President Obama and Congress urging immigration reform.
The pastors said that both Hispanic and African-American churches are united in their support and will continue the effort in lobbying for immigration reform. The coalition has called for a comprehensive immigration reform policy and greater border security and emphasizes the need for immigrants to learn English and pay taxes.
“We have to join forces and show a united front. We are going to mobilize people and our churches to seek immigration reform,” said Rev. Luis Cortes, Jr., president of Esperanza Group.
The pastors downplayed divisions related to concerns about the effect of immigration on jobs in the African-American community, indicating that immigration reform would lead to more equitable pay and prevent abuses by employers.
Andy Fisher, a spokesman for Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-IN), told the Washington Post that the senator thinks it is simply the wrong moment for reform. "There really is not the political landscape to proceed with it at this time," he said.
But the pastors believe that President Obama's address on the topic indicates that it remains a priority for the government despite the political environment surrounding the mid-term elections in November.
The pastors vowed to continue to seek support from other churches and explain to their communities why immigration reform should be a priority for the country.
Reverend Harvey Clemons of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Houston, TX, said, "We all want secure borders" and the rule of law, but "We don't want divided communities" due to the present system.
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