Evangelical coalition sees opportunity for immigration reform

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 13 2012 8:00 p.m. MST

"Hispanic evangelicals make up 10 percent of the electorate and in the coming years that number will grow," said Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition. “This election season split our country, but today we come together in an unprecedented show of unity within the evangelical community — black, white, Hispanic and Asian."

The Evangelical Immigration Table first unveiled its immigration reform plan to Congress in June and urged them to address the issue the during the election year. The table represents about 150 evangelical organizations across the country that includes thousands of churches and millions of Protestant churchgoers.

The Roman Catholic Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have also signed on and supported local efforts for comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform.

State lawmakers, including Utah's Legislature, have also moved ahead during the past five years with their own immigration initiatives, some of which have been challenged in federal court for overstepping into federal jurisdiction.

Business, labor and local governments are also organizing to push for immigration reform.

These coalitions of strange bedfellows in faith, business and government should give the president and Congress the political will to reach a bipartisan solution to immigration, said Jeremy Robbins, director of the Partnership for a New American Economy, a bipartisan coalition of 500 mayors and business leaders making a case for immigration reform.

"The reality is there are a lot of extremely persuasive reasons for immigration reform, and different ones resonate with different groups," Robbins said. "The evangelical vote is a huge portion of the electorate, so (the letters from the Evangelical Immigration Table) should have huge influence" on the push for reform.

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