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Washington, D.C. – Today, Christian leaders representing a broad range of immigrant organizations, denominations, and congregations announced the creation of a new network. “We Stand Together” is calling on the next Congress and new president to address comprehensive immigration reform in the first 100 days of the new legislative calendar.
“The United States is on the verge of important decisions about who will lead and what direction we will take,” said Bishop Jose Garcia, director of church relations at Bread for the World. “We must not allow the rhetoric of division and distrust to distract us from the hard work of building community and speaking about God’s welcome for all people.”
The Christian leaders came from all parts of the U.S. to offer a vision for the future they believe is reflective of God’s grace and love for all people, including undocumented immigrants. They pledge to speak out whenever anti-immigrant rhetoric gains national attention and when local events merit a national response.
“This is a moment that calls on Christians to speak up on behalf of our sisters and brothers who have been forced to flee their countries because of violence and harsh economic conditions,” said Rev. Dr. Art Cribbs, executive director of Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity. “Just as Jesus was taken by his parents across borders for sanctuary, today families are seeking safety in the United States. We stand with them and call on Congress to enact policies that protect and provide for their care. And, as Christians, we urge churches to open their doors and receive immigrants into our communities, for that is required of us in these days.”
The group has released a statement of shared values which reads, in part: “Our call to action is firmly rooted in the Word of God and informed by our experience as immigrants. Our goal is the biblical vision of the beloved community. And as people of faith, we support immigration policies that prioritize human rights, dignity, compassion and justice.”
“Immigration is not only a Latino/a issue but also an Asian-American issue. One out of 6 Korean-Americans is undocumented,” said Rev. Nayoung Ha, organizing director with the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center in Chicago. “The number of undocumented Asian-Americans has been growing faster than the number of undocumented Mexicans since 2000. And this fact is hidden in the Asian-American community. I believe that it is time for us, Asian-American Christian leaders, to face this fact and speak out for our community members who are suffering because of their immigration status. Asian-American Christian leaders must demand immigration policy for a fear-free, sustainable life of our Asian-American immigrant families regardless of their immigration status.”
The group will add to their number with a nationwide invitation to Christians who also believe that immigrants should be welcomed and appreciated.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.
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