Evangelicals join push for immigration reform

Some of the nation’s best-known evangelical pastors and religious figures launched a broad effort on Monday to support immigration reform and get Congress to pass legislation. The Evangelical Immigration Table, which includes members of World Relief, Bread for the World, Christian Community Development Association, National Association of Evangelicals, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and dozens of other churches and organizations, aims to get 100,000 churches on board with its “I Was a Stranger” prayer challenge.

The goal is to get churches to coordinate themselves in focusing on scripture as it relates to immigration issues and connecting with legislators to speak about how their faith informs their views of the immigration debate.

Though the groups began holding broader discussion two years ago, Monday will serve as the campaign’s first concerted push on immigration, with the goal of getting meaningful immigration reform through Congress in 2013. “I think we have a window of opportunity in these first months of 2013,” Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told CNN. “I think there is a real, new conversation on immigration reform.”

That window, Land acknowledges, is small and could close at any point. Congress has a number of issues to deal with in the coming year; Republican members of Congress hope to focus on government spending and the debt, while the White House is likely to push for gun control early in the president’s second term. Land, however, says that isn’t an excuse.

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