Arkansas pastor Wendell Griffen represented the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship on Wednesday at a press conference held on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol as part of the Evangelical Immigration Table Day of Prayer and Action for Immigration Reform.
For background on the Evangelical Immigration Table, read here.
Griffen, pastor of New Millennium Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark., and a Circuit Court judge and former member of the Arkansas Court of Appeals, spoke alongside several evangelical leaders including Carlos Campo, president of Regent University, Andy Crouch, executive editor of Christianity Today, Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners, and Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
After the service, participants met with members of Congress to discuss immigration reform. More than 90 meetings were held with members of Congress including key decision-makers such as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Associated Baptist Press reported on the Day of Prayer and Action. Also, Jim Wallis reflected on the Day of Prayer and Action in a column at the Huffington Post titled “The Moral Urgency of Immigration Reform.” Check that out here.
Be sure to read the full remarks of Wendell Griffen below:
The immigrants who live among us as neighbors should be provided the opportunity to come out of the shadows and eventually earn citizenship. It is only right that our nation provide a fair and accessible opportunity for undocumented immigrants to attain legal status as well as eventual citizenship. We’re talking about accountability. If you pay a fine, pay taxes, pass a background check, study English, and pledge allegiance to our country, that’s accountability, not amnesty.
Border security should be addressed in a way that is fair and efficient. The best way to enhance border security is to pass legislation that deals with all parts of our currently broken system. That means continuing to strengthen security, creating a strong employment verification system, streamlining the legal immigration process, and providing an opportunity for aspiring Americans to earn citizenship.
Reform should ensure that families can stay together. Many immigrant families are torn apart by deportation and by long backlogs to reunification. As evangelical leaders, we grieve with and for them. That’s why we urge Congress to make sure that immigration reform correct this harmful aspect of our present broken system.
Reform should ensure that people from other places can immigrate to our country through new and orderly pathways that encourage legal immigration and support our economy. People who cherish the Bible, who wear badges symbolizing they protect and serve all persons, and those who own and operate businesses agree that this makes sense, is achievable, and is morally right!
Evangelical leaders and congregations have been engaged in conversations and prayer that Congress will work toward and reach consensus on these core principles. We want our members of Congress to go home in August with these core principles in mind. And when Congress returns to Washington in September, we want any legislative measures that are considered to include these core principles.