Texas Faith: Should evangelicals push for immigration reform?

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Texas Faith: Should evangelicals push for immigration
reform?

The time for immigration reform is now and most Americans support
it. In a Gallup Poll released in June this year, 87% of Americans support
reform, so now it is the responsibility of our elected representatives to pass
it into law. Would they dare lose in the mid-term elections by opposing the will
of the people? No. This is their last hope to remain elected.

Texas Faith: How hard should evangelicals push for
immigration reform?
By Bill McKenzie / Editorial Columnistwmckenzie@dallasnews.com
10:55 am on July 23,
2013 | Permalink
 

Leaders of the Evangelical Immigration Table will meet on
Capitol Hill Wednesday to continue praying for and advocating for a broad
immigration reform. In other words, they want a package that goes beyond simply
securing the border.
This group has a long list of supporters. They represent
evangelicals from both conservative and liberal traditions. And they have a set
of principles that guide their work. You can read all of this at this
link:
This group also gathers regularly and continues to press for
reform. Their outreach includes meeting with legislators, reaching out to media
and generally lifting up Capitol Hill in prayer. They also are attracting press
because evangelicals were not as outspoken for change back in 2007, when the
last immigration debate took place. Here is an article from The Atlantic that
details their work.
But this debate is about to get into some brutal politicking.
The GOP-led House is clearly not interested in going as far as the
Democratic-led Senate in crafting a comprehensive plan. For example, most House
Republicans do not appear very eager to grant illegal immigrants a chance to
earn citizenship or some kind of legal status.
Yet evangelicals could be the trump card. The Atlantic piece
described the role of evangelicals this way, quoting Ali Noorani of the
pro-reform National Immigration Forum: “Pro-reform groups view these efforts as
essential. ‘I don’t think a House vote happens without evangelicals,’ Noorani
said. ‘The only reason it happens is because evangelicals are
engaged.’”
So, my question is this: How hard should evangelicals — or any
other religious groups in favor of immigration reform — push for
change?
This debate is not likely to move ahead in the House without a
great deal of arm-twisting. But is that the role for people of
faith?
MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism,
Dallas, and speaker on interfaith issues
The time for immigration reform is now and most Americans support it. In a Gallup Poll released in June this year, 87% of Americans support reform, so now it is the responsibility of our elected representatives to pass it into law. Would they dare lose in the mid-term elections by opposing the will of the people? No. This is their last hope to remain elected.

I am glad evangelicals are more practical now than ever before. A series of losses in electing their candidates has taught them a lesson in compromise, and I welcome their new avatar. They will be at best a catalyst in garnering support from other religious groups. But they will not be the springboard to reform, although attention is shining on them.

Evangelical influence is over-rated. In January 2012, a group of them met in Houston to prop up their presidential candidate, who did not go anywhere. They also thought Obama was done with when he supported same sex marriage. They even supported a presidential candidate who called for self-deportation, but failed again.

Indeed, evangelicals once were opposed to immigration reforms, writes Jenny Yang in Washington post, “In 2006, evangelicals were polled to be the most anti-immigrant among other religious groups surveyed.”

What brings change? Many things.

Among them is the Dream Act, which tilted the Hispanic vote towards Democrats. Their vote was a key determinant in winning the 2012 race. Predictions were made that Romney needed 51% of the Hispanic vote to have a chance to win. He only got 27% and did not make it. Even the Asian community, which is driven by immigration, gave a whopping 73% of their votes to Obama.

Church demographics are changing as well. While membership among the traditional evangelicals is declining, Hispanic membership is increasing. That signals evangelicals need to be a part of the change and not get sidelined.

The immigration issue is certainly breaking the monopoly of any particular group on public policy. Indeed, no single group will determine the outcome of immigration reform.

While appreciating evangelicals for their change of heart, as people of faith, we need to come together and beef up our support for the religious, civic and political organizations committed to reform. After all we are a nation of immigrants.

To read all other opinions at Dallas Morning News – http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/2013/07/texas-faith-how-hard-should-evangelicals-push-for-immigration-reform.html/

My Speech, ” We need immigration reform now”  at the Immigration rally in Down Town Dallas, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrjU0KULv-Y
. . . . .

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism,
politics
, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is
committed to building a Cohesive
America
and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of
the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for
others
and has done that throughout his life as an
activist. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media.
He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity
show
on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio
networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning
News
; fortnightly at Huffington
post;
and several other periodicals across the world.
His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through
many links.

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