Evangelicals hopeful after Obama immigration talk

Evangelical Christian leaders including a Southern Baptist have left a meeting with President Obama at the White House with their hopes raised as to the prospect of immigration reform taking place this year.

Barrett Duke, a Southern Baptist policy specialist, and a number of Hispanic evangelicals were amongst a total of 14 religious leaders who have met with President Obama and some of his senior staff on 8 March. They met to discuss the immigration efforts that are taking place and to try to fix an immigration system that is widely acknowledged to be broken.  The existing immigration system has resulted in the presence of 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

Duke says that he was very encouraged by what he heard at the meeting, noting that the President “spoke clearly about his desire to see us achieve passage of legislation this year”.

“While many details remain to be worked out, the big pieces are in place,” Duke, who is the vice president for public policy and research at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, notes.  “Secure borders, workplace enforcement, legal status for undocumented immigrants who qualify, and a citizenship process for those who desire to be US citizens are all within reach.”

Duke and other members of the brand new coalition of evangelical leaders, including Samuel Rodriguez and the National Latino Evangelical Coalition president Gabriel Salguero, all responded very positively to what Obama had to say.