Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Over 20 local Pastors have sent a letter to Governor Janet Napolitano, Senate President Tim Bee, Speaker of the House Jim Weiers and the entire State Legislature requesting that the tone of the immigration debate be more compassionate and toned down.

According to the Sojourners website, the group, Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, “represents a coalition of Christian organizations, churches, and leaders, from across the theological and political spectrum, united in support of comprehensive immigration reform. Despite our differences on other issues, we are working together to revive comprehensive immigration reform as soon as possible, because we share a set of common moral and theological principles that compel us to love and care for the stranger among us.” 

The letter reads as follows:

As pastoral leaders in Arizona, we express to you our deep concern over the broken immigration system facing our state and our nation. Because of Congress’s failure to pass immigration reform last year, we have seen this debate spill over into our state and public servants have been forced to respond to community concerns over immigration.

Unfortunately, a number of local and state officials have responded by engaging in a public conversation that is dividing our community, confusing enforcement procedures and creating an unwelcoming spirit for many seeking to make Arizona their home. The debate continues to focus on broad fears and assumptions concerning the complex issue of immigration and is made even more complex by less tangible aspects such as racial differences, community identity, and unrealistic assumptions pertaining to the reach of current immigration laws.

As followers of Christ we find in scripture overarching values that guide and direct the way we form our communities and live within our society. Among the most important of Jesus’ teachings was: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Based on our belief in these commandments, we call upon our public servants to work constructively to address the challenges and complexities of immigration. We urge our elected officials to find new, creative ways to answer public concern with legislation that supports the moral fabric of our community, seeking to uphold the dignity and rights of all people while finding proactive solutions to local problems. In seeking such solutions, we willingly offer our time, energy, and ideas, so that the current discussion might move toward greater understanding and respect within our community.

We invite our local officials to work collaboratively with the community to embrace our state’s diversity, maintain an equitable rule of law, and provide tangible solutions to local issues so that our shared sense of community might be restored. We also urge our national representatives to re-engage the immigration reform debate in a civil and respectful manner. We must restore the rule of law in this country, but we must also look with compassion upon the immigrants who are here, working in our restaurants, fixing our homes and caring for our children. In Arizona, we recognize the critical need for a national solution that will unite broken families, invigorate our economy and effectively enforce our borders. We look forward to working together to find common ground on this critical issue.

The letter is signed by the following Pastors:

Rev. Kevin Anderson, Pastor, OnePlace Church; Phoenix
Ian Danley, Youth Pastor, Neighborhood Ministries; Phoenix
Kit Danley, President, Neighborhood Ministries; Phoenix
Dr. Darryl DelHousaye, President, Phoenix Seminary
Rev. Rick Efird, Lead Pastor, Desert Springs Bible Church; Phoenix
Orbi Gonzalez, Associate Regional Director for the Southwest, Young Life; Mesa
Rev. William E. Good, Interim Associate Pastor, Mountain View Presbyterian Church; Scottsdale
Rev. Jim Graham, Senior Pastor, Valley View Bible Church; Paradise Valley
Rev. Bill Hamilton, Minister; Phoenix, AZ
Rev. Arnold L. Jackson, Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer, Tanner Community Development Corporation; Phoenix
Dr. Tim Kimmel, President, Family Matters; Phoenix
Dr. Gary Kinnaman, Pastor at Large, Word of Grace Church; Mesa
Rev. Michael Ledner, Senior Pastor, Desert Streams Chapel; Scotsdale
Rev. Jorge Macias, Senior Pastor, Neighborhood Ministries; Phoenix
Rev. Sandy Mason, Senior Pastor, Desert View Bible Church; Phoenix
Rev. Gary Nelson, Senior Pastor, Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Scottsdale
Rev. Tom Parker, Director, Fuller Theological Seminary – Southwest Campus; Phoenix
Rev. Vermon Pierre, Lead Pastor, Roosevelt Community Church; Phoenix
Rev. Mark Roberts, Pastor, OnePlace Church; Phoenix
Rev. Dr. Benjamin N. Thomas, Sr., Senior Minister, Tanner Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church; Phoenix
Rev. William Thrall, Senior Pastor, Neighborhood Ministries; Phoenix

The Sojourners website also features a special Sermon Illustration Packet on Immigration and includes the brief statement:

An Urgent Need for Compassionate Immigration Reform

Immigration legislation may have died in Congress last June, but the issue is far from dead. The current U.S. immigration system is still broken. Families are still in jeopardy, workers are still being exploited, and the border is far from secure.  As Christian churches, organizations and leaders, we are more committed than ever to holding our politicians accountable to the values they profess: values of family integrity and economic progress.


  1. When churches behave as political advocates they should have their tax exempt status revoked, imo.

  2. Jim Jones says

    Where’s Pat Robertson and the religious right when you need them. Oh yeah, they’re tax exempt too.

  3. Buddy Breon says

    Thank God my preacher is not on this list.

  4. Buddy
    Which bit of ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ do you object to?
    Have you decided which commandments are important to follow?
    What is wrong in balance, thought and decency?

  5. Be careful what you ask for CW. The role of the “church” and religious leaders hold a rich heritage in our country. The method of involvement is the question, not whether they can or even should.

  6. Ann,
    I know what I wish for. This is exactly what many people find objectionable – including myself. Preaching to their own congregations is what religious leaders should do. Publicly preaching to elected officials rubs me the wrong way… severely.

    I have no problem with any of them sending individual letters – as constituents; but when a group letter is sent, I view it as crossing the line.

    It’s also pretty obnoxious to me that they make no distinction between legal and illegal immigrants.

    I’m also galled by this line: “we must also look with compassion upon the immigrants who are here, working in our restaurants, fixing our homes and caring for our children.”

    They need to speak for themselves – are THEY breaking the law?? If so, they need to fess up and be prosecuted, because there are NO illegal aliens fixing my home or taking care of my children, nor will I frequent any restaurant which hires illegal aliens.

  7. Iris Lynch says

    As for the’neighbor’ bit, what is the definition of neighbor? How many countries away?

    Additionally, Jesus Christ did in his ‘neighbors’ PDQ when he knocked over their ILLEGAL commerce in the Temple. I guess that ‘illegal’ trumped ‘neighbor’ in His view.

    So, the question is just how do these Pastors benefit from having lots of immigrants, legal and illegal, in their parish? And just where is their compassion for MY neighbors, who are American citizens, struggling with lower wages under higher costs BECAUSE of illegal aliens? immigrants?

  8. Buddy Breon says

    The problem with neighbors who are illegal immigrants is that they overpower our emergency rooms, schools, and jails/prisons. The total cost to Arizonans is around $3 billion.

    Now, tell me again about compassion – while my sick child waits at the emergency room for people who don’t even belong here get done. Tell me again about which commandmant justifies short-changing my child in school because of slow learning, non-English speaking, illegal immigrant children. Tell me again about decency while I nurse my wife back from the grief of her slain policeman brother, killed by a criminal from another country, who came here illegally.

    Yeah, I’m not much for holier-than-thou responses to a problem that does not need to have happened. There are legal ways to enter America. People do it every day. We welcome law-abiding immigrants with open arms and warm hearts.

    The illegal immigrants are making our life hell.

  9. Preacher's Kid says

    I know it’s old fashioned for some, but I was taught by my father and my minister that Jesus directed us to follow the law of the land. Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.

    When immigrants can take the word illegal off their name, they are then neighbors, not thieves who break in in the dead of night seeking to rob and pillage.

    It is time for someone to tell these frauds that they need to go back to the Bible and stop taking portions of the scripture out of context to justify their warped position.

  10. Preacher's Kid says

    PS: Sonoran Alliance, why are you giving so much space for their propaganda – and disinformation?

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