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Conservative Evangelicals Step Up for Immigration Reform

Photo: Conservative evangelical leader Ralph Reed is supporting immigration reform and urging other faith groups to do the same. Courtesy Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Photo: Conservative evangelical leader Ralph Reed is supporting immigration reform and urging other faith groups to do the same. Courtesy Faith and Freedom Coalition.


April 10, 2013

MIAMI - Conservative political activist Ralph Reed is joining the ranks of other evangelicals who are pushing for immigration reform in Florida and across the nation.

Reed and other religious and political leaders spoke out in support of reform on Tuesday in Miami with other religious and political leaders. Reed said his Christian faith supports a path to citizenship for immigrants.

"It speaks to our values as a society," Reed said. "So, if we are unwelcoming, and if we want to exclude people who want to come here, then that would reflect poorly on us."

Daniel Cox, research director for the Public Religion Research Institute, said the trend of evangelical leaders supporting immigration reform also could provide a boost to the Republican Party.

"One of the ways that they may be able to sort of blunt Democratic advantage with Hispanic voters would be to appeal to these Hispanic evangelicals," Cox said. "But I think passing some form of immigration reform is going to be important to that outreach."

The Washington-based Public Religion Research Institute conducted The report is online at a recent poll that found a majority of people from both major parties support a path to citizenship for immigrants, provided they take the required legal steps.

For evangelicals, said Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, the basis for supporting immigration reform is a belief in faith and family.

"We support immigration reform that is pro-family," he said. "First of all, reunites families; second of all, honors work. It's also a moral issue."

According to published reports, a group of 300 evangelical leaders will be in Washington next week to lobby Congress for issues important to them - including immigration. Leaders of the U.S. Senate are working to produce a bipartisan reform bill, and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has met with evangelical leaders on the topic.

The report is online at publicreligion.org.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - FL