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National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference Expresses Disappointment Following Donald Trump's Immigration Speech in Arizona

National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference Expresses Disappointment Following Donald Trump's Immigration Speech in Arizona

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NHCLC President Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Calls for Continued Effort toward Comprehensive Immigration Reform

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), the world's largest Hispanic Christian organization, which serves as a representative voice for the more than 100 million Hispanic Evangelicals assembled in over 40,000 U.S. churches, today expressed his disappointment following Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump's immigration speech in Arizona.

"The NHCLC agrees with Donald Trump that the safety of the American people is a priority, but we are also very disappointed that his speech did not include practical solutions for the 11 million undocumented immigrations who call the United States their home –the people following our laws who are here to provide a better life for their families," said Rodriguez. "The NHCLC does not promote amnesty, but supports a comprehensive immigration plan that ensures secure borders as well as a pathway to legalization for those already living within the borders.

"Trump said that he would treat every person living and residing in this country with dignity, fairness, respect and with compassion, traits every individual – citizen or immigrant – deserves," Rodriguez said. "We believe this is not only a practical issue, but a spiritual one as we consider the sanctity of all lives from the womb to the tomb; this includes those living in our nation who are undocumented."

Rodriguez, who has personally met with Trump and advocated for him to "build a bridge, not a wall," as opined in a July editorial in TIME, spoke with the presidential nominee Monday morning regarding the issue of immigration.

"I appreciate Mr. Trump's open-mindedness to finding solutions. In my conversation with him this week, Mr. Trump was clearly open to criticism, and was not defensive," Rodriguez said. "Despite the disheartening policy Mr. Trump announced tonight, the NHCLC will continue to reach out to both candidates specifically on issues that are important to the Evangelical Latino Community, including life, family, religious liberty, education and immigration reform."

NHCLC is the largest Hispanic Christian organization representing millions of Evangelicals worldwide. Today, the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP) released results from a national online survey, which cited the NHCLC as one of the only credible conservative Hispanic organizations in the United States.

"We appreciate the vote of confidence by those surveyed by NiLP," Rodriguez said.

Seeking to reconcile evangelist Billy Graham's message of salvation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s march of prophetic activism, the NHCLC emphasizes "7 Directives" of Life, Family, Compassionate Evangelism, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth. For additional information, visit http://www.nhclc.org.