NHCLC Commends Southern Baptist Convention’s Resolution to Advocate a Path to Legal Status for Undocumented Immigrants SACRAMENTO, Calif.–The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, approved a resolution backing a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants at its annual meeting in Phoenix, Ariz. last week. Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, (www.nhclc.org), also known as the Hispanic Evangelical Association, the nation’s largest Christian Hispanic organization, said, “We commend and applaud the Southern Baptist Convention’s bold stand in their resolution on immigration. Racism does not speak to the greatness of this nation or to the heart of Jesus.” “We call upon the Bible believing Church in America to rise up for righteousness and justice,” Rodriguez continued. “This time silence is not an option. The answer to the immigration crisis in America lies in the Word of God. The answer is to reconcile Leviticus 19 with Romans 13, compassion with the rule of law.” Dr. Jesse Miranda, President of The Miranda Center and CEO of the NHCLC, said, “Christianity, since its beginning has revolved around the context of the two Great Commandments, the love of God and the love of neighbor. I am pleased to read the Southern Baptist Convention’s statement on immigration. It is refreshing in as much as the church has of late been defined by what it is against rather than what it is for. I am glad that this church is expressing its prophetic role.” The resolution (www.sbc.net/resolutions/amResolution.asp?ID=1213) asks government officials to support “a just and compassionate path to legal status, with appropriate restitutionary measures, for those undocumented immigrants already living in our country.” The resolution is also clear that it is not to be construed as support for amnesty for any undocumented immigrant. Additionally, it calls on the government to make border security a priority and to hold businesses accountable for hiring. “Any form of nativism, mistreatment, or exploitation is inconsistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” the resolution says. “The answer is a Just Integration Strategy that stops all illegal immigration, prohibits amnesty, deports those engaged in nefarious activities while facilitating an integration and legalization process for self sustaining hard working individuals,” said Rodriguez. Rev. Rodriguez met two weeks ago with Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas and will be meeting with Republican Governors in order to offer the Just Integration Strategy as a practical solution to the immigration issue. Rodriguez presented the integration strategy in a meeting with President Obama one year ago. This year, the President incorporated Rev. Rodriguez’s verbiage in his recent presentations on immigration of which the Southern Baptist Convention’s vision, for a path toward legal status, mirrors what President Obama has offered as he’s urged support for immigration reform. The recent Alabama Immigration policy is the third in a series of state laws, signed by Governors, aimed at combating illegal immigration. H.B. 56, signed into law by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is already being hailed as the most controversial immigration law and the most restrictive law against illegal immigration in the country. Advocacy groups, including The American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, are promising to challenge the sweeping measure signed by Gov. Bentley, which is being called even more severe than Arizona’s SB1070 law which is still being challenged in court. Alabama’s Immigration law is set to take effect September 1, 2011. Samuel Rodriguez, concluded, “At the end of the day, immigrants will revitalize the American Church, reaffirm the values of faith, family and hard work while enriching the collective narrative of our American experience.” The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference is the Hispanic Evangelical Association unifying, serving, and representing the Hispanic Born Again Community via 34,200 member churches and 20 million constituents by reconciling the vertical and horizontal of the Christian message through the 7 Directives of Life, Family, Great Commission, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth.