National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America


Evangelical Leaders Urge Supreme Court to Strike Down Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant Law

April 23, 2012

Washington, D.C. — Evangelical leaders are speaking out against S.B. 1070, Arizona’s discriminatory immigration law, ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on the law on Wednesday. Statements from seven leaders follow:

Galen Carey, Vice President of Government Relations, National Association of Evangelicals (NAE): “The Supreme Court is hearing an immigration case this week because both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have failed to fix our broken immigration system. The people of Arizona, and every state, deserve a safe and functional legal immigration system, and a sensible plan for those who are already here. The place to work out such a plan is in the Congress and the White House, not in the courts, and certainly not in the 50 state legislatures.”

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC): “As the Supreme Court hears oral arguments regarding the constitutionality of Arizona’s immigration policy, we hope and pray that the justices on the nation’s highest court defend the principles embedded in our constitution and founding documents. Arizona’s immigration law discriminates, racially profiles and serves as fodder for those committed to segregation rather than reconciliation. Embedded in the question of states’ rights lies the greater query of individual civil rights; rights that require protection by our judicial branch. This decision will speak to whether our nation will move forward in protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness or digress into the abyss of intolerance, bigotry and racial profiling.”

The Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC): “Evangelicals are committed to laws that allow us to minister to and love the immigrant. S.B. 1070 not only fosters profiling but also stands in the way of our Christian duty. Silence is not an option!”

The Rev. Noel Castellanos, CEO of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA): “On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, which attacks our nation’s conscience and the Biblical call to welcome the stranger. We have seen the law’s terrible effects on our communities, and we believe that it is immoral and unjust. As Christian leaders, we urge our nation’s highest court to adhere to the wisdom of the Lord above all other powers when they make their decision.”

The Rev. Luis Cortés, Jr., President of Esperanza: “We know that the vast majority of Americans support the idea of fixing our broken immigration system at a national level. Arizona’s damaging law has led to racial profiling, leads to disastrous economic consequences, and allows Hispanic communities to be terrorized by its misuse. This law, along with the domino effect it has produced with many other states considering similar laws, is evidence that this problem is reaching a breaking point, and the time for a solution is now. It’s time for those who support fair and balanced federal immigration policies to stand up and let the Supreme Court know that as a nation, we do not want to empower individual states to treat immigrants in this manner. This decision will set the course of our nation’s trajectory for years and perhaps generations to come, and we must lift our voices to determine the course of our future as a united, rather than a fractured, American people.”

Mathew Staver, Dean of Liberty University Law School and an attorney who has argued before the Supreme Court on multiple occasions, added this legal perspective: “The Arizona law illustrates the broken immigration system. The federal government has failed to carry out its Constitutional duty to have an efficient, just, and workable immigration program. Arizona decided to act because the federal government would not, but Arizona went too far. The state law now crosses the line and usurps authority that only the federal government can exercise under the Constitution. Even worse, the Arizona law tramples on the constitutional rights of all citizens by subjecting them to unlawful searches, detentions, fines and even jail. Immigration is not a Mexican, Hispanic, or Arizona problem. It is a national problem, and we need Congress to put aside partisan politics and fix it now.”

Wendy Tarr, Director, CLUE Orange County: “Laws like S.B. 1070 encourage racial profiling and make our communities like police states. People should not be forced to carry papers as they go about their daily lives to prove their right to live in their homes. We need to halt this patchwork of immigration regulations at the state levels that are ineffective and shortsighted and get to the real task of passing comprehensive immigration reform that gives clear pathways for citizenship for those immigrants who are positive contributors to society.”

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