Evangelicals urge immigration action
By MATTHEW FLEMING / REGISTER WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON – Evangelical leaders from Orange County and around the nation converged on the Capitol Wednesday as part of a greater effort to persuade House members to pass an overhaul of immigration law. The rally followed a morning of prayer and song and dance at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, two blocks from the Capitol.
The group had scheduled meetings with staff members of Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, and Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana, and dropped in on Rep. John Campbell, R-Irvine, whom the group had met with in April.
From left to right, Pastor Mike McClenahan of Solana Beach Presbyterian Church; Glen Peterson, regional director of World Relief in Garden Grove; and Rev. Fernando Tamara of Orange County First Assembly in Santa Ana, walk to meet with local members of Congress. Evangelical leaders from around the country rallied Wednesday at the Capitol to urge action on immigration reform.
MATTHEW FLEMING, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
“We feel pleased with the meetings,” said Wendy Tarr, director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice of Orange County. “Royce expressed gratitude for us being there. … The things we’ve been hearing from everyone’s offices are that they are hopeful that something is going to happen, and it’s going to be hard but they’re working on it. We talked with Darrell Issa’s staff, and we think that we have allies in California.”
Tarr was joined by Rev. Fernando Tamara of Orange County First Assembly of God in Santa Ana; Glen Peterson, regional director of World Relief in Garden Grove; Pastor Mike McClenahan of Solana Beach Presbyterian Church; and David Jamies, an intern at World Relief Southern California. The group pleaded that it was time for Congress to act, although they supported no specific legislation.
“There’s an urgency, a moral urgency,” said Tamara. “And we don’t have a lot of tools to alter your decisions, but we are here, we are immigrants, we are pastors, and we want to establish a relationship with you. We can work together.”
Wednesday’s event was sponsored by the Evangelical Immigration Table, an informal group of evangelical leaders advocating specific immigration principles. More than 300 leaders participated, from 27 states.
“There’s so much rhetoric that is divisive that keeps you from thinking about a commonsense solution,” said McClenahan. “Let’s just get something done. There’s no perfect solution, but doing something is better than doing nothing.”
During Congress’ recess from Aug. 5 to Sept. 9, the Southern California evangelical group plans to team with local law enforcement and business groups to attend town halls and organize events urging congressional action.
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