Catholics & Evangelicals Call for Immigration Reform

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Joint Letter is Statement of Christian Conviction

 Leaders ask Minnesota Christians to urge their Congressional Representatives to pass just, compassionate immigration reform

Transform Minnesota and the Minnesota Catholic Conference released a joint statement today urging our state’s congressional representatives to work together to pass just and compassionate immigration reform.

More than 100 influential evangelical, Catholic and Lutheran leaders have signed the letter called “A Christian Call for Immigration Reform” (Download the letter here – or read below)

6 26 13 immigration presser - clergy panel - 1 x 1 carl speaking
Catholic priests and evangelical pastors join Transform Minnesota president, Carl Nelson at press conference announcing joint statement supporting immigration reform.

Across the United States evangelical denominations and influential leaders have worked tirelessly to support immigration reform, including the Southern Baptist Convention and Assemblies of God – two of the largest evangelical denominations in America – and the Evangelical Free Church of America, headquartered here in Minnesota, together with the National Association of Evangelicals representing 40 evangelical denominations.

Transform Minnesota has joined these evangelical denominations and many others in the Evangelical Immigration Table that outlines these same principles as the basis for immigration reform.

In December 2012 Transform Minnesota’ board of directors adopted a resolution supporting comprehensive immigration reform based upon Biblical principles that guide our treatment of immigrants and views about immigration policy. The joint statement released today reflects those principles.


If you would like to add your name to this letter, click here to sign. The letter has already been sent to each of Minnesota’s congressional leaders, but your name will be added to the online version as it is updated.



A Christian Call for Immigration Reform

June 26, 2013

We join our voices together as Christian leaders in Minnesota to urge our state’s congressional representatives to work together to pass just and compassionate immigration reform that provides a road map to citizenship for undocumented people of good moral character, creates a temporary worker program, promotes family reunification, ensures due process of law for all people, secures our borders, and strengthens our society.

The Bible speaks clearly and repeatedly of God’s concern for those who, for many reasons, have had to leave their homeland and settle elsewhere. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself was one such migrant, fleeing Palestine for the safety of Egypt. The scriptures guide the Christ-follower toward principles that should inform both the interpersonal ways that we interact with our immigrant neighbors and the public policies that we support.

Therefore, because of our commitment to following what God has revealed to us in Scripture, we are driven to address the needs of immigrants in our country. As leaders we commit to treating immigrants with love, respect, and mercy in our churches and organizations, while also urging our elected representatives to work towards a bipartisan solution on immigration that:

  1. Upholds the human dignity of all persons and work against any injustice that compromises the dignity of immigrants;
  2. Promotes the importance of family unity and gives priority to the reunification of families;
  3. Provides more functional legal mechanisms for temporary workers that protects both the immigrant workers and US Citizen workers;
  4. Establishes an equitable process towards earned legalization for foreign nationals of good moral character;
  5. Follows due process in the enforcement of immigration laws and does so with respect for human dignity and the rule of law.

To be sure, we recognize the sovereign right of nations to secure their borders and make decisions about the identity and number of immigrants allowed into their country. We also believe that our government has a duty to consider immigration’s impact on our domestic economy and national security.

As priests, pastors, and other religious leaders we have, however, experienced first-hand that our nation’s current immigration system fails to reflect our nation’s commitment to the values of human dignity, family unity, and respect for the rule of law that define us as Americans. A broken system needs to be fixed for reasons of justice for all.

Today there exists both the urgency and opportunity to pass comprehensive reform. This historic moment is even more compelling because of the way in which it can be a symbol of people coming together to achieve real solutions to difficult social problems. In this way, it can be model for future action that transcends partisanship and brings diverse communities together.

Click here to sign letter.

Signatures of Minnesota Clergy and Christian Leaders

Jason Adkins

Executive Director, Minnesota Catholic Conference

Oscar Aguilar

Permanent Deacon, Diocese of Maracay Venezuela

Sergio Amezcua

Pastor, Brooklyn Park Free Evangelical Church 

Jon Anderson

Bishop, Southwestern Minnesota Synod-ELCA

Anne Attea

Pastoral Associate, Church of Ascension, Minneapolis

Dennis Beach, OSB

Monk, St. John’s Abbey

Albert Botchway

Pastor, Bethany Baptist Church

Matt Brown

Think Eternity

Rev. Peg Chemberlin

Executive Director, Minnesota Council of Churches

Rev. Herman Colon Jr.

Senior Pastor, Iglesia Maranatha Minneapolis

Rev. Yolandita Colon

Executive Justice Pastor, Iglesia Maranatha Minneapolis

Tom Correll

Retired Missions Pastor

Dr. John Crosby

Senior Pastor, Christ Presbyterian of Edina

Rev. James Devorak

St John’s Catholic Church

Brian Doten

Pastor, Northwood Church, Maple Grove

Rev. Dennis R. Edwards

Senior Pastor, Sanctuary Covenant Church

Rev. Leo A. Endel

Executive Director, Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention

Rev. Richard J Ensrud

Senior Pastor, Brooklyn Park Church

Rev. Dr. Paul Erickson

Assistant to the Bishop, Saint Paul Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Rev. Chad Erlenborn

Lead Pastor, Maple Grove Covenant Church

Father Kevin Finnegan

Divine Mercy Catholic Church, Faribault

Rev. Joel Goff

Senior Pastor, Ridgewood Church, Minnetonka

Jose M Gonzalez Jr.

Pastor, Faith Temple

Dr. Steve Goold

Senior Pastor, New Hope Church

Andy Gray

Pastor, The Urban Refuge

Jeff Groen

Pastor, Evergreen Church-Bloomington

Rev. John Guttermann

Interface Coalition on Immigration

Rev. Dr. William Hamel

President, Evangelical Free Church of America

Rev. Brian P. Harris

Director of Adult Ministries, Trinity EFC, Lakeville

Pastor Jeff Heidkamp

Lead Pastor, Mercy Vineyard Church

Lucio Hernandez

St Joseph

Most Reverend Michael J. Hoeppner

Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Crookston

Rev. Jeff Horejsi

St Andrew, Sacred Heart

Erik Hyatt

Rev. Dr., New City of Nations Church

Fr. Thomas Joseph

St. Nicholas Catholic Church

Rev. Kevin Kenney

Pastor, Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church

Hollis Kim

Pastor, Good Shepard Covenant Church, Blaine

Jin S. Kim

Senior Pastor, Church of All Nations

Most Reverend John F. Kinney

Bishop of Catholic Diocese of St. Cloud

Father Anthony Kroll

Retired Priest, Diocese of St. Cloud

Br. David Paul Lange

College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University

Rev. David Landt

Lead Pastor, Mills Church

Douglas Lee Patterson

Pastor, Evergreen Church, New Hope

Most Reverend John M. LeVoir

Bishop of Catholic Diocese of New Ulm

Pastor Msgr. Eugene Lozinski

St. Mary

Kateri Mancini

Coordinator of Mission Education, Catholic Diocese of St Cloud

Jon Marsden

Lead Pastor, River Heights Vineyard Church

Craig McClun

Mission Network Director, ELCA ReachGlobal

Reverend Kevin M. McDonough

Sagrado Corazon/Incarnation

Peter A. Meier

Rev. Dr., MN South District, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

Father Thomas Merrill

Priest, Catholic Church of St. Mary

Father Eugene Michel, O.F.M

Pastor, Scared Heart Catholic Church

Father Gregory Miller, OSB

Sacramental Minster, Catholic Church of the Ascension

Superintendent Tom Mouw

North Central District, Evangelical Free Church of America

Carl Nelson

President, Transform Minnesota: the evangelical network

Elizabeth Neville

Director of Missions Office, Diocese of St Cloud

Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt

Archbishop of Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

Rev. James Olson

Senior Pastor, Bethel Christian Fellowship

Jeff O’Rouke

Pastor, Mosaic Christian Community Church of the Nazarene 

Rev. Donald Piche

St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church

Most Reverend Lee A. Piché

Auxiliary Bishop of Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Most Reverend John M. Quinn

Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Winona

Mark R Radeke

Pastor, River of Life Church-Cambridge

Samuel P Raia

Board Member, Transform Minnesota-The Evangelical Network

Reverend Daniel Rakotojoelinandrasana

Lutheran Congregations in Missions for Christ


Oswaldo Ramon Roche Gerdel

Igelsia Catolica, Saint Cloud

Bishop Peter Rogness

Saint Paul Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Rev. Terrance Rollerson

The Compass Covenant Church

Phonh Sinbondit

Pastor, New Life Christian Reformed Church

Most Reverend Paul D. Sirba

Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Duluth

Rev. Paul Slack

President of ISAIAH and Pastor of New Creation Church

Rev. David J Smith

Senior Pastor, Rose Hill Alliance Church

Father Leland Smith

Rev. Mike Smith

Senior Pastor, Redeeming Love Church

Roxanne Smith

Social Justice Director, St Joseph the Worker

Sam Snyder

Pastor, Bethel Christian Fellowship, Minneapolis

Mauro Souza

Pastor, Dayton Ave Presbyterian Church

Rev. James Spahn, O.P.

Pastor, Holy Rosary-Santo Rosario Catholic Church

Reverend Joseph A Steinbeisser

Church of St Philip of Litchfield

Joseph Cornelius Sutton

Pastor, Spirit of the Lord

Reverend Donald Tauscher

Monk, St John’s Abbey

Rev. Fr. Craig Timmerman

Catholic Church Diocese of New Ulm

Priest Frank S. Tomasiewicz

St Mary Catholic

Tin Tran

Pastor, Vietnamese Grace Church

Elaine Tymchak

Global Outreach Director, Berean Baptist Church

Harold Usgaard

Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Rev. Archie VanderHart

Pastor, Faith Christian Reformed Church

Father Anthony VanderLoop

Pastor, Catholic Church of St. Henry

Rev. Alberto Vargas

Baptist Church of Renovation

Reverend Steven J. Verhelst

Catholic Area Faith Community of Jesus Our Living Water

Rev. Anne E. Vining

Senior Pastor, First Covenant Church of Saint Paul

Christopher Walchuk

Deacon, St. Teresa Catholic Church

Dan Woodbury

Minnetonka Community Church

Lawrence Wohlrabe

Bishop, Northwestern Minnesota Synod-ELCA