REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AFTER MEETING WITH MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
TO DISCUSS IMMIGRATION
State Dining Room
3:17 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. We have just finished what I consider to be a very productive meeting on one of the most critical issues that I think this nation faces, and that is an immigration system that is broken and needs fixing.
We have members of Congress from both chambers, from parties, who have participated in the meeting and shared a range of ideas. I think the consensus is that despite our inability to get this passed over the last several years, the American people still want to see a solution in which we are tightening up our borders, or cracking down on employers who are using illegal workers in order to drive down wages -- and oftentimes mistreat those workers. And we need a effective way to recognize and legalize the status of undocumented workers who are here.
Official White House Photographer Samantha Appleton.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Buenos días.
AUDIENCE: Buenos días.
As things begin to heat up on the immigration debate in Congress, the role of the church will be significant. In response to an editorial in Christianity Today calling for suggested reforms and more input from Christians, I want to draw attention to the tone of current messaging on immigration and call the church to a more biblically shaped prophetic voice.
Photo from UMNS by Mike DuBose
Churches can do much in their communities to truly follow the gospel call to welcome the stranger. Here are some action steps and ideas for engaging your congregation on immigration:
Form a committee with fellow study group members or other people interested in immigrant issues from the biblical perspective.
The time has come for comprehensive immigration reform. After several failed attempts in past years, the president has promised it and the White House is showing a clear commitment to it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that it is one of his top three priorities for this year. Next week, the president will meet at the White House with congressional leadership on immigration reform. The debate on reform is moving and will only intensify.
In a stunning turnabout, some of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s firmest allies distanced themselves from his hard-line tactics when the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted to postpone accepting $1.6 million to aid his outlandish enforcement sweeps.
Demonstrating that the sheriff’s actions are wearing thin, the board responded to the requests of Valley Interfaith Project and others to hold off on accepting additional state funds for immigration enforcement that the Arizona legislature earmarked for the sheriff, despite huge budget cuts for education and human services.
With the current economic crisis gripping Arizona, it is obscene for the legislature to be redirecting dollars to the Sheriff’s Office for a highly questionable operation that is currently under federal investigation for civil rights violations while children and vulnerable populations are going without health care and teachers are losing their jobs. In scripture, we are repeatedly warned not to violate the rights of the widow, the orphan, and the alien.