(Courtesy Evangelical Immigration Table)

Evangelical leaders call for immigration reform: “If one part of the body suffers, everybody suffers”

Pasqual Urrabazo, associate pastor of the International Church of Las Vegas, has lived in the city for 53 years. His family came from Mexico a few generations back, and he has seen a lot of changes in the area’s churches over the years.

“There are a lot of people that are not from here that need help,” said Urrabazo. “We see people gathering at churches and asking ‘How do we become legal?’ We started doing prayer meetings and our church started to grow.”

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As part of a conference call organized by the Evangelical Immigration Table, Urrabazo spoke to reporters about how deportations have affected families in his congregation, and the continuing efforts of the group to advocate for immigration reform as part of the  Pray for Reform campaign.

“If one part of the body suffers, everybody suffers,” he said.

Urrabazo added churches and religious groups do what they can to help. “We have an organization in Las Vegas that helps the kids get back with their parents — sometimes the kids end up with relatives here in Las Vegas.”

This coming Monday, his church is hosting a big event where church leadership, as well as an immigration officer, will answer any questions people might have about the current immigration policy.

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But ultimately, what is needed is immigration reform, he said. “If we could get the parents together with their kids, that would be a blessing.”

Evangelical leaders from the Evangelical Immigration Table announced they will gather at events across the country to pray for members of Congress as they consider immigration reform that reflects biblical values, including family unity and caring for our neighbors.

Noel Castellanos, CEO of the Christian Community Development Association — one of the principal organizations making up the Evangelical Immigration Table, which includes the top pastors of more than two dozen evangelical denominations, and at least 20 heads of Christian colleges and seminaries — says he sees immigration as one of the many struggles the nation is currently undergoing.

“We started the Evangelical Immigration Table over a year ago, and we are committed to seeing this happen whether it takes a year, or five years,” says Castellanos. “We have laid out principles that we believe are biblical…The moral authority is that this is something that God cares about and to tell legislatures to get the job done. We will stay engaged until [immigration reform] passes.”

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