Dr. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, listens to questions during a news conference of conservative evangelical leaders who support comprehensive immigration reform, in Washington on Wednesday, June 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Latino evangelical leader starts 40-day fast in the name of immigration

Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) — the nation’s largest Christian Hispanic organization representing more than 40,000 churches and 16 million Hispanic evangelicals — will begin a 40-day fast on Monday in the name of immigration.

“In the spirit of Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and other leaders who have acted on the moral imperative to do justice, as well as our ultimate example found in Jesus, I likewise sense an urgent conviction to engage in the spiritual exercise that in my faith narrative produces great results,” said Rodriguez in a statement. “Starting today, I will be engaging in a personal fast and call others to join me as we pray for the vital importance of immigration reform now.”

According to NHCLC, Rodriguez has committed to fast for 40 days — which will last through Thanksgiving — and is willing to extend it until immigration reform is passed.

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

For more than a year Rodriguez, and other evangelical leaders have been actively advocating for a comprehensive reform plan which includes increased border protection and a market-driven guest-worker program that provides clear avenues by which millions of undocumented families can obtain legal status. Rodriguez is stepping up the Evangelical “pray4reform” campaign to include “fast4reform.”

RELATED: “We transact in hope” – Protestant leaders step up immigration reform ad campaign

“The collective commitment to incorporate a pathway to citizenship as an integral part of any legislative solution secures a complete integration process,” Rodriguez told NBC Latino in a previous interview. “Both the President and faith leaders understand that citizenship must be earned, yet denying it will create a two-tier society attempting to live one dream: the American dream.”

RELATED: Evangelicals support path to citizenship

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