Five leaders from the religious community offered testimony to the Senate Immigration Subcommittee and provided unanimous support for amnesty. Leith Anderson, President of the National Association of Evangelicals representing 40 denominations, offered their unanimous support behind Subcommittee Chair Chuck Schumer and the amnesty position.
In his statement to the Subcommittee, Anderson said a large number of Evengelical denominations are growing through immigration. In some cases, 50 percent of the growth is due to immigration.
Anderson said the National Association for Evangelicals is for strong borders, not open ones. Anderson's statement appeared to put family unification ahead of jobless Americans, saying that immigration has an overall positive impact on the economy.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have been long-time supporters of amnesty, and Cardinal McCarrick from the Diocese of Washington D.C. reiterated that position in his statement. Cardinal McCarrick said that immigration reform should include family reunification and an orderly guest worker program.
President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Reverend Samuel Rodriguez also offered his organization's support for amnesty, family reunification and a market-driven guest worker program. In a more emotion-filled testimony, Rev. Rodriguez spoke out against xenophobia and said that our current immigration policy "tarnishes the American soul."
James Tolle, Senior Pastor from The Church on the Way, directed some of the attention on the children of illegal aliens, saying that these children don't have the same opportunities others have after graduating from high school.
Subcommittee Chair Schumer (D-N.Y.) again expressed his support for amnesty during his opening statement, saying that immigration reform should end the flow of illegal aliens.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he's eager to work with Sen. Schumer to create legislation that "is a practical and compassionate solution."
Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) was also at the hearing, but Sen. Sessions was cutoff by Sen. Schumer during the Q&A segment of the hearing because a vote had come up on the Senate floor. Unlike Senators Schumer and Cornyn, Sen. Sessions was unable to ask the panelists any questions.
His Eminence Theodore E. McCarrick
Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus - Diocese of Washington
The Reverend Samuel Rodriguez
President - National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
The Church on the Way - Van Nuys, CA
Institute for Global Engagement - Center on Faith and International Affairs
Senior Pastor - Wooddale Church
Updated: Fri, Oct 9th 2009 @ 7:30am EDT