Fifteen religious leaders, including NAE President Leith Anderson, urged President Barack Obama and the 112th Congress to “reassert your authority” and move to enact immigration reform legislation. The national faith leaders expressed concern that, because of its inaction on this issue for several years, the federal government is implicitly transferring “unprecedented authority” to state and local governments to implement immigration policy.

Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We, the undersigned faith leaders, write to urge you to address the issue of immigration reform as soon as possible.

Because of inaction by the federal government on this issue for the past several years, state and local governments have been taking steps to fill the void. As a result, we are witnessing an unprecedented transfer of authority for immigration policy from the federal government to state and local governments, to the detriment of our nation and our local communities.

Instead of one federal immigration system applicable to all, we now have many states and an untold number of localities attempting to create their own immigration policies. This only will lead to a patchwork of laws which would cause family separation, economic disruption, and divided communities.

Any immigration reform measure should, at a minimum:

1. Reaffirm federal authority and responsibility to enact and implement the nation’s immigration laws;

2. Protect and recognize the central importance of family unity as the cornerstone of our immigration system;

3. Establish more functional legal mechanisms for the entry of immigrant workers;

4. Create a sound, equitable process toward citizenship for currently undocumented immigrants who desire to embrace the responsibilities and privileges of becoming a U.S. citizen; and

5. Ensure that our laws are enforced in ways that recognize the importance of due process of the law, the sanctity of the human person, the incomparable value of family, and the integrity of our borders.

As the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the case of Arizona v. United States, we urge you to reassert your authority and move to enact immigration reform legislation.


His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York
President, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

His Excellency José H. Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles
Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration

Leith Anderson
National Association of Evangelicals

The Rev. Geoffrey Black
United Church of Christ

Reverend Dr. David H. Benke
Atlantic District
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

Bishop Minerva Carcaño
Resident Bishop Phoenix Area of The United Methodist Church
Chair, United Methodist Task Force on Immigration

Reverend Luis Cortés, Jr.

Rabbi Steve Gutow,
President, Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Mark S. Hanson
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Rabbi Naom E. Marans
Interreligious and Intergroup Relations
American Jewish Committee

Reverend Gradye Parsons
The Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Reverend Sam Rodriguez
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Jim Wallis
President and Chief Executive Officer

Rev. Dr. Sharon E. Watkins
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)