Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and one of the leaders of the Evangelical Immigration Table, has warned that if Republicans refuse to pass a bill on immigration reform and fail to expand President Obama's executive order protecting millions from deportation, they will likely suffer at the polls in the 2016 election.
"If immigration continues to stay in limbo because of what happened [Thursday] and is happening today, and the Republicans say 'we're not gonna act at all on immigration,' they are basically sacrificing their political future on the altar of political inaction and apathy," he told the Associated Press.
Rodriguez also stated that Republicans cannot expect the support of Latinos in 2016 if they don't support the executive order signed by Obama on Nov. 21, which grants immigrants legal protection from deportation, which will affect up to 5 million people.
"If the Republicans, who are now in charge of both Congress and the Senate, for political reasons, if they want to win the White House in 2016, they need the Latino vote. With 27 percent of the Latino vote Mitt Romney stayed out of the White House. That means Republicans need at least 30 to 35 percent of the Latino vote to occupy the White House," he explained.
Rodriguez also encouraged the Church to stand at the forefront on the issue of immigration and support President Obama, regardless of political differences.
"I do not line up with President Obama on a number of issues - as a Christian Evangelical committed to a biblical worldview. There are many issues and stances the president has taken that I respectfully wholeheartedly disagree with," Rodriguez asserted. "Nevertheless, on immigration, I do believe that President Obama does care for the immigrant. And he does care for a solution that is practical."
He added that Christians have made a "historic" step in leading immigration reform.
"Evangelicals have led the way in pushing immigration reform. We are no longer the tail, we are the head in advancing just immigration."
"I think it's amazing, because in historical context Evangelicals were not present when Martin Luther King Jr. advanced civil rights for the African-American community in the 1960s.
"Today, they have learned from their mistakes, and together as a church, as a community, as born-again Bible believing Christians, we are now present. And we're not just present, we are leading the charge in advancing a just immigration solution that reflects our Christian value system," he continued.
"So, I think it's historic. And yes, we may disagree on the executive action, but we all agree going forward that it's time for Congress to act. And that's our collective commitment, and I don't know of one of our leaders who is opposed to that," he said.
Another Christian minority leader has also voiced his support for immigration reform. Mark Arabo, global humanitarian and spokesperson for Chaldean Christians in Iraq, said that the President's executive order has given minorities "new hope" and is indicative of true reform, as the the current immigration system is "fundamentally broken."
"Everyone is aware that our immigration system is fundamentally broken. We should not bind ourselves to the misguided notion that we are a country defined by red tape, bureaucracy, and partisan politics," he said.
"We are a nation of hope, and of chance. The president reaffirmed this. This executive action has served to shine a light on the hidden pain of millions of families throughout the United States. Not just for Latinos, but for Chaldean Christians, and other minorities.
We are not talking about sparing criminals, we are talking about providing new hope to mothers, fathers, and children whose only crime was seeing the light that American has to offer. I am incredibly proud to see that our efforts have culminated in true reform. "