A group of pastors from the Upstate are in Washington, D.C., this week to take part in a three-day push for immigration reform that is bringing together more than 600 conservative leaders, according to a spokesman for the group.
The six pastors are part of a national organization called the Evangelical Immigration Table, which is joining with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other groups in urging Congress to move ahead with reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for those who came here illegally but have stayed out of trouble and are contributing to the economy and community, said Matthew Blanton, a church mobilizer and graduate of North Greenville University.
The local pastors plan to visit U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy today, after participating in a conference and prayer vigil Monday night, Blanton said.
The group uses the Bible as its basis for pushing for better treatment for immigrants, Blanton said.
“With the financial crisis behind us, it is clear America wants Congress to work together towards pragmatic, commonsense solutions. Immigration reform fits that bill,” he said.
“And considering the broad support across conservative circles, we want House leadership to move forward this year on legislation that will gain bipartisan support.”
Gowdy has pushed for reforming the immigration system but doesn’t support the comprehensive bill passed by the Senate last summer.
“Our immigration system is not serving the security or economic needs of this country, so we welcome the input of any groups willing to help in good faith to work on these challenges,” Gowdy told The Greenville News.
“However, successful legislative initiatives require trust among participating parties, and the ability of the House to work through such far-reaching issues with the president has suffered a serious setback.”
The Upstate pastors include Victor Prieto, a professor of Spanish and Linguistics at North Greenville University and Hispanic Ministries consultant with the Spartanburg County Baptist Network; Derrick Smith, pastor of Kaleidoscope Multiethnic Fellowship in Spartanburg; Ricky Eason, pastor of New Life Christian Fellowship in Spartanburg; Jason Lee, pastor of Oak Grove Baptist Church in Spartanburg; Gregorio Castillo, pastor of United Baptist Church in Spartanburg; and Daniel Moua, pastor at New Life Upstate in Spartanburg.