Evangelicals air radio commercials supporting immigration reform

Immigration reform advocates have been trying many different techniques as they attempt to get Congress to act on legislation addressing the issue. But now, one group that favors fixing the country’s immigration system is taking a novel approach: prayer.

A group of Evangelical churches will soon be airing radio commercial urging people to pray that House Speaker John Boehner will lead the charge to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill through Congress. News and Christian radio stations in many of the nation’s largest markets, including Washington, D.C., will soon be broadcasting the commercials, which will emphasize the moral necessity of fixing the nation’s broken immigration system.

Praying for reform
The Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition of nearly a dozen Christian organizations and churches, has already spent more than $1 million this year on ads promoting its message, according to the Washington Post. And this latest effort is another step in its attempt to push Congress to pass broad immigration legislation, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

“Our immigration system is broken and it is hurting everyone,” Dub Karriker, senior pastor at the Christian Assembly Church in Durham, N.C., says in the ads that are running in that state. “Families are separated, employers can’t find the workers they need, and the undocumented who want to get right with the law are told to get in a line that doesn’t exist.”

As with Pastor Karriker’s commercial in North Carolina, the nationwide spots all feature pastors from the markets where they will be airing.

Boehner takes the brunt of the criticism
House Speaker Boehner, who is specifically mentioned in all of the ads as being the focus of the prayer efforts, has been the target of most immigrants’ rights advocates throughout the reform debate. Evangelicals are one of the Republican Party’s biggest bases of support, so the hope is that this kind of effort from within the GOP establishment will be more persuasive than if it had come from other organizations.