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Yale Conferance Tackles Immigration and Religion
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Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Jr., President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference: Photo by Diane OrsonRev. Samuel Rodriguez, Jr., President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference: Photo by Diane OrsonA 2-day conference on “immigration and religion” wrapped up at Yale Divinity School Friday.

The national conference centered on ways immigration is changing America’s religious landscape. Lutheran, Presbyterian, Catholic and Evangelical church leaders held a roundtable discussion looking at how faith communities can provide better leadership in America’s current immigration debate. Reverend Samuel Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. He said immigrants have historically always been scapegoated, but today some US citizens are reacting to what he calls the Latinization of America.

"Univision, Telemundo, the music, the food, you know, everyone’s asking..what is the definition of an American? And it’s the sheer numbers now, 45 million strong. So many undocumented, 12 million, 15 million, 20 million in some projections, thats provoking the xenophobic and nativist uprising that we’re seeing. But the church should lead the way."

Julia Thorne, a lawyer and Manager of Immigration Issues for the Presbyterian Church said the issue affects not only congregants but clergy as well. Thorne told the audience that America’s complex immigration laws affect who can become pastors.