A 2-day conference on â€œimmigration and religionâ€ wrapped up at Yale Divinity School Friday.
The national conference centered on ways immigration is changing Americaâ€™s religious landscape. Lutheran, Presbyterian, Catholic and Evangelical church leaders held a roundtable discussion looking at how faith communities can provide better leadership in Americaâ€™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, everyoneâ€™s asking..what is the definition of an American? And itâ€™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 weâ€™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 Americaâ€™s complex immigration laws affect who can become pastors.