THE BLOG
02/19/2014 05:45 pm ET Updated Apr 21, 2014

Lament and Sadness Over Stalled Immigration Reform

Our nation has no shortage of venues in which to witness the urgency for immigration reform. However, I would submit that the need is no more palpable than in the pews of Hispanic evangelical churches.

A fortnight ago, House Republican leaders issued standards for immigration reform that seemed to offer a strong foundation for the wide-ranging reform we need, adhering to moral principles and American values. But then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, leaders put the brakes on moving ahead toward legislation this year.

The comments by House Speaker John Boehner have sent shockwaves through the Hispanic evangelical community -- especially after the announcement of the standards at the House GOP retreat. The tone in the churches and pews is lament and sadness that political expediency has trumped moral urgency.

So too are evangelical leaders all over the country -- Hispanic and non-Hispanic, megachurch pastors and denominational executives -- stunned and saddened by the possibility that the House will not move on immigration reform in 2014.

It is not a good year to proceed with immigration reform because of political calculations, we hear some of our leaders saying -- and we are shocked. Pastors from Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Oklahoma and beyond, many of whom are dyed-in-the-wool conservatives, are asking: Have our prayers and pleas fallen by the wayside? It is a question we would direct to our political leaders in Congress, but we are not sure they're still listening.

Latino evangelicals are historically socially conservative voters who often uphold family values as a major concern. We have prayed, fasted and advocated for reform for well over a decade. The notion that it is not a "good time" politically does not make sense to us, nor does the idea that the problem is distrust for the Obama administration -- which has the highest successful enforcement rate in 20 years.

On one hand, House leaders seem to recognize that they need to take action. But they also are choosing to put politics first.

To put it simply, we need the House of Representatives to get to yes on immigration reform -- this year, not at a politically convenient time that may forever lie just beyond the horizon.