01/08/2014 05:21 pm ET Updated Mar 09, 2014

Hispanic Evangelicals Hopeful After Governor Christie Signs NJ Dream Act

Hope does not die easily. After attending a meeting with Governor Chris Christie on the Dream Act I am encouraged that bi-partisan immigration reform is possible. After the meeting and ceremony, Rev. Joshua Rodriguez, vice-president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) affirmed the decision, "This step provides a real sense of hope and opportunity for promising young people." In a state with a Republican governor and Democratic legislature real courage and leadership was needed from all sides. We, as Hispanic evangelicals, often seen as the quintessential swing voters, hope that sends a message to Washington.

In the last several years many of us have prayed, fasted, and mobilized for common-sense immigration reform. The Evangelical Immigration Table, US Chamber of Commerce, and countless leaders from across the political and religious spectrum have made the moral and economic case. We are hopeful that the example set by the chairman of the Republican Governor's Association sends a clear signal to the nation that immigration reform is possible. The close to 8 million Latino evangelicals stand overwhelmingly committed to supporting courageous efforts to see this through.

At the close of the ceremony Governor Christie expressed to the DREAMers some of our deepest sentiments, "You are an inspiration to us. You're an inspiration to us because in you we see all that the future of our country can be." As evangelical leaders we say to New Jersey, "We too are inspired. We are filled with hope that courageous leadership will move beyond partisanship to real solutions on immigration. Yesterday in New Jersey was a good step. We hope Washington is next."