Washington (CNN) - A group of conservative evangelical leaders broke with their political brethren Wednesday, coming to Washington to push the White House and congressional leaders to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path for undocumented immigrants to attain legal status.
Political conservatives have long balked at an immigration policy that includes what they term "amnesty" for illegal immigrants, but the evangelicals see the issue differently.
"A significant part of our churches and denominations are part of the immigrant community so we have a very close connection and a very great interest," Leith Anderson, president of the influential lobbying group National Evangelical Association, said Wednesday, " ... but our interest is really rooted in what the bible teaches how we treat people and how we treat particularly people who are aliens or strangers in the land."
Anderson's group last year authored a resolution in favor of reform using biblical immigrants Abraham, Joseph, Naomi, Mary and Jesus. Their examples, the group said, "reveal God's hand in the movement of people and are illustrations of faith and God in difficult circumstances."