Obama asks prayers for immigration reform

Washington, Mar 8 (EFE).- President Barack Obama asked leaders of faith communities from around the country to say prayers so that Congress will pass comprehensive immigration reform this year, participants said after a closed-door meeting at the White House.

"We started off the meeting praying for the president and for immigrants, and when we were finished, he (Obama) asked us if there would be another prayer. We offered up another prayer seeking wisdom for both the president and members of Congress," Bishop Minerva CarcaƱo of the United Methodist Church told the press.

The Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose Gomez, described the meeting as "very pleasant" and said that Obama "first of all asked us to pray for reform to become a reality."

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently announced an additional outlay of $800,000 to mobilize Catholics to back immigration reform and to prepare Catholic institutions to provide services for immigrants.

The USCCB, through its national campaign against poverty, has invested $3.5 million over the past year to support grassroots organizations working for that reform.

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, recalled that pastors have been promoting reform from the pulpit as "a Christian duty."

Last month a coalition of Evangelical pastors launched a campaign urging their faithful to say prayers and spread the Biblical word about "welcoming the stranger among us," while keeping up the pressure on Congress.