The Washington Times - April 15, 2013, 10:53AM

A coalition of evangelical Christian leaders will descend on the nation’s capital on Wednesday to push for what they say is a balanced approach to immigration reform that secures the borders while offering a path to legal status or citizenship for qualified aliens.

The Evangelical Immigration Table said the gathering will be “unprecedented” and “show a unified evangelical voice echoing a biblical vision for immigration reform that respects the rule of law, reunites families and upholds human dignity.”

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The rally will begin with a press conference on Capitol Hill at 9:30 a.m. A worship service featuring church leaders from about half the states will follow at 11 a.m.

Church groups have played an increasing role in the debate over immigration reform. Legislation in the Senate obtained a big boost over the weekend from Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, who is considered a key voice in talks among the “Gang of Eight” lawmakers seeking to forge a comprehensive immigration deal.

Groups like the Evangelical Immigration Table are pointing to passages in Scripture that they say call for the acceptance of strangers.

“The heart of why evangelical Christians believe we should love, welcome, and seek justice for immigrants is our commitment to the authority of Scripture over every aspect of our lives,” the group says on its website. “The Bible speaks clearly and repeatedly to God’s concern for the immigrant, guiding the Christ-follower toward principles that we believe should inform both the interpersonal ways that we interact with our immigrant neighbors and the public policies that we support.”