The United Church of Christ (UCC) has launched a fundraising appeal for $50,000 so it can mount a public response against Arizona's stringent immigration law.
The church plans to use the money for purchasing a full-page advertisement in the Arizona Republic on Saturday, May 29 – the same day when 500,000 protestors are expected to march in Phoenix.
"Across the church, we have heard eagerness that the United Church of Christ respond publicly in Arizona with a message that resonates both pastorally and prophetically to this unjust new law," the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, UCC general minister and president, told the church's news service. "At the same time, we need to prepare a long-term response strategy that prepares us for the multiple legislative battles over immigration that will take place in the coming months and years."
The headline of the UCC's ad, which will cost $22,000, will be "God's love knows no borders." Other funds raised in the appeal will be used to fund a "visible, long-term campaign" according to the group.
The UCC are among a large group of faithful proponents lobbying for comprehensive immigration reform this year.
According to Black, effective legislation on the issue "needs to come at the federal level and not be a piecemeal response from various states that would permit legalized racial profiling."
Protests against Arizona's immigration law continued this week with demonstrations in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Tucson, Arizona, where Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) has his offices.
Several clergy were arrested in the New York protest, including the Rev. Arnold I. Thomas, minister of education at the city's historic Riverside Church.
In the meantime, President Barack Obama is expected to place immigration reform high on the agenda during his visit with Mexican President Felipe Calderon beginning on Wednesday.
Earlier in the week, President Obama gave his latest criticism of the Arizona law, which he previously referred to as being "misguided."
"We all know what happens in Arizona when you don't have ID: Adios, amigos!" Obama said, much to the chagrin of Senator McCain, who called the president's remarks "outrageous."
But while Obama has been critical of the Arizona law, he has also been wary of tackling immigration reform before November's elections, saying that political tensions have made the issue an "uphill battle."
Other topics planned for Obama's talks with Calderon include drug trafficking, climate change, and the economy.