Photo: Call for Immigration Reform
When members of the new Congress arrived on Capitol Hill yesterday (Jan. 22) they were greeted by calls from some 1,000 faith leaders, all asking the same question: “What are you doing to help enact immigration reform this year?”
The query was the centerpiece of a National Faith Call-In Day for Humane Immigration Reform, organized by the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, in which more than a thousand faith leaders from diverse traditions made phone calls to their senators urging them to pass immigration reform in 2013 that prioritizes family unity and provides a pathway to full citizenship for the approximately 11 million undocumented people living in the United States.
Coming immediately after President Obama’s historic second inauguration, the call-in day demonstrated religious congregations’ vigorous mobilization on the issue of citizenship for immigrants.
The Rev. John McCullough, president and CEO of Church World Service, a member of the coalition, put the action in perspective, saying, “How could we not, when members of our congregations are afraid to report crimes for fear of deportation; when our neighbors have been separated from their families for years due to lengthy visa backlogs; when entire communities are cast aside and labeled ‘illegal’ in contradiction to their God-given worth?”
Immediately following last November’s presidential election Erol Kekic, director of the CWS Immigration and Refugee Program, called immigration reform “an issue of urgent moral and economic importance to our nation” and said the election results showed that “Americans want our broken immigration system to be fixed – and promptly.”
Yesterday’s advocacy was yet another nudge to the White House and Congress in the ongoing attempt by CWS, the faith community and other immigration advocates to make immigration reform not just a priority but a reality in the United States.