WASHINGTON, D.C. - As Congress works to reach a deal that will return the U.S. government to service, top national faith leaders joined Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D- Calif.) and Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) in calling for bold steps in the House to pass immigration reform that keeps families together and creates a path to citizenship.
Immediately following the press conference, top national leaders and faith advocates fanned out across Capitol Hill to meet with legislators. Top faith leaders met with Leader Nancy Pelosi, while Speaker John Boehner, Leader Eric Cantor and Representative Paul Ryan rejected meetings with the high-level religious leaders, the CWS President the agency’s Board of Directors.
While the meetings with some House leadership were rejected, the religious leaders, immigrant activists and others still went to the members’ offices to meet and pray in the hopes of finding a way forward on immigration reform.
In Boehner, Cantor and Ryan’s offices, the advocates met with Congressional staff and individuals shared testimonies of how immigration reform had impacted their families. The faith leaders then closed the meeting in prayer.
“House Leaders must listen to the calls of our moral and faith leaders to act in a bipartisan manner to fix our country’s broken immigration system,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee. “Ultimately we need a fair and humane system that reflects our values, keeps our country safe, and lets immigrants aspire to become Americans so our culture and economy prosper. It can be done if we are allowed to work together.”
“Today even in the midst of this shutdown, we bring our call for justice to Capitol Hill because the crisis of our families, our communities and congregations continues. Immigration reform simply cannot wait. The time for solutions is now,” said the Rev. John McCullough. “And when congress decides to end this shutdown our national leaders will need to prove that they can work together for the greater good of the nation and pass a just and humane immigration reform bill with a path to citizenship.”
Today’s actions on Capitol Hill came as part of Church World Service’s Global Summit on Immigration Reform in Washington D.C., which brought together nearly 300 faith leaders, immigrants and refugees from 39 states representing more than 18 faith traditions and 37 organizations.
The day’s action follows significant faith community participation in the National Day of Dignity and Respect October 5 at more than 130 marches and rallies across the country.
“We need to stand on the side of compassion, on the side of love, on the side of justice and demand that comprehensive immigration reform be passed. The American people want it changed and now is the time to do it.
Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, General Secretary, American Baptist Churches USA and President-Elect, National Council of Churches of Christ USA
“We pray for legislators whose intransigence is breaking the backs of the poor and the immigrant. Raise up within their ranks, those with an uncommon heart for the common good with a vision to see past the next election and moral courage that isn’t subservient to the next poll. Fill their hearts with compassion and give them belly full of courage.”
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