Immigration Reform: hopes and frustrations

The Catholic Review Online reports on the hopes and concerns of those working for immigration reform. In the wake of postponement of a meeting with the President, reformers are becoming frustrated.

An enthusiastic clamor of supporters rallied for immigration reform at a June 4 town hall meeting, though a subtext of frustration arose around the postponement of a meeting with President Barack Obama.

Advocates from 31 states gathered at the Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill to build support for comprehensive immigration reform legislation. It was one part of events launching the Reform Immigration for America Campaign, a national effort bringing together grass-roots organizations, labor unions, business interests and faith-based communities to support a revamped immigration policy.

Proponents filled the seats, lined the walls and stood at the back of the church to hear personal testimonies from individuals and families on how the current policy is affecting their lives and why reform is not only necessary but urgent. Signs reading “Reforms Not Raids” were held up as supporters chanted “Yes we can” in five different languages.


… an unanticipated announcement that the White House had postponed a summit between the president and reform advocates because of scheduling conflicts generated some mixed feelings at the town hall meeting.

The Rev. Freddy Santiago, pastor of Fellowship Flock Church in Chicago, expressed frustration when he addressed the crowd.

“When the Lord calls from the cries of his people, it’s time to answer,” he said. “We hoped President Obama and leaders would set a timetable but yesterday the meeting was postponed from June 8 to June 17. His campaign urged that ‘the time is now’ but when the time comes there is a delay.”

His said frustration lay not just with the president but politicians who continuously break promises. He said hearing promises without mention of a timeline was not progress, and that he hoped Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., who he was introducing, would call Obama out on this.

Christianity Today asks:

How can churches best respond locally? While the Feds have control of our borders, Christians still have a powerful voice, by which we should call on political leaders to

1. substantially improve border security and require law enforcement to use humane enforcement methods;

2.provide better means for employers to check potential workers’ status without violating privacy, and better prevent illegal recruitment of migrant workers;

3. amend laws to end the backlog of immigration applications, provide viable pathways for otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants to resolve their residency status, and establish stronger family reunification programs; and

4. create regional pilot programs for guest workers and their families with enforceable, market-sensitive guidelines.

h/t to Faith in Public Life.

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