Memorial Day — Widen the Circle of Freedom

Monday, May 28, 2012 — Week of Proper 3, Year Two

John Calvin, Theolotgian, 1564

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 969)

Psalms 25 (morning) // 9, 15 (evening)

Proverbs 10:1-12

1 Timothy 1:1-17

Matthew 12:22-32

[Go to for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

On Memorial Day there is something I can think of that would be an appropriate act of solidarity with those who have sacrificed for the protection of freedom and for the security of our families. It would be to go to the U.S. Citizenship and and Immigration Services website and offer a comment to support a proposed rule change that would allow families to stay together in this country while they petition for residency status for one of their loved ones.

Currently, if a U.S. citizen wants to petition for a parent or spouse or child to be allowed to waive the requirement for their family member who does not have legal status in this country to be able to apply for a hardship waiver, that immigrant has to leave their family in this country and risk a 3 to 10 year wait in their country of origin, hoping their application will be approved. These things usually take years.

Families are unwilling to let their bread-winner, or their child, go back to a country that they may have left a decade ago or more, on the chance that they will be given a wavier. What is the family to do in the meantime?

Maria is a local mother of three children — all citizens of the U.S. Maria was brought here by her husband when she was seventeen. They entered illegally in a harrowing walk through the desert. She’s been here seventeen years. She’s an upstanding neighbor and a regular parent volunteer in two local schools. She would like to apply for legal status. To do so, she would have to leave her three children — 16, 12, and 10 — in order to apply for residency. She’s now a single mother. She can’t do that.

But there is hope. There is a proposed policy change that could help good people like Maria. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is proposing a rule that would allow an application for a provisional waiver of the 3-to-10 year bar while remaining in the U.S. If Maria could show that her being barred for that time would pose an extreme hardship on a U.S. citizen, she could pursue legal status without having to abandon her family or taking them to a country they do not know.

For those of us who are pro-family, this is good news. But we need to speak up now to support the proposed rule change. USCIS is taking comments on the rule through the end of May. Go to to learn more. Or to submit your own comment, to go (note the widow only stays open for 20 minutes, so work quickly).

Hurry. You’ve only got through this Thursday. Help our laws keep families together rather than separating them. Submit your comment of support to give families like Maria a chance to stay together, a chance for a good life.

What a good thing to do on Memorial Day. Advocate for families who wish to pursue the American Dream — to live in freedom. Advance the values so many have given their lives for.

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” (inscription on the Statue of Liberty)

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