Press Contact: Jon Pattee
WASHINGTON, DC Jan. 28, 2013 — Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) applauds the framework for comprehensive immigration reform released today by a bipartisan group of senators, and awaits President Barack Obama’s speech tomorrow in Las Vegas with high hopes that he will keep urging lawmakers to move rapidly to pass fair and comprehensive immigration reform.
“The principles released today by the group of eight senators confirm that now is the time for Congress to pass immigration reform,” said LIRS President and CEO Linda Hartke.
“LIRS looks forward to working with Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress as they come together, for the well-being of our nation, to answer the president’s call to build an immigration system that works for America,” said Hartke. “The principles put forward today, if enacted into law, would provide a workable process for migrants to continue contributing to the United States.”
LIRS calls for comprehensive immigration reform that reflects American values by:
- Providing a roadmap to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and their families
- Ensuring humane and just immigration enforcement, specifically by reducing use of detention
- Safeguarding families from separation and ensuring sufficient visas for families seeking to reunite
- Promoting integration of those fleeing persecution and of other vulnerable migrants
- Protecting U.S. citizen and migrant workers
“The principles the senators have agreed upon represent a good starting place for Democrats and Republicans to come together to create a reformed immigration system that better serves families and the common good,” said Rev. Bart Day, Executive Director of National Mission of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and LIRS board member. “LIRS and our broad national network of social ministry organizations, congregations, and church leaders are committed to working with Congress and the president to ensure that immigration reform will be just and protect vulnerable migrants.”
“Today, we applaud the bipartisan approach to delivering the framework for compassionate immigration reform, including an emphasis on a roadmap to citizenship for undocumented migrants, the importance of family unity, and acknowledgement that oversight and safeguards are necessary components,” said Bishop Julian Gordy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Southeastern Synod. “For too long, our families and communities have felt the harmful consequences of federal inaction on immigration reform.”
“LIRS and Lutherans all over America look forward to helping advance the vision for immigration reform laid out in bipartisan principles today, and we wholeheartedly agree on the need for a roadmap to citizenship for undocumented migrants and an improvement of the immigration process for families,” said LIRS Director for Advocacy Brittney Nystrom. “We note that some of the enforcement measures outlined in the principles would also impact communities and families. LIRS will strive to advance a process that protects family unity, secures migrants’ rights, and treats everyone with dignity and fairness.”
LIRS is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating on behalf of refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations, and for providing services to migrants through over 60 grassroots legal and social service partners across the United States.