Immigration Reform 2013: Lutheran Leaders’ Capitol Hill Visits Show Results in S.744; ELCA, LCMS Tell Their Stories

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LILS logo pageJust as Senate leaders introduced bipartisan legislation (S.744) containing so much of what LIRS has asked for, 40 Lutheran leaders from around the country completed visits on Capitol Hill.

I’m proud to say that I think it’s no coincidence. Those leaders spoke loud and clear for fair and humane immigration reform during the Lutheran Immigration Leadership Summit, and coupled with your calls, letters, and visits to our elected officials, we had an impact.

Thanks to the help of the synod and district offices around the country, the summit leaders’ message is reaching far beyond Capitol Hill. I wanted to thank the districts and synods below for boosting the critical work for immigration reform, and I encourage you to check out their newsletters. Each contains more information about the particular leader quoted:

Florida-Bahamas Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: “Refugees from around the world pass through our doors. We celebrate with them as they find jobs, provide for their families, and become citizens.” – Christopher Card, Lutheran Services Florida

Metro DC Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: “As a pastor, I’ve seen how our broken immigration system hurts families and prevents immigrants from sharing all their gifts without nation.” – Pastor Michael Wilker, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Washington, D.C.

Northeast Minnesota Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: “We want to encourage reform that includes a safe and dignified way to enter the United States, protection from separation of families, a legal status for the undocumented who are already in the country, and a path to citizenship.” – Bob and Darlene  Munneke, NE Minnesota Synod Immigration Taskforce

Lower Susquehanna Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: “Coming to the capital with other faith leaders today is my way of standing with the refugees who have enriched my life and the life of my church and community.” – Tracey Depasquale, Lutheran Advocacy Ministries, PA

New Jersey Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: “A strong emphasis on families and a viable path toward citizenship are vital in reclaiming the immigration dynamic that has energized this country’s life and history.” – Bishop Roy Riley

Central States Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: “As I have worked with new immigrants and refugees, I have discovered them to be aspiring citizens of this land, stimulating the economy, working hard to enjoy the freedoms we enjoy” – Bishop Gerald Mansholt

Atlantic District, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod: “Immigration has been part of the Church’s life for ages, Immigration reform that provides paths for citizenship is crucial to the welfare of our city and nation.” – Deaconess Raquel Rojas, Redeemer Lutheran Church, NYC

Southeastern Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: “My America has always been a country that has been inviting to immigration. It has been a melting pot of cultures and ideas that has enriched my “American Experience.” – Floyd Blair, President of Inspiritus

Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: “I have seen in my own family how much patience and hard work it can take a citizen to get a visa for his or her spouse.  We need more family visas.  No one should have to wait 20 years to bring a disabled brother or sister to live with them.  The system needs to work faster.” – Rev. Linda Theophilus,  Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh, PA

New England Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:  “As an active member of my community, and a staff member at LSS-NE, I have seen refugees from over 50 countries pass through our doors, local congregations, and my neighbors’ homes.” – Jozefina Lantz, Lutheran Social Services – New England

Pacific Southwest District, Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod: “From the early 1970’s when as a Lutheran Pastor in Alhambra, California we had the joy of welcoming refugees from Viet Nam to today, we in the Pacific Southwest District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod have continued to welcome immigrants from Asia, Africa and Latin America. We celebrate these families who live and work among us.” – President Larry Stoterau

Several more newsletters will be printing stories over the next week; I’ll add the links as we receive them.

Many thanks to all of these districts and synods, the summit leaders, and to you for helping us get out the word about immigration reform during this critical time.  It is only through the concerted efforts of people like you that we’ll be able to finally create an immigration system that allows New Americans to fully contribute to revitalizing our communities and congregations!

Please remember to keep raising your voice for reform through the LIRS Action Center, because the legislative struggle continues in the Senate and will also develop soon in the House of Representatives.

 

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