Immigration reform is seeing a rejuvenated push. The question is, will it become a reality in 2014?
Here to keep you up-to-date on the debate and legislative progress every Monday is THE UPDATE, a weekly blog series whose panel of experts will analyze how recent events affect the prospects for real reform. The panelists will offer an insider’s view of what’s happening right now on Capitol Hill, bolstered by their decades of experience with immigration reform and the legislative process. Media representatives who wish to speak with one of the panelists, please click here. If you would like to read previous editions of THE UPDATE, please click here.
Given the most recent developments, are we getting any closer to immigration reform?
Lisa Sharon Harper, Director of Mobilizing, Sojourners:
Last week the #Fast4Families bus tour rolled into Washington, D.C. after traveling through 30 states and 96 congressional districts over six weeks. The efforts culminated in a vigil and celebration on the National Mall where the 5 core fasters joined 100 women who completed two days of fasting on the National Mall that morning. Together, they called Speaker Boehner and other House leaders to give America a vote on immigration reform.
I joined the bus tour as it entered its final week. In town after town we were embraced by citizens and immigrants, alike. And each night we held community vigils where the faithful offered up their stories for the edification of their beloved community. There were stories of exploitation, poverty, fear, and long-term separation from family, as well as stories of love, courage, and hope.
More than anything I was struck by how tired and yet determined people are. One woman, named Ingrid, wept as she told me her story. She came to America with her two sons from Bolivia. She speaks three languages and in her home country she was a teacher and executive assistant, but the pay there was so low she could barely support her children. Like so many others, she came to America to find a better life for her children. In America she can only be housekeeper because she is undocumented. I wept when she told me that. It occurred to me that we will only see Ingrid as a servant, but she has so much more potential—potential that is locked inside of her.
Between tears Ingrid confided in me: “They treat us like animals… but even animals have feelings.”
I could not hold back my tears.
There are many reasons America needs immigration reform: economic, law enforcement, and moral. During my week on the #Fast4Families bus tour, I was reminded of the urgent need for reform for one more reason: human dignity. Each day that goes by amazing men and women are having to hide in the shadows. Each day they hide, the image of God is being hidden among us.
It is time for immigration reform. It is time to reveal the fullness of the image of God within our midst.
THE UPDATE will appear every Monday until the dust settles on the legislative battle over comprehensive immigration reform. If you wish to raise your voice for fair reform, please visit our Action Center. You can also learn more about the issues by reading two interviews with someone personally impacted by America’s broken immigration system, Jessica Colotl. Also, don’t forget that you can subscribe to this blog by adding your email address to the box at the top left of this page.