'Immigration Reform Will Benefit Montana' — Amy Aguirre of Angela's Piazza Writes at the Billings Gazette | LIRS
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‘Immigration Reform Will Benefit Montana’ — Amy Aguirre of Angela’s Piazza Writes at the Billings Gazette

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billings gazetteI know that August is a do-or die month for comprehensive immigration reform legislation. One of the best ways to win in the House of Representatives, where we urgently need to win, is to make our voices heard on newspaper editorial pages. Today, I’d like to share a great op-ed by Amy Aguirre, Assistant Director of Angela’s Piazza, a  women’s drop-in center in Billings, Montana.

In her August 14 piece for the Billings Gazette, “Immigration Reform Will Benefit Montana,” she writes:

The way America treats immigrants has affected my life in many ways and has led me to one clear conclusion: Our system is broken and must be changed. Humane, new immigration laws would be a blessing to Montana and our nation.

I know the system because my father’s family members were immigrants, and because my husband is an immigrant. In applying for my husband’s green card, we faced an ever-uphill battle with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. We confronted blatant discrimination, humiliating interviews and ridiculous costs. Knowing that at any time my husband could be taken away and my children could grow up without a father was terrifying.

However, my husband’s story is one of hope. He was granted his green card and today we are pursuing citizenship. So far, I know that we are part of the lucky few. My family’s experience with injustice, along with the knowledge that many other families are living through the same suffering today, is why I am taking a stand for fair, new laws and lending my voice to those who do not yet have one.

She concludes the piece with this powerful call to action:

Migrants are people, just like you and me. Migrants are parents, grandparents, students and children. The only difference between us is opportunity: We have it, they desire it. So why not share? Isn’t that what we’re taught at a young age? And isn’t it what faith teaches us?

Even if a person doesn’t subscribe to a specific religion, it’s the strongest moral foundation on which the majority of us are grounded. It’s time we remember that. I hope that our representatives can remember it, too, and reach across the aisle to pass fair and compassionate immigration reform.

Please click the link in the headline above to read the entire op-ed.  You can show your support by Liking and Sharing this piece via Facebook and other social media, and by sending the link to your friends, colleagues, and family members. We need to get the word out, and these are some of the most effective channels!

As someone with Hill experience, I know that such op-eds such as Amy Aguirre’s carry a lot of weight with congressional staff and the representatives themselves. I’m thankful, therefore, for her committed leadership on immigration and refugee issues, and I’m grateful to the Billings Gazette’s commitment to keeping their readers well-informed.

If you read this op-ed and feel inspired, now is the time to raise your own voice for fair and compassionate immigration reform via the LIRS Action Center. Also, please don’t forget to sign up to receive alerts from this blog, and check out our new Immigration Reform Mythbuster.

Once again, thank you for all that you do to Stand for Welcome!

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