‘Pennsylvania Needs Immigration Reform’ — ELCA Pastor Linda Orsen Theophilus Writes at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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Pittsburgh Post-GazetteI’m happy to begin this week with yet another strong leader who’s speaking up for fair, compassionate immigration reform.  Linda Orsen Theophilus, Pastor of the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh’s Eastmont neighborhood of Wilkins and Penn Hills, has written a powerful op-ed that appears in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Pastor Theophilus, who  chairs the Immigration Taskforce for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, begins her October 20 piece “Pennsylvania Needs Immigration Reform” as follows:

Families want to be together. We understand this in Western Pennsylvania. This powerful desire brought our immigrant grandparents and great-grandparents to the towns and neighborhoods that we still consider the family home. It keeps extended families living near each other and draws far-flung family members back for holidays and, sometimes, to return to live here again.

This respect for family unity runs deep, and it’s one of the key reasons I’m adding my voice to those of other Pennsylvanians calling on the House of Representatives to pass comprehensive immigration reform. We need more family visas so that family members can be together and stay together. We need a revamped system that doesn’t tear immigrant families apart through overreliance on detention and deportations, which are happening in record high numbers.

If I’ve learned one thing from my ministry here in southwestern Pennsylvania, it’s that the commitment to care for and keep one’s family together is good and natural. That’s what motivates most immigrants today, just as it drove our ancestors and still drives our own families. Immigrants and native-born, we want the same things: a strong family and better lives for our children.

After tracing the immigrant history and strong values of Pennsylvania’s families, she wraps up with this call to action:

The bottom line is, we need immigration policies that respect the values and economic needs that exist here in Pennsylvania. Achieving that will mean putting aside partisan squabbles, reaching across the aisle and doing what’s right for families, this state, and our country.

With enough encouragement, our representatives in the House will act with wisdom on this issue. Please join me in urging them to pass a fair, comprehensive immigration reform bill right away.

Please read the entire op-ed by clicking the link above, and show your support by Liking it on Facebook and through other social media. Please also consider leaving a positive comment, and sending the link to your friends, colleagues, and family members. Using social media is key to getting the word out on the urgent need for immigration reform.

I know that Members of Congress and their staff watch op-eds in their local papers very carefully. For that reason, I’m grateful to Pastor Theophilus for taking the time to write this important piece. I’m also thankful to the editors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette  for raising awareness of the urgent need for fair immigration reform.

After reading Pastor Theophilus’s words, if you 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.

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