With the work for immigration reform at a critical stage, I’m excited to share a powerful op-ed by Nancy Homans that appeared today in Metro Lutheran.
Nancy Homans is a member of Trinity Lutheran Congregation, a congregation founded by Scandinavian immigrants in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. Having welcomed, over the years, new Americans from Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America, Cedar-Riverside is now home to one of the largest Somali communities in the United States.
In her August 23 piece for Metro Lutheran, “The Benefits of Immigration Reform,” she writes:
When I look at the current heated debate over immigration reform, I can’t help but do it through the lens of my own experiences, and those of my congregation.
Many members of my congregation, Trinity Lutheran Church (ELCA) near Augsburg College in Minneapolis, have been warmly welcomed in other countries as missionaries, teachers, students, or visitors. Some, like me, are dismayed that their government is creating barriers to entry to immigrants and refugees, even in cases where current laws are intended to extend hospitality and unify families. People like me are also aware of our broken immigration system’s over-reliance on detention and record-high numbers of deportations.
I feel we can do better as a nation, and in the process honor America’s commitment to fairness and our faith’s value of preserving families.
In that light, we badly need the House of Representatives to pass an immigration reform bill this summer. An effective bill would establish a roadmap to earned lawful permanent residency and subsequent citizenship for undocumented immigrants and their families. It would put in place laws that are humanely enforced by limiting the use of immigration detention and broadening community support programs.
She concludes the piece with this call to action:
It’s important that reform go forward, because even for those whose entry to the United States is consistent with existing law, the immigration process is confusing, cumbersome, and fraught with obstacles and delay. For an example, I need look no further than a family of refugees Trinity Lutheran has helped to resettle. Their efforts to reunite with family members have been an uphill battle. I’d like to see things change, not just for them, but for everyone who could benefit from reform.
All this makes it crucially important that the House of Representatives act now to pass a fair and comprehensive immigration reform bill. Members of both parties will have to reach across the aisle to put national interests ahead of partisan quarrels, but the Senate has proved that can be done.
I pray that our elected officials will act with wisdom on this urgent issue, and I trust that they will, if enough of us call on them to do the right thing.
The entire op-ed can be read by clicking the link in the headline above. Please 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. It’s critical that we share op-eds of this type, and these are some of the most effective ways.
Having worked on the Hill, I know that op-eds have an important role in shaping the positions of our elected officials and their staff. I’m grateful for Nancy Homans’ leadership on immigration and refugee issues as embodied in this commentary, and for the incredible work of Trinity Lutheran Congregation. I’m also thankful for the great job Metro Lutheran does of keeping readers well-informed.
After reading this op-ed, 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.
Once again, thank you for all that you do to Stand for Welcome!