Press Release - ETHICSDAILY.com
February 25, 2009
Latino Lawmakers to Visit Churches for Immigration Reform
By: Karin Hamilton
Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 10:44 pm
(RNS) Latino lawmakers and advocates are traveling to churches in 17 cities to collect stories from families who have been hurt by current immigration policies.
"We can no longer wait to take action that will help keep families in our communities together and ensure a safe and secure nation," said Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y., chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
The National Family Unity Campaign begins Friday (Feb. 27) in Providence, R.I. and will stretch coast-to-coast before concluding April 4 in Philadelphia.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., created the model for this campaign, which will also include the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC).
"We are going to focus on families and put this in a biblical, moral perspective," Gutierrez told the Associated Press.
The Rev. Miguel Rivera, president of CONLAMIC, was disappointed that President Obama didn't mention immigration issues in his speech before Congress on Tuesday (Feb. 24) and hopes campaigns such as this will put the issue in the forefront of the public arena.
CONLAMIC consists of 20,000 churches in 34 states. An estimated 30 percent of its church members and 17 percent of its pastors are undocumented, according to Rivera.
Many children in these churches endure fears that one day they might not have parents to go home to, Rivera said.
"It's a concern to the emotional stability of our churches," Rivera said. "Many children are not performing to their best opportunities because of their nervousness and trauma because they hear from their fellow students that some of their parents have been deported."