Faith Leaders Begin Nationwide Mobilization for Immigration Reform

A nationwide campaign to support "just, humane, comprehensive immigration reform" has been launched by an interfaith group of religious leaders.

Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish leaders were present for Wednesday's kickoff of the "Together, Not Torn: Families Can't Wait for Immigration Reform" campaign, which plans to deliver over a million pro-reform postcards to members of Congress over the next month and rally support through events in 100 cities nationwide.

"People of faith are calling for immigration reform because every day they witness the human consequences of the broken immigration system - families separated, workers exploited and communities in fear," said Jen Smyers of U.S.-based charity Church World Service (CWS).

"We pray that Congress will have the moral courage to enact humane immigration reform immediately, because our families and communities can no longer wait," she added.

Congressional representatives Mike Honda (D-Calif.) and Yvette Clark (D-NY) were also on hand to support the launch of the campaign, which is being sponsored by the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Justice for Immigrants Campaign, and We Were Strangers, Too: The Jewish Campaign for Immigration Reform.

"In the immigration debate, the faith community reminds us of the importance of living out the proverb 'I am my brother's keeper,'" Honda said. "We cannot stand aside and allow millions of families to continue to suffer injustice and hardship while living in the shadows due thanks to a broken family immigration system."

"Now is the time to remember the people behind the statistics and build broad coalitions to finally achieve comprehensive immigration reform."

Rabbi Abie Inger, founding director of the Interfaith Community Engagement at Xavier University in Cincinnati, shared the personal story of his Holocaust-refugee parents who could not gain entry to the U.S. following WWII, and said: "Let us commit today, that this tragedy of injustice in immigration will end; that families will no longer be separated; that fathers and mothers will not cower in darkness fearful of a raid; that men and women of every color in the world will have the opportunity to earn a wage openly, to pay their taxes, to study the English language, to go to school and to pursue citizenship in this great land."

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