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Immigration reform advocates around the country are celebrating the historic turnout of Latino voters in this election. And, rightly so. These new voters are a huge part of the equation for winning immigrationreform. But, not the only part.Winning the battle ahead will take allies far beyond immigrants and their families. Enter: God.
No, really. The faith community is emerging as a powerful voice confronting the hateful rhetoric ofanti-immigrant demagogues and stepping up in other ways as well. I count three important steps in the past week alone:
Faith groups scored a victory yesterday with the unanimous approval of a bill in the Illinois State Legislature allowing clergy access to serve and minister to immigrants caught up in the state detention system. State Representative Daniel Burke stated, “The passage of this bill is a step forward towards compassion for the most needed and it will provide some relief for the spiritual needs of thousands of immigrants held in detention for days or months.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a new poll this week showing that 69 percent of Catholics support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Conference Director, Johnny Young celebrated the results: “Like other Americans, Catholics want a solution to the challenge of illegal immigration and support undocumented immigrants becoming full members of our communities and nation.”
Not to be outdone by their Catholic colleagues, the Protestants have announced efforts to raise the issue in their churches. Church World Service and the National Council of Churches USA, which represent 35 Protestant denominations, have passed a new resolution calling for humane immigration reform and an end to workplace raids. More importantly, to advance these principles, they’ve unveiled a new task force dedicated to educating and mobilizing their thousands of congregations to advocate for undocumented immigrants.
So, congratulations to all the faith groups that are joining togetherand calling for comprehensive immigration reform. With you, wewill be praying that the new administration and congressional leaders will follow your lead and fix our broken immigration system.