President Obama recently addressed the crying need for comprehensive immigration reform. He reminded us that we are a nation of immigrants. Yet, for many, the question remains, “Why are so many people willing to risk so much to cross the U.S. border?” The award-winning independent film Sin Nombre elects to show, rather than tell us. It is a poetic portrait of this highly politicized social justice issue.
For the past several weeks, Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Chicago has been conducting a national tour promoting immigration reform, primarily speaking at Latino evangelical churches around the country. On Saturday, the tour came home to a prayer forum at a local Chicago Catholic church attended by more than 2,000 people. One of the key speakers was Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Cardinal George used the occasion to call on the Obama administration to stop immigration raids and urged passage of comprehensive immigration reform. In his remarks, the cardinal
The AP recently published a fascinating look at the hard facts about immigrant detention centers. My firsthand experience at a local maximum security jail, which doubles as an immigrant detention center, affirmed what I read in the article: The system in place is costly and isn’t targeting hardened criminals. According to the AP’s data analysis of all detainees in custody, on Jan. 25, 58% did not have any criminal conviction. Among the 32,000 detained on any given day are people such as Sarjina Emy, a college-bound 20-year-old detained for nearly two years because her parents’ claim for asylum was denied when she was a child.
Action alerts make a difference. Our call for the Department of Justice to investigate Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has succeeded!
Yesterday, Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King sent a letter to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office announcing a Department of Justice investigation of alleged “discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures conducted by the MCSO,” among other alleged violations of federal law under the direction of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The formal investigation follows a request by Congressman John Conyers (head of the House Judiciary Committee) for the DOJ to respond to the myriad of complaints of racial profiling in Maricopa County.
A racial profiling expert called this the “first civil-rights investigation stemming from immigration enforcement” undertaken by the Department of Justice.
Washington, D.C., is sending mixed signals about how to enforce immigration law, and immigrants and their families are suffering the consequences.
On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security executed the first work-site immigration raid of the Obama administration. Twenty-eight workers, including three mothers, were chained and arrested in a manufacturing plant in Bellingham, Washington, as part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations. News reports now say DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano wasn’t aware of the raid until Wednesday and has now called for a full investigation in her department.
Jesus said in Matthew chapter 18, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” God is showing up in a powerful way amongst immigrants and non-immigrants alike all across the country, as thousands of people of faith gather to pray for the crisis of immigration in our nation. Over 100 vigils in 75 cities are taking place during “Prayer, Renewal and Action on Immigration Week” from February 13-22.
I am thankful that Cathleen Falsani’s blog post included the text of the prayer given by Bishop Eugene Robinson at the beginning of the Sunday “We Are One” concert. Even though friends and I arrived at the Lincoln Memorial and stood as close as the crowds and security would allow, we were no different than the millions who tuned in on HBO. We couldn’t hear it, either.