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Despite Delay for Immigration Reform Advocates Must Continue Work
Patience is a virtue. And in our work, it is a necessity.
Following an August 20 meeting with more than 100 immigration advocates, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to immigration reform but also repeated his recent caution that no immigration legislation is likely to come before 2010.
Many of us had hoped for immigration reform sooner than later. However, we should not lose hope. President Obama’s decision to delay immigration reform until next spring is an opportunity for us and other immigration advocates to amplify our public education work and increase awareness about the need for an immigration system that is humane and responsive to the needs of our country. We must use this time wisely and effectively.
As Archbishop José Gomez noted during a recent interfaith meeting in San Antonio, TX:
“We cannot wait anymore. This is an issue of great importance to our country.”
Already, there is great work taking place.
There is the recent 142-mile pilgrimage in Tacoma, WA, during which individuals prayed for a ‘sane and humane’ system to deal with immigrants. Or, the Justice for Immigrants campaign that educates and empowers Catholics and other persons of faith to become activists for immigration reform. There’s the nationwide campaign Reform Immigration for America, as well as Busted Halo’s video diaries that provide intimate portrayals of the lives of immigrants in their own words. And, not to be forgotten is the tireless and endless work of hundreds of charitable immigration programs across the country to help immigrants integrate and reunite with their families every day.
Overall, determination and commitment to immigration reform are consistent and strong. We must continue our very important work so that when immigration reform DOES come, we are poised and ready.
Melissa Williams is the Public Affairs Officer for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
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