Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Press Items
Lisa Sharon Harper, Director of Mobilizing, Sojourners
"On Sunday, a story in USA Today revealed a leaked draft of immigration reform legislation being prepared by the White House. While pundits parsed it looking for controversy, the draft bill revealed nothing new about the president’s principles for immigration reform. This week also saw encouraging developments taking place on the ground. On Thursday, the Evangelical Immigration Table hosted a lively conference call with pastors, activists, and lay leaders from across the nation who have taken up the “I Was a Stranger Challenge.” Churches, Christian colleges, and networks across the country are committing to read 40 scriptures about immigration over 40 days. On Feb. 20, the Dallas Morning News published a front-page article about how conservatives are now rallying for just immigration reform. Despite the latest reports about his own plans, the president is urging Congress to take leadership on this issue. The senate, led by the bipartisan “Gang of 8,” should follow its original goal of drafting legislation by March and vote before the August recess. We must remember: every minute we waste, individuals and families are suffering. This is not about politics; it is about people."
This week’s House hearings on immigration reform revealed that the GOP is still divided about a roadmap to citizenship for the more than 11 million aspiring Americans. Such an approach is morally troubling, as it would set up a permanent underclass within the U.S., leaving millions of people and thousands of families vulnerable to the pain of deportation and separation. It also ignores the image of God within millions by permanently relegating them to low-wage jobs and generations of poverty. The GOP seems to be playing by an outdated playbook. According to a recent Politico report, the GOP’s own base is beginning to march in a different direction. A groundswell of support is emerging from the faith, law enforcement, and business communities for an earned path to citizenship. A recent statement by Christian Churches Together in the USA, the broadest coalition of Christian denominations in the U.S., explicitly calls for legislation that provides a roadmap to citizenship. The GOP should listen to their base and pick up the new playbook. Their recognition of the changed landscape would represent real progress in the push immigration reform.