Momentum for immigration reform is growing, thanks to dedicated and passionate leaders around the country. We’ve had the opportunity to speak with some of the most knowledgeable advocates on the front lines. Today, I’m honored to bring you an interview with Ivone Guillen, Immigration Campaign Associate at Sojourners. LIRS Media Relations Specialist Clarissa Perkins carried out the following interview by email.
Clarissa Perkins (CP): What have you found most surprising about the immigration reform movement?
Ivone Guillen (IG): What I’ve found most surprising about the immigration reform movement is the ever-growing support for reform even from unlikely allies like traditionally political conservatives within the faith, business, and law enforcement community. Hearts and minds are changing and the issue of immigration stands in a different spotlight than it has in the past. The rising support from diverse sectors of our economies is a clear example of the urgency needed to solve this issue. It’s time for Congress to enact pragmatic solutions that are reflective of Americans values and beliefs and not driven by political ideology and fear.
CP: What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in the movement, and how did you overcome it?
IG: The biggest challenge I’ve faced in the movement is trying to stay motivated during a time where political stalemate is the driving force behind lots of the decisions made in Washington. I would say working within a faith-based organization has kept me grounded and hopeful for a positive outcome.
CP: If you could tell lawmakers in the House of Representatives one fact to motivate them to create fair and humane immigration legislation, what would it be?
IG: I would say that the reality is that the economic argument exists for immigration reform. Recent polls show that Americans, including those who are traditionally conservative, support immigration reform that includes an earned path to citizenship and it’s also clear that inaction is more costly than taking action. So now, it’s up to each member to decide on what side they will stand. Will they stand on the side of fear driven ideology or replace political fear with personal faith and side with progress for the common good of the nation.