On Wednesday, July 10th, when most eyes were on the private GOP meeting where republicans gathered in the Capitol basement to strategize on immigration reform in the House, advocates were rallying outside House buildings to urge members to enact immigration reform.
Uncertain of what the next steps are in the House, hundreds of activists, families, and faith leaders all gathered proudly and united in front of the Cannon and Longworth House Office Buildings as they chanted loudly, “Si se puede!”
Not discouraged by the hot summer heat, marchers hoped to catch GOP members as they ended their internal meeting and walked back to their offices.
Their request was simple and straightforward: a vote on citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans currently residing in the country. Energized by how far immigration reform has come, many present refused to let efforts die after last month’s bipartisan vote in the Senate on the S.744 immigration bill.
Now as the House moves forward with a piecemeal approach, many hope that the outcome will be what Americans want. A recent Gallup poll shows that the majority of Americans want immigration reform with an earned pathway to citizenship.
As House members ponder their next steps, it’s up to the faith community to put their faith into action and push for change just as they did in the Senate. People of faith are key to moving their representatives to make just and compassionate decisions. While the focus is on the House, I strongly urge each one of you to schedule a meeting with your representative, write an op-ed to your local newspaper, take part in a town hall meeting held in your area during recess, attend a vigil, or pray for reform. These actions are especially important during the upcoming August recess.
Si se puede!
Ivone Guillen is the Immigration Associate for Sojourners.