Faith Groups Join March for Immigration Reform
March 23rd, 2010
On Sunday, March 22, over 200,000 people from around the country rallied on the National Mall in Washington, D.C to pressure the United State Congress and President Obama to work to reform the broken immigration system. The faith community was joined by tens of thousands of people from civil rights, immigrant, family and labor groups.
The March for America targeted the Democratic majority in Congress and the Obama Administration with a simple message saying that comprehensive immigration reform needs to be a priority now. “If it is not, don’t count on us to turn out for the November 2010 congressional elections,” warned the activists.
Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Los Angeles Archdiocese told the crowd that the Catholic Church stands with immigrants and is in this fight until the end. Cardinal Mahony denounced the continuing immigration raids and decried the fact that children continue to be separated from their parents. He said the rally would force leaders in Congress to hear the stories of immigrants’ daily struggles.
In a videotaped message, President Obama promised the marchers that he would continue to work on immigration reform legislation. But deportations and family separations continue to increase.
Simultaneous with the rally was the annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) conference, attended by some 700 faith-based activists from around the country. EAD participants, focusing this year on the theme of migration, left their conference to join the rally on the Mall. Fr. Fernando Velazquez OMI from Houston, TX and George Ngolwe (JPIC staff working on immigration issues) attended the EAD and participated in the rally.
Demands of the “March for America: Change Takes Courage” included:
- Comprehensive Immigration reform legislation
- Presidential leadership
- Bipartisan leadership
- Congressional action
- Protection of families
In short, faith communities and immigrant advocates are demanding that it’s time for this Congress and the Obama Administration to make good on their immigration reform promises.