When my former neighbor in Arizona, Katherine Figueroa, was 9 years old, she turned on her TV to see her parents being arrested – and led away in handcuffs on their way to possible deportation.
Katherine’s story is one shared by millions but what makes her stand out is that her family is struggling to stay together and calling upon all of us to help.
Katherine led children’s marches and testified in Congress – and with the help of talented organizers and allies, got her parents out of detention. Now her parents wait anxiously for an upcoming court date to determine whether or not they will be deported – and Katherine and her little sister are left in America without their mom or dad.
Situations like those that Katherine is facing make me shudder at the injustice. But it makes even less sense when her parents are two of the 11 million people who could be offered a path to citizenship that would get them off the road to deportation even in the more conservative versions of the comprehensive immigration bill being debated by Congress right now.
Every single day, more than 1,100 people are separated from their families and loved ones through deportations – that’s nearly 1 deportation every minute – of the very people that Congress is seeking to legalize.
I don’t believe we need to wait for tomorrow’s reform to put an end to the needless suffering so many families are enduring today.
As he did for so many youth, President Obama has the ability to suspend deportations and keep families together with the stroke of a pen.
Hundreds of lay organizations are calling upon the President to cease deportations now of those who soon could be citizens under immigration reform. As a faith community, I believe we have an extra responsibility to echo that call. Will you join me in bearing witness and sending a letter to the president?
As Congress takes up the work of including the 11 million among us who call the US home but are yet to be fully included because of their immigration status, the faith community has a responsibility to bear witness to the on-going suffering caused by our broken immigration policies.
Now that a bi-partisan framework has been presented in Washington, it only makes sense to provide relief from the fearsome specter of deportation for those who would be included in the bill presented by both parties. To not do so is not just an undue hardship on those whose lives hang in the balance, but it is a moral crisis we all are called to help resolve.
Letter to the President:
In all our faith traditions we are taught to love our neighbor. Therefore, we applaud your leadership to see to the passage of immigration reform that would make the US a more welcoming nation and fully recognize the humanity of all those who call this country home.
Please use your authority to suspend deportations while Congress considers immigration reform.
We believe you have the moral responsibility to do what is in your power to keep families together and reduce the suffering caused by unjust deportation.
Thank you for being a key part of the change we seek to make in the world,
Rev. Minerva Carcaño
Bishop of the Los Angeles Episcopal Area, California-Pacific Conference for The United Methodist Church and the official spokesperson for the United Methodist Council of Bishops on the issue of immigration
P.S. There's a feature film made about Katherine and her family and an opportunity for you to sign her petition as well: http://bit.ly/katherinesparents
P.P.S. I’m proud to partner with the Not One More campaign, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and the New Sanctuary Movement Learn more about their work at: http://notonemoredeportation.com
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