04/25/2013 03:06 pm ET Updated Jun 25, 2013

Don't Let the Boston Bombers Stop Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Lawmakers who are against immigration reform are exploiting what happened in Boston as a failure of immigration policy.

While we do not yet have all the facts on how or why the Tsarnaev brothers turned against a country that took them in when their parents said they were being persecuted, it is not reason enough to turn our backs on the 11 million people already here working in agriculture or doing other dangerous and often back-breaking work that helps to strengthen the U.S. economy and build communities.

Gamaliel would like to remind lawmakers that immigration reform is important to strengthen our national security and many studies already say the border is secure enough. The national debate needs to focus on keeping families together and bolstering communities instead of fear and violence.

We are pleased that Senator Durbin (D-IL) has stood up to the forces of reaction and demanded that we move forward with reform. To the Senators who want to wait on reform, we say, "we've waited long enough."

As a faith-based organization, Gamaliel values each life and respects the immigrant story of trying to 'do better' for your family and for yourself. We also value a just and fair government that values human dignity --we demand our elected leaders do the same.

To this end, we echo the need for keeping immigrant families together and putting a moratorium on deportation of non-violent offenders. We also agree with many Christian, Jewish and other faith leaders, that more immigrants should be 'eligible for assimilation than the current bill allows, and that we want to reduce the waiting period to obtain a green card or apply for citizenship'. Right now, the path to citizenship is long and could be cost-prohibitive.

Most agree our immigration reform system is broken and it needs to be fixed now. We cannot hesitate or let any form of terrorism dictate good policy that will benefit our economy, keep families together, and protect individual rights; all principles that are in-line with our values as Americans and people of faith.

Ana Garcia-Ashley
Executive Director