Wednesday marks the start of two full weeks of action, prayer, and protest on immigration.
People of faith and community leaders from across the state will join immigrant advocates from my organization, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), to mobilize for just and humane immigration reform-- and to reject the continuation of futile, Bush-style enforcement-only policies on immigration.
Reverend Sandra Castillo, President of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, is among the faith leaders who will participate in the two weeks of action. Her reason? According to Reverend Castillo:
Our immigration system is in pressing need of reform. Harsh, punitive policies are separating families and creating economic turmoil instead of bringing real solutions.
The actions will take place in seven Illinois congressional districts, including Dan Lipinski's (IL-3), Luis Gutierrez' (IL-4), Mike Quigley's (IL-5), Melissa Bean's (IL-8), Jan Schakowsky's (IL-09), Mark Kirk's (IL-10); and Bill Foster's (IL-14.) As part of the national campaign, Reform Immigration For America, thousands will engage in a series of vigils, town hall meetings, and rallies to challenge members of Congress and the Administration to step up to the plate and deliver just and humane immigration reform, now.
Although President Obama speaks passionately about the need for comprehensive immigration reform, it's also true that actions speak louder than words.
With this in mind, here is a list of the nine powerful actions that will take place over the next two weeks -- starting today -- to press President Obama and Congress to get reform done:
- Prayer Vigil for Immigration Reform | Congressman Lipinski, lL-3 | August 19 at 7pm at Mosque Foundation Community Center | 7260 W 93rd St, Bridgeview, IL
Asian Town Hall Meeting with Congressman Mike Quigley, IL-5, and Congressman Jan Schakowsky, IL-9 | August 22 at 1pm Salvation Army Church, 5020 N Pulaski, Chicago, IL
Prayer vigil for immigration reform | Cong. Luis Gutierrez, Il.-4 | August 22 at 7:30 pm at Kimball Avenue Church | 2324 N. Kimball Ave. Chicago, IL
Prayer Vigil in support of immigration reform | Congressman Bill Foster, IL-14 | August 26 at 6pm at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church | 620 S. Fifth St, Aurora, IL
Prayer Vigil to urge for the end of detention, deportations and enforcement only strategies and to highlight the urgent need for just and humane immigration reform | Congresswoman Melissa Bean, IL-8 | August 30 at 8pm at McHenry County Jail Detention Center | 2200 North Seminary Ave, Woodstock, IL
Press Conference, roll out of Spanish language paid media ads highlighting the immigration position of Congressman Mark Kirk, IL-10 | August 31 at 11 am at ICIRR | 55 E. Jackson Blvd. Suite 2075, Chicago, IL
There's no doubt that immigrant communities and their allies are fired up for reform, and there's even less doubt about what's at stake.
Progress Illinois blogger Angela Caputo cites the political math yesterday, in "Activists Blazing The Trail To Immigration Reform:"
Over the past four years, there's been a 28 percent increase in the number of Latino voters and a 21 percent increase among Asians, IPC found. Compare that will virtually no growth -- less than 1 percent -- among whites and the new clout among Latino and Asian voters can't be discounted. Now we'll see which candidates can do the math.
Jane Ramsey, Executive Director of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, gives a human argument for reforom:
The expansion of broken laws will only inflict further pain on immigrant families and communities. Faith leaders, community members and advocates representing the diversity of this state and this country are here today to send a clear and loud message to the administration: we need immigration solutions not senseless deportations.
More solutions, less senseless deportations. I couldn't have said it better myself.
Cross-posted at The Sanctuary and at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights Blog.