THE BLOG
08/16/2013 10:20 am ET Updated Oct 16, 2013

Immigration Reform Only 'Half-Done'

Today I am going to be visiting Rep. Paul Ryan's office in Racine, Wis., to sing "Happy Birthday" and to present him with half a birthday cake and balloons. Members of WISDOM will be with me, Catholic nuns, pastors and immigrants. It's part of a national action in 11 cities to mark the anniversary of the DREAM executive order, Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. We want to celebrate DACA. Members of our network like Jesus Guzman, the lead organizer of the Graton Day Labor Center and a board member of North Bay Organizing Project and Fernado Rayas, an organizer for Gamaliel of Metro Chicago have both received relief through DACA, which makes their lives considerably easier. It's an important program.

But we believe that helping immigrants is only "half-done." That's why we are giving Congressman Ryan just half a cake. We want Rep. Ryan and the additional 16 other congressional representatives we are targeting with cakes today to be very clear: If you don't pass comprehensive reform this fall, immigrants and people of faith are going to be very disappointed.

We have worked to get this message out in a variety of ways this year. We have brought people to D.C. so that they can visit their lawmakers in person and we have invited our congressional representatives to our congregation's basements for public hearings. Two of our leaders were recently arrested, Rev. Bobby Love, an African-American Republican from Kansas and Jesusa Rivera, our immigration task force chair. We are trying every which way we can to get our lawmakers focused on fixing this broken system.

As Rev. Love said:

"Being an African-American Republican in Kansas isn't easy. Neither is getting arrested or following the Golden Rule. But standing with my immigrant brothers and sisters is easy. My faith tells me that this is right. We are putting our bodies on the line today to urge Congress to show some backbone. This is not partisan. It's a simple matter of loving justice and showing mercy."

We in Gamaliel will keep on fighting, with cakes, with arrests, with public testimony, until we get 11 million people out of the shadows. DACA is great, but it is not enough.