WASHINGTON — As President Barack Obama prepares to make his historic announcement on immigration, national faith and immigrant leaders urge the President not to limit what is in his full legal authority to enact. The President must make his executive order inclusive and provide opportunity and justice for all our undocumented community members.
Deferred action from deportation should not be limited to individuals who have been in the United States for a long time, or those who have family members here. In addition, those with immigration charges or other infractions should have the full ability to apply for temporary relief.
Remarks from speakers on this morning’s national press teleconference:
Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO of Church World Service
“Administrative relief is a welcome, past-due step to stop separating moms and dads from their kids, and we will not be done fighting until all 11 million undocumented members of our communities are protected. There will be a backlash whether he grants temporary relief to 1 million people or 11 million. So we urge the President: Give everyone the chance to apply. There is a very strong grassroots movement across the United States and this commitment has been without pause. Should the President not extend the full authority he has and include everyone, we are going to continue and our efforts are going to intensify as an unrelenting force for justice.”
Pablo Alvarado, Director, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON):
“We are grateful for the labor, the courage, the risk and the sacrifice of so many undocumented migrants who have gotten us to this moment, and we will judge the President’s policy on the merits, by measuring whether it helps or hurts those who we know and love. We have endured a war of attrition against immigrants for more than a decade and now the President can turn the tide. He must mirror the courage of the people whose efforts have brought us to this point. Today can be the day to end the triangulations and wedge issues and recognize that our entire community is 100% deserving of relief.”
Bishop Minerva Carcaño, United Methodist Church, Los Angeles, CA:
“People of faith all over the country are praying that President Obama’s action to provide administrative relief to immigrant families will be bold and undeterred by any who would seek to undermine this long overdue justice. Today President Obama has the historic opportunity to stretch the embrace of justice far and wide to welcome the immigrant among us. We certainly will continue to advocate for the millions who may not be protected from deportation.”
Jody Rabhan, Washington Director, National Council of Jewish Women:
“The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) believes it’s time for the President to fulfill his promise to protect immigrants and their families from senseless detention and deportation. Many of our own families lived the immigrant experience in the not-so-distant past. That’s why NCJW has long emphasized the importance of family unity in immigration reform. The definition of ‘family’ should not be limited, and whether a family includes a same-sex couple or individuals who have lived in the US for a short time, it is critical that everyone contributing to the fabric of our communities and culture has the opportunity to apply for relief from deportation.”
Gerardo Grijalva, Jr, son of Rosa Robles Loreto in Sanctuary for 105 Days, Tucson, AZ:
“I don’t know if President Obama’s action will help my mom. I do know my mom is a good person. I know that I want my mom at home with me, my brother and my dad. It’s not my fault that I’m not 15 yet and can’t get DACA for four more years. But my mom shouldn’t be deported because of that.”
Rev. Mark Knutson, Augustana Lutheran Church, Sanctuary congregation in Portland, OR:
“As faith communities, we believe in reconciliation, forgiveness, redemption and renewal, and are dedicated to alongside anyone who is here who may have made a mistake. We know the transforming power of our faith and our traditions and how God works in our lives. And so even if a person has made a mistake, we believe that any executive action on immigration should take into account the totality of a person’s circumstances. Any fair and just process that the President announces tonight must look at the whole person, rather than defining someone by one particular moment in life for which they have taken responsibility. The sanctuary movement is growing across this nation. We are prepared and ready to stand together. Congregations, synagogues, mosques, temples, and churches are standing up and will continue this work.”