Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Speaking to Congress in Washington DC

I'm back in NYC, so my work with the New Sanctuary Movement continues. Yesterday we packed a bus full of families, organizers and clergy and drove to Washington DC.

We had a press conference on the steps of the Supreme Court and visited the offices of congresspeople and senators to let them hear in person the stories of these families facing the deportation of a husband and father (they're almost always men). I don't know how much we influenced and changed minds, but all the folks we talked to were very moved to see a family and realize our government was going to destroy that family by sending it's father away.

I missed most of the press conference because I had to run off to an appointment with Senator Charles Schumers office. We talked to an aide, but last month we had an appointment in person with Senator Hillary Clinton (which I missed because I was in Argentina).

After the heart rendering failure of the comprehensive immigration bill, we are hoping to get some smaller ones passed - HR1176 - the Citizen Childs Protection Act is a bill introduced by Congressman Serrano that allows judges to have a discretion they do not currently have to consider that the individual facing deportation has a family with children who are US citizens. Why should US citizen children not have the right to not have their parent deported? The best line I have heard that sums up my passion for this cause is - "family unity is a human right".

Of course, our God made the family and it is at the center of his heart - God has a son. Jesus has a Father. Jesus is our brother. The church is a family. Honor your parents. Love your wife. We must protect these vulnerable families before we hear Christ say to us on that day - "You didn't protect me from deportation and you allowed my family to break apart"...and we'll say, "but Lord, when didn't we protect you from deportation and allow your family to break apart?".....

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