Ecumenical Fly In Day Brings Great Results at Mark Up on S. 744

The power of faith leaders coming to meet with their Senators and Representatives continues to impress me. Faith leaders from key states such as Arizona, Utah, Texas and South Carolina came to meet with their Senators on the Judiciary Committee and urge them to pass amendments that support immigrant welcoming policies. CWS collaborated with United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, Lutheran Immigration Refugee Services to bring in faith 8 faith leaders from these key states. On several occasions, during the Judiciary Committee Mark Up, it felt as though the Senators we were  actually listening as a key anti-immigrant amendment were withdrawn, and positive amendments kept passing. Advocacy does make a difference in forming policy, and the importance of the faith presence had a strong influence.

Outside of the Mark Up space, faith leaders both at the National and local levels from throughout the country participated in vigils, a jericho walk, and a public prayer witness in the Senate Hart building, drawing attention from media. Faith leaders joined actions in several Senators’ offices, at Sen. Sessions and Grassley’s office we pushed against the anti-immigrant amendments they proposed, said prayers and read scripture in their office. Senator Grassley’s Chief of Staff even prayed the Lord’s Prayer with us. The power of prayer strengthened and heartened so many impacted people who journeyed far to tell their stories to decision makers about how the broken immigration system separated their families. Several representatives from impacted families were chosen to go meet President Obama and faith leaders gathered to pray over them, and send them off with with faith and courage.

The power of faith continues to be critical in this struggle for immigrant justice and we urge each congregant, each activist, each member of a faith community to get engaged on this issue today in your state. Its up to you to make sure your Senator and Representative vote the right way on immigration reform.

By Rev. Noel Andersen



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