A project of the Center for Community Change

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Pope Francis Asks for Compassion Toward Immigrants

Pope Francis delivered pro-immigrant messages during his first official trip outside Rome as he urged the public to show compassion for immigrants. Pope Francis denounced the “globalization of indifference” to migrants, calling their suffering “a painful thorn in my heart.”

Pope Francis argues that sovereign nations and their citizens have the responsibility to protect those who come to their countries to pursue better lives for their families and themselves. But in the U.S., our current broken immigration system has separated many families.

During his life, Pope Francis has shown great compassion toward immigrants and we should all follow his example.

For more information,  http://cfor.cc/16jdN4B

Mapping the Impact

Today I stumbled across this interactive map which charts the impact of immigrant students, workers and entrepreneurs in every American state. The project, known as Map the Impact, is informative and engaging; it deploys relevant statistics and persuasive figures that underscore how much immigrant populations contribute to the economy on the state level. Here’s the (paraphrased) entry for Maryland as a good, local example:

On average, a foreign-born Master’s or PhD degree holder working in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field will create an additional 2.6 jobs in-state. As STEM careers move to play a greater role in the national economy, this figure is sure to rise. Additionally, immigrant-owned businesses in Maryland generate an annual income of $2.8 billion. If these entrepreneurs are provided secure pathways to citizenship, as the legislation currently under debate in the Senate promises, they will surely expand their role as job creators and business leaders. Thirdly, research predicts a massive shortage of registered nurses and medical professionals in Maryland by 2020. Immigrants are already filling these gaps: over a quarter of the state’s physicians graduated from foreign medical schools, almost entirely composed of immigrant students.

Perhaps these numbers aren’t mind-boggling; maybe the Maryland statistics don’t necessarily scream out for an overhaul of the immigration system. What they do indicate, however, is that immigrants are immensely important to the economy’s wellbeing. More and more reports prove—last week’s CBO findings are the prime example—that immigration reform is, in fact, a force multiplier for the national economy. Job creation, a shrinking deficit, more secure funding for Social Security: all these things can and will be accomplished if Congress commits to passing the bill. The impact of an enlightened, reformed immigration system is clear in maps, charts and graphs. Now is the time to see it in writing.

Click here for more on the Map the Impact project.

The Fight Continues

Last Thursday, the Senate voted to pass the bill 68-32, and focus shifted to the House of Representatives as they work on their version of the bill. It has been a long journey since the bill was dropped on the Senate floor, and there are lots of rallies, marching and pro-immigration activities have been done during the journey. The day before the Senate’s final vote on the bill, another impressive march took place at the Capitol.

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It was extremely hot and humid last Wednesday, and most people on the street just wanted to get into air conditioned rooms as soon as possible. But 300 immigrant families marched the opposite way – to the open air where they could be heard by all at the Capitol, urging the Senate and the House to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

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After an hour, people started marching towards the House building and the Republican National Committee (RNC) building. The sky was getting cloudy and dark soon after we started the march, but no one had any hesitation. We got support from faith allies including leaders from Nuns on the Bus and the Church World Service, who joined us for the rally.

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“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, NO MORE INJUSTICE!” people chanted in front of the RNC building. Faith leaders gave several powerful and impressive speeches and sprinkled holy water on the steps of the RNC.  Soon after, it started to rain, but the rain didn’t stop the marchers.

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One of the things that impressed me the most was that not only strong and young people attended the rally, but that even in the extreme heat and the rain, little children and elderly people who could barely speak English were also marching and shouting along with the crowd to urge the Senate and the House to pass the immigration reform bill.

Even though the bill has now passed in the Senate, there are still dangerous roadblocks ahead that could obstruct the 11 million undocumented people living in the United States from gaining a pathway to citizenship. We know that we have a long road ahead of us in the House before a just, comprehensive, humane immigration reform bill is signed into law, but we plan to keep up the fight until it happens.

Will you join us?

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