Prominent Clergy, Labor and Community Leaders Tell Speaker Boehner: Passing Roadmap to Citizenship is “Moral, Smart, and Urgent”
500+ People Rally outside Boehner’s Springfield Office, Urge Congress to Stop Stalling on Long Overdue Reform
(Dayton, OH) – More than 500 people, including immigrant families, faith leaders and labor leaders, marched to Speaker John Boehner’s Springfield office today to call on him to immediately passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation that includes a roadmap to citizenship. As Speaker John Boehner himself recently said, the time to fix America’s broken immigration system is “long overdue.” Ohioans agree that the time is “long overdue” and that immediately creating a roadmap to citizenship is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do.
Sponsored by Ohio Prophetic Voices, PICO National Network’s Campaign for Citizenship, Cincinnati Workers Center, SEIU, UFCW and IUE-CWA, the march featured prominent clergy, labor leaders and diverse people of faith urging Congress to recognize that fixing America’s broken immigration system is crucial for Ohio’s families and economy. Reform will put $4.6 billion in Ohioans’ pockets over ten years and create 1,100 new jobs in Ohio per year.
“As a person of faith, I am committed to welcoming aspiring Americans,” said Mayor Warren Copeland of Springfield. “The current immigration policy is inhumane. It divides us as a country and we need to urgently fix this broken system.”
Faith leaders spoke out at the march about the moral principles at stake in the immigration debate.
“Speaker Boehner has an urgent choice to make right now,” said Rev. Troy Jackson, Director of Ohio Prophetic Voices. “Will he let Steve King dictate the Republican immigration agenda, or will he heed the teachings of his Catholic faith about the dignity of immigrants? The clear, moral thing to do is pass a roadmap to citizenship right now.”
Father Jorge Ochoa, formerly of St. Charles Borromeo parish in Cincinnati, said “The Gospel could not be any clearer about our moral responsibility to protect immigrant workers and families. We join the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in calling for common sense immigration reform and a roadmap to citizenship that brings 11 million aspiring Americans out of the shadows and ends the exploitation of our immigrant brothers and sisters.”
Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of the Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati, sent a letter in support, which said in part, “We hope and pray that the U.S. House of Representatives and its leaders will advance the cause of comprehensive immigration reform that allows our nation to protect its borders and provides for family reunification, stronger workers’ rights, and pathways to citizenship. Should they fail, should they vote for the status quo, then no one wins — not migrants or their families, not law enforcement, not our economy or communities, not America.”
Labor leaders and immigrants at the march spoke to the devastation caused by our broken system and the benefits of immigration reform that includes a roadmap to citizenship.
“We call on Speaker Boehner to pass commonsense immigration laws that will grow Ohio’s economy, and reject the extreme rhetoric of anti-immigrant voices within the House of Representatives” said Esther Lopez, Director of Civil Rights and Community Action at the United Food and Commercial Workers. “Reform that includes a road to citizenship is good for all workers — immigrant and native-born alike. That’s why labor leaders and the faith community stand together to urge Speaker Boehner and fellow members of the House to immediately pass a roadmap to citizenship.”
Julio Tellez, a DREAMer from Hamilton facing deportation, said “While DREAM Act provisions are crucial, so is a path to citizenship that will keep all undocumented families – together. Speaker Boehner can make the choice to keep DREAMers and families together, or he can align himself with anti-immigrant voices who are proposing to separate children and young adults from their parents permanently.That’s not only immoral, it’s frankly un-American. DREAMers and the people of Ohio deserve better.”
The rally at Speaker Boehner’s Springfield office was part of a national day of action targeting House GOP leaders in their home states. Other actions include a rally outside the Office of Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and an event at the office of Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam of Illinois. Immigrant families and faith and labor leaders will continue to urge the Republican-led House of Representatives to stop obstructing crucial reform and immediately pass a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans.