As Christmas approaches, we look forward to a time of wonder, joy and celebration with our congregations and family members. Yet for thousands of congregations and individuals whose families have been torn apart by our broken immigration system, this Christmas will not bring the joy of celebrating together.
The numbers of deportations are staggering. Each year over 400,000 individuals are deported at incredible human and fiscal cost, breaking up families and separating children from their parents. In addition, tens of thousands of migrants currently languish in detention while awaiting justice, and many more face uncertain futures and the threat of deportation.
In 2013, LIRS and its many supporters tirelessly advocated for Congress to pass legislation that promotes family unity. In June, the Senate passed an historic immigration bill with many positive provisions protecting migrant and refugee families. If passed, the bill would reduce family visa backlog times, improve ways for refugee families to stay together, and give immigration judges discretion to consider the impact of an immigrant’s deportation on his or her family in the United States. LIRS applauds these and other reform efforts and will continue to urge the House of Representatives to pass legislation in 2014 that aligns with our principles for immigration reform.
As you celebrate Christmas with your family this year, we ask that you consider remembering migrant and refugee families that cannot be together in your holiday prayers. You can also take action to let your representatives know that people of faith strongly support compassionate reform that unites families.
Thank you for all you’ve done to stand for welcome this year. We wish you and your loved ones a very merry Christmas!
LIRS Director for Advocacy