Media Advisory: Faith Community Escalates Call for Immigration Reform

The Interfaith Center is going to be participating in a meeting at the White House– the NY State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform is hand delivering our letter to President Obama–signed by nearly 600 religious leaders nationwide:


June 29, 2010

CONTACT: Kristin Williams, Faith in Public Life, 202.459.8625

In Response to Obama Speech, Faith Community Escalates Urgent Call for Passage of Immigration Reform

Meeting with White House officials, Letter to Obama from nearly 600 Faith Leaders, Innovative Grassroots Events

WASHINGTON, DC— On Thursday, July 1, just hours after the President gives a speech on immigration reform at American University, religiously diverse leaders will gather at Lafayette Park, in front of the White House, at 1:30 p.m. to celebrate President Obama’s speech as a major step forward and to ask the President and Congress to keep up the momentum to pass comprehensive immigration reform this year.  They will meet with White House officials after the press conference to deliver a letter from nearly 600 evangelical and mainline Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh leaders, urging the President to help deliver comprehensive immigration reform “that both protects our interests and abides by our values.” 

As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, the faith community is calling for immigration reform this year that will honor the values on which this country was founded.  At Thursday’s press conference, faith leaders will unveil an innovative, multifaceted national mobilization of people of faith, fighting for immigration reform and reminding political leaders of the cost of federal inaction—draconian state-level legislation, such as Arizona’s SB-1070.  The coordinated action, involving numerous vigils, “pulpit swaps,” public events and petitions, will launch on the July 4th weekend and continue throughout the month, culminating with a major event at the end of the month to stand with the people of Arizona as SB-1070 takes effect on July 28.

WHAT: Press conference in front of the White House with faith leaders launching July mobilization for immigration reform, delivering letter to President Obama from nearly 600 faith leaders

WHO: Diverse faith leaders, including

Lisa Sharon Harper, Executive Director, New York Faith and Justice, New York, NY

Rev. Ray Rivera, President and CEO, Latino Pastoral Action Center, Bronx, NY

Rev. Gary Wiley, Pastor of Justice and Care, Trinity Grace Church

Hansdeep Singh, Staff Attorney, United Sikhs

Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition

Sarah Sayeed, Program Associate, The Interfaith Center of New York, Co-chair of the New York State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform

Diane Steinman, Director, American Jewish Committee, New York, Co-chair of the New York State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform

WHEN: Thursday, July 1, 1:30 p.m. EDT

WHERE: Lafayette Park (across from the White House), Washington, D.C.

Thursday’s press conference will kick off a month-long coordinated mobilization of people of faith calling for immigration reform, which will include:

  • Letter from nearly 600 faith leaders to President Obama, urging action this year on immigration reform and reminding him of the moral and pragmatic imperatives of reform, coordinated by the New York State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform
  • “Pulpit swaps” in states across the country, coordinated by Interfaith Worker Justice (immigrant pastors will switch places with  pastors who are citizens for a worship service)
  • Vigils in dozens of states as part of the Isaiah 58 Summer, a nationwide  “rolling” prayer vigil and fast moving from region to region, as people of faith stand with Arizona as they face extreme anti-immigrant legislation and pray for comprehensive reform, coordinated by the Interfaith Immigration Coalition.
  • Clergy preaching from the pulpit on the need for comprehensive immigration reform in Houston on July 4th Sunday, coordinated by the Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation

 In early May, the faith community led an Immigrant Sabbath and Prayer for Immigrants weekend with events in Missouri, Texas, Kansas, New York, California, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida and Ohio.  Earlier in the year, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C. for the March FOR America: Change Takes Courage and Faith to rally for immigration reform, and people of faith organized hundreds of grassroots events and sent hundreds of thousands of pro-reform postcards to Members of Congress.



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