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USA Widespread Support For Immigration Reform Of President Obama


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Tejinder Singh - AHN News Correspondent

Washington, DC, United States (AHN) - Different ethnic and religious groups from across the country welcomed the immigration speech of the President as the shock waves from Arizona’s punitive legislation are being felt in communities across the country.

Rev. Gary Wiley, a white evangelical pastor at Grace Trinity Church in New York, said he realized that if he were to travel to Arizona with his family, he fears his Peruvian daughter-in-law and grandchildren would be victims of racial profiling.

Wiley said,“As a political conservative and card-carrying Republican, I’m here to remind Republican members of Congress that immigration reform is about protecting family values and doing what’s morally right.”

There was an invitation extended to all evangelicals across racial lines by Rev. Ray Rivera saying, “I speak today as a Pentecostal Evangelical Latino Christian.”

Rev. Rivera, President and CEO of the Latino Pastoral Action Center in the Bronx added, “I want to make a special appeal to white evangelicals ... our brothers and sisters… certainly those that make up a big part of the Republican Party, to join the effort for immigration reform, to follow the courageous leaders from that community that are beginning to emerge.”.

Recently, Sikh truck drivers who are U.S. citizens have reported being stopped and asked for their immigration papers each time they make deliveries or pass through Arizona, according to Hansdeep Singh, staff attorney at United Sikhs.

“This type of racial profiling speaks specifically to the type of collective punishment that is already being assessed against immigrant communities, even when the law is not currently in effect.

The president stood up for the voiceless and called strongly for comprehensive immigration reform today. He must continue to take this strong stand and Congress must now act.” Singh urged.

There was unanimous support across religious and ethnic lines for President Obama, as Rabbi Michael Feinberg, executive director of the Greater New York Labor -Religion Coalition said, “For some 2000 years, Jews have been migrants, exiles and refugees, forced to flee and seek sanctuary. So when the Torah states, “You know the heart of the stranger, for you were strangers in the Land of Egypt," it resonates deeply with our communal historical experience.”

After the Obama speech, the delegation of religious leaders met with White House officials 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” and reminding the Administration of the moral urgency of passing immigration reform.

Diane Steinman, co-chair of the New York State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform (which spearheaded the letter) and Director of American Jewish Committee New York said, “We urge President Obama to vigorously advocate passage of comprehensive immigration reform this year.

Our current system violates the moral values of our nation and of our nation’s diverse faith communities. Politics cannot be allowed to stand in the way of reform, and faith community leaders are prepared to be his partners in the effort

Widespread Support For Immigration Reform Initiative Of President Obama | AHN

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