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Civil rights, clergy deliver letter to VP Harris: “Make a way for citizenship”

DACA rally in front of Supreme court
Photo: / AFSC

WASHINGTON DC (October 18, 2021) Today, Clergy and Civil Rights leaders from Faith in Action, Faith in Public Life and American Friends Service Committee delivered a letter signed by more than 2400 faith leaders and people of faith to Vice President Harris, urging her to bypass the opinion recommendation of the Parliamentarian and make an independent decision as Presiding Officer of the Senate to keep a broad pathway to citizenship within the budget reconciliation package now being negotiated within Congress.

In the sign on letter they write “At this critical juncture, you have the power to “make a way out of no way” for up to 8 million undocumented members of our congregations and communities. We urge you to bypass the recommendation of the Parliamentarian and make an independent decision as Presiding Officer of the Senate to keep a broad pathway to citizenship within the budget reconciliation package now being negotiated within Congress.”

You can read the full sign on letter and view its signers here. Leaders from each organization shared a statement on the sign on letter and this moment we’re in below. Each are available for interview. 

QUOTES

“AFSC joins partners and people of faith across the country in urging our elected leaders to exercise the political courage to deliver a pathway to citizenship through the budget reconciliation package. There is a fundamental human right to migrate that has been twisted and suppressed by legal structures that are thin shields for exclusionary racism for far too long,” said Aura Kanegis, Quaker and Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, American Friends Service Committee. “It is time for our leaders to do everything in their power to deliver permanent protections, not second-class status. The advice of the Parliamentarian does not outweigh our moral responsibility to build a more just and compassionate world.”

Rev. Alvin Herrin, Executive Director, Faith in Action: “Our elected leaders must recognize the humanity of our immigrant siblings and understand the moral imperative in providing a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented workers, students, parents, children and people of faith. Our essential immigrant workers have helped America make its way through the pandemic. We must support them, and all other undocumnted immigrants, the way they have supported us by ensuring they have a future of peace, safety, and long awaited protections through providing them with permanent protections. It’s time for Congress to work together to enact humane and equitable reforms to our immigration policies, reflecting the best of our faith and building an equitable nation that values and fortifies the web of mutuality which binds us all to one another and celebrates the contributions immigrants bring to our country.” 

Rev. Jennifer butler, CEO, Faith in Public Life: “Madam Vice President, people of every faith across this nation know that undocumented Americans are created in God’s image and deserve to thrive. But a “road closed” sign has been posted on the pathway to citizenship for our undocumented family for far too long. For decades, we have been told there is no way around this obstacle to a life of flourishing and freedom. But you have the power and the moral responsibility to make a way. We call on you to exercise your authority to include a pathway to citizenship for as many undocumented people as possible in the Build Back Better package. This is a moral test, and we are praying that you do the right thing.”

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The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) promotes a world free of violence, inequality, and oppression. Guided by the Quaker belief in the divine light within each person, we nurture the seeds of change and the respect for human life to fundamentally transform our societies and institutions.

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