Friday, June 19, 2009

Father Hoyos to President Obama: Immigration Reform Now

Father José Eugenio Hoyos delivered a powerful and prayerful message this morning to President Barack Obama, Secretary for Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and other guests gathered for the annual Esperanza National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC. I have translated the text of his remarks, which were delivered mostly in Spanish, into English. President Obama's remarks to the interdenominational gathering can be found here.

The urgency of Fr. Hoyos' message was underscored yesterday by a rally in Miami of US-born children whose undocumented parents have been deported. The children offered insight into the suffering that current U.S. immigration policies have brought to these families. Ronald Soza (10), whose mother was deported earlier this year to her native Nicaragua, testified that: "My grades went from A's to C's when my mom had to leave." Five year-old Sara Bedoya Sanchez, who was born in South Florida, but whose mother came into the country illegally from Medellin, Colombia nearly a decade ago, stated simply: "I came today because I want to stay with my mommy here." They are just two among the hundreds of American born children of undocumented immigrant parents whose families have or will be broken up by our country's policies.

And the US Catholic bishops, who have been meeting this week in San Antonio, issued a call to the president for comprehensive immigration reform. Speaking for the USCCB, the president of the Conference Cardinal Francis George of Chicago said: "Now is the time to address this pressing humanitarian issue which affects so many lives and undermines basic human dignity. Our society should no longer tolerate a status quo that perpetuates a permanent underclass of persons and benefits from their labor without offering them legal protections. As a moral matter, we must resolve the legal status of those who are here without proper documentation so that they can fully contribute their talents to our nation’s economic, social and spiritual well being. Only through comprehensive reform can we restore the rule of law to our nation’s immigration system."


"Lord Jesus, Father and Protector of all, thanks to your generosity we live in this blessed and prosperous nation, the United States of America. Have mercy and compassion on our immigrant families that for many generations have come from afar seeking a decent and dignified life.

Jesus the Nazarene, you who were also an immigrant, do not allow the law to persecute us mercilessly. You know that our demand for a moral and just immigration reform is a right for all citizens who live on and love this American soil. You know how many families continue to be persecuted, are sad, disoriented, lonely and without hope. O God, protect our immigrant families from all the racist attacks and persecution that do not let us live peacefully.

Our families are frightened by the raids, deportations, at disappearing without leaving a trace by which our families can find them. God, free us from all this oppression of our immigrant families, all the racial hatred, the sterile bureaucracy that allows and conditions us to live in the shadows. Lord, we know that no human being is illegal and that your Heavenly Kingdom has no borders.

God Almighty, may we never forget that every time a daddy or a mommy is deported, they leave many helpless boys and girls. All powerful God, help us to see you in the eyes of the migrant and recognize your presence amid the oppressed.

I ask you with all my heart to enlighten the mind and give much wisdom to our beloved President Barack Obama so that very soon we will have the best news of all: a just and moral immigration reform for all.

Dear President Barack Obama and Janet Napolitano, deportation breaks up families and this is contrary to the will of God. We pray that our government leaders will stop breaking up our homes. We want immigration reform now, not tomorrow.

Amen, Amen, God Bless you all!”

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