I feel like I just did one of these updates (because I did) but the second Arlington Diocese "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Meeting" last night has generated more items...and ideas. Catholics in the Arlington (VA) Diocese who want to participate in this campaign should send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the blog at weneedimmigrationreform.blogspot.com
1. October 13 Immigration Rights Rally: Please join us on October 13th at 3 p.m. at the Capitol Building in Washington, DC (West Lawn, E. Capitol Circle and Maryland Ave. SW; Metro: Capitol South). This peaceful rally calling for just and humane immigration reform, an end to the raids, and an end to the collaboration between local police and immigration authorities is being co-sponsored by Reform Immigration for America, Families United, and the National Capital Immigrant Coalition. For more information call 1-888-624-2001 or go to http://www.ncicmetro.org/.
2. Congressman Jim Moran's Meeting on Immigration Reform: Several participants in last night's meeting reported on the meeting Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) held with constituents on September 21st at Culmore Methodist Church in Falls Church, VA. The congressman plans to co-sponsor Rep. Luis Gutiérrez's comprehensive immigration reform bill when it is introduced. Participants were pleased with Moran's responsiveness on this issue as well as his ability to answer critics. In response to a question on legalization, Moran cited an August 2009 Cato Institute study showing that "the positive impact for U.S. households of legalization under an optimal visa tax would be 1.27 percent of GDP or $180 billion." The congressman also reportedly said that deporting all of the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants would cost at least $80 billion. For the record, we think this figure is too low based on earlier studies of the question.
3. Respect Life... including undocumented lives: Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia who chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the USCCB and who will preside at the Mass during this week's Justice for Immigrants regional meeting, has just issued a statement for Respect Life Sunday (October 4th), and he doesn't leave our undocumented brothers and sisters out. Reflecting on the health care reform legislation before Congress, the cardinal says: "Many people insist that undocumented persons living and working in the United States should not be allowed in any new system to purchase health-care coverage, and that poor legal immigrants be denied coverage for the first five years they are in the United States. Do immigrants forfeit their humanity at the border? How can a just society deny basic health care to those living and working among us who need medical attention? It cannot and must not." Amen, Amen, and Amen.
4. ACLU Calls U.S.-Mexico Border Crossing Deaths "A Humanitarian Crisis": U.S., Mexican and international officials must recognize the deaths of migrants occurring during unauthorized crossings of the U.S.-Mexican border as an international humanitarian crisis and respond with reforms that make human life a priority, according to a new report released today by the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties and Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH). The report, Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the U.S.-Mexico Border, finds that border deaths have increased despite fewer unauthorized crossings due to the economic downturn.
The release of the report marks the 15th anniversary of the border enforcement policy Operation Gatekeeper that concentrated border agents and added walls and fencing along populated areas, intentionally forcing migrants to hostile environments and natural barriers that increase the incidence of injury and death.