Now that Congress is headed into a busy fall, it’s more important than ever that strong voices are reminding them of the urgent need for fair and compassionate immigration reform. This Monday, I’m glad to share a powerful op-ed by Rev. Steve Klemz that was published in the Salt Lake Tribune.
Rev. Klemz is pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregation in Salt Lake City. In his September 7 piece for the Salt Lake Tribune, “Immigration Reform, the Utah Way,” he writes
Utah is a great place to be a pastor. This is a state where religion is the topic of conversation every day, and where public policy is shaped by our core values, especially our commitment to family unity and our heritage of hospitality.
So, as the U.S. House of Representatives begins pivotal debates on immigration reform, it’s not surprising that so many Utah citizens, of so many faiths, are speaking out for common sense changes to our broken system. I am one of those calling for reform, because I can personally testify that this system is broken.
My wife, who is undocumented, has been in U.S. Immigration Court proceedings twice in 11 years. At the risk of facing deportation, we petitioned to receive a green card through marriage, a request that has twice been denied. This, despite her being law-abiding, engaged in our community and devoted to our congregation.
To this day, we’re trapped in a bureaucratic immigration system of contradictions, impunity, and senseless dead ends. This means my family faces the very real possibility of being torn apart.
I can’t imagine the trauma of my wife being held in detention. But for too many families, that’s reality. On any given day, Immigration and Customs Enforcement imprisons 34,000 people, despite the fact that many are refugees, asylum seekers or survivors of torture or human trafficking.
Rev. Klemz ends his piece with this strong call to action:
I’m proud of how the faith community is defending families and children by calling for fair and humane immigration reform. Now is the moment for the House to pay heed.
With wisdom, and without partisan bickering, our representatives should deliver legislation that improves on the Senate reform bill. That would be good for Utahns. Most important, it would be good for families.
You can read the entire piece by clicking the link above. Please show your support by Liking and Sharing this piece via Facebook and other social media, and by sending the link to your friends, colleagues, and family members. These are critically important ways to get the word out about the need for immigration reform.
It’s a fact that Members of Congress and their staff keep tabs on op-eds and listen closely to the opinions raised. For that reason, I’m very grateful to Rev. Klemz for writing this piece. I’m also thankful to the Salt Lake Tribune for keeping Utahns aware of the importance of immigration reform.
After reading Rev. Klemz’s words, if you feel inspired, now is the time to raise your own voice for fair and compassionate immigration reform via the LIRS Action Center. Also, please don’t forget to sign up to receive alerts from this blog, and check out our new Immigration Reform Mythbuster.