I’m happy to wrap up the week with yet another strong voice for fairness and compassion in immigration reform. Lutheran Services of Georgia President and CEO Floyd R. Blair has written a powerful op-ed that appears in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He begins his September 13 piece, “Immigration Reform Will Benefit Georgia,” as follows:
Senators from both parties came together this summer and passed humane immigration reform, Senate Bill 744. For those of us who favor a practical and fair way of fixing our broken immigration system, this was cause for celebration.
At the head of the celebration should be Georgians. Nearly 1 in 10 Georgians is an immigrant. Immigrants are our neighbors, friends, employees and employers. Our diversity is what makes our state so vibrant. Immigration reform holds out the promise that newcomers will be able to more fully enrich our society and economy.
However, much work lies ahead. We must urge leaders in the House of Representatives to pass bipartisan legislation that mirrors S. 744’s strengths right away — because keeping families together is vital to our congregations and communities.
Why is family unity key here? As CEO of Lutheran Services of Georgia, an organization that provides community-based programs serving native-born and new Americans, I’m reminded of the answers each day.
What comes to mind first is our program for visiting immigrants who have been detained for civil, not criminal, violations. One detainee I know of was the sole provider for his family, which included a young son with autism and cancer. Despite committing no criminal offense, this father was picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement one day and sent to a detention center. This detention deprived the vulnerable son of the medical care he needed, and his father’s love. Thankfully, S. 744 includes measures that would give children a better chance of staying with their parents.
Besides preserving family unity, S. 744 can move America forward in three other critical ways. First, it provides a road map by which undocumented people can eventually earn citizenship. Second, it better ensures humane and just enforcement of immigration laws by reducing the use of immigrant detention and expanding community support programs. Third, it creates more efficient and humane processes to protect refugees and other vulnerable migrants.
The op-ed concludes:
S. 744’s passage shows our lawmakers are beginning to heed Americans’ call to confront the human suffering in their own communities and congregations. However, the work of securing humane immigration reform is just beginning. Now is the moment for the House to show bipartisan leadership and pass a fair and effective reform bill. Georgians expect no less from our elected officials.
Please read the entire op-ed by clicking the link above, and show your support by Sharing it via Facebook and through other social media. Please also consider leaving a positive comment, and sending the link to your friends, colleagues, and family members. We can’t get the word out about fair immigration reform unless we use social media effectively.
Members of Congress and their staff watch op-eds in their local papers very carefully. For that reason, I’m grateful to Floyd Blair for taking the time to write this important piece. I’m also thankful to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for raising awareness of the urgent need for fair immigration reform.
After reading the words of Floyd Blair, 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.