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Faith, community, labor, immigrant leaders call for vote on immigration reform

By Dave Scharfenberger, Herald Contributor | 8/7/2013, 2:23 p.m.
Over 500 people of all faiths gathered outside Speaker John Boehner’s Springfield Office on July 27 to ask Boehner and ...
Troy Jackson, Ohio Prophetic Voices, speaks at immigration rally. Photo by Dave Scharfenberger

Over 500 people of all faiths gathered outside Speaker John Boehner’s Springfield Office on July 27 to ask Boehner and other House of Representative Leaders to call for up a vote on comprehensive immigration reform.

People from all over Southwest Ohio, Columbus, and as far away as Lexington and Louisville Kentucky came together to calling for the House of Representatives to fix America’s broken immigration system. Faith, labor, community and immigrant leaders spoke out to urge the Speaker to exercise in the words of Troy Jackson, “Bold Leadership.” Speakers included Warren R. Copeland (Mayor of Springfield), Father Ed Gearhart, Pastor of St. Theresa’s in Springfield speaking on behalf of Archbishop Schnurr of the Diocese of Cincinnati, Troy Jackson (Director of Ohio Prophetic Voices), Bill Dudley (United Food and Commercial Workers Local 75), and Julio Tellez, (a DREAMer) urging the leadership in the House of Representatives to re-establish order and respect for human dignity in our immigration system.

In late June, Senate Democrats and Republicans voted for Comprehensive Immigration Reform that protects our borders, and provides for family reunification, workers’ rights and pathways to citizenship. Recently Speaker Boehner has said that he would abide by the Hastert rule that is not bringing immigration reform to a vote unless a majority of Republicans supported it.

In Archbishop Schnurr’s message, delivered by Father Ed Gearhart, he said the he stood in solidarity with his “immigrant brother and sisters.” He said that, “we believe only comprehensive immigration reform can bring back a sense of law and order and better safeguard the God-given human dignity of those seeking a better life. We hope and pray that the U.S. House of Representatives and its leaders will advance the cause of comprehensive immigration reform that allows our nation to protect its borders and provides for family reunification, stronger workers’ rights, and pathways to citizenship. Should they fail, should they vote for the status quo, then no one wins -- not migrants or their families, not law enforcement, not our economy or communities, not America.”

Julio Tellez, a DREAMer and his mother spoke regarding Julio’s pending case scheduled for a hearing the following Monday, July 29. Julio was facing deportation even though he has applied for DACA status (Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals) Participants at the rally signed petitions calling from Speaker Boehner to support comprehensive immigration reform and support Julio Tellez. Since the rally, Julio has received word that he has received that his administrative case was closed by ICE and he can now await for his DACA.

Participants at the Springfield rally left with a feeling a hope. Hope for solutions to fix a broken immigration system. Hope that Speaker Boehner and other leaders in the House of Representatives will act. Hope to restore order and human dignity to our immigration system, and a determination not to give up or quit.