There is clearly sufficient common ground and good will among the “coalition of the middle” to forge consensus and seriously and comprehensively address our broken immigration system. Millions of human beings are suffering as casualties of this broken system, and the issue is rending the social fabric of our nation. Common sense and beneficial solutions are available and achievable and could help, in turn, rebuild a sense of trust and civility too often neglected and experienced on Capitol Hill.
-Richard Land, President of Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, SBC
Two weeks ago was a pivotal week in progress on national immigration reform. President Obama presented a speech in Nevada which outlined a plan based on four principles:
- Continuing to strengthen our borders.
- Cracking down on companies that hire undocumented workers.
- Holding undocumented immigrants accountable before they can earn their citizenship; this means requiring undocumented workers to pay their taxes and a penalty, move to the back of the line, learn English, and pass background checks.
- Streamlining the legal immigration system for families, workers, and employers.
In his speech, the President pointed out that this is one of the first times that there has been bipartisan support for immigration reform in Congress. Groups in both the Senate and the House have begun to propose plans for a comprehensive immigration reform bill.
So how do we get involved? Glad you asked.
World Relief Memphis along with CMIRA is working to mobilize support for legislation that is moving forward in Congress. These organizations are spearheading a national campaign here in Memphis called the “I Was A Stranger” Challenge. Targeted primarily at evangelical Christians, this is a 40 day scripture reading challenge in which participants are challenged to consider what the Judeo-Christian scriptures reveal about God’s heart for immigrants. We don’t analyze the passages for you or tell you how we think they should be interpreted – all we do is direct you to the verses and ask that you commit to reading them, praying about them, and reflecting on them. Participants are encouraged to take this challenge in conjunction with the observance of the 40 days of Lent which begins on February 13. If you would like to do this, please simply fill out the “Challenge Participant” form.
Some people may wish to take a more active role in this challenge; another way you are welcome to participate is by volunteering to help organize and mobilize people in the community to participate in the Challenge. World Relief and CMIRA plan to schedule meetings with local legislators to encourage them to take the challenge and to let them know Memphians care about the fate of immigrants in our midst. Click here to fill out the “Organizer Toolkit Request Form.”
If you are interested in taking the “I Was A Stranger” Challenge or meeting with an elected official, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and checkout the event on Facebook for updates. Read more about the Challenge in Politico and the Huffington Post.