Concern for a path to citizenship enlivened a crowd at Congressman Mike Coffman's (R-CO) office today. Fr. Steve Adams of St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church of Aurora leads them in prayer before about 15 local clergy met with the Congressman's staff.
The meeting opened with prayer. Scripture reflections were offered by Rabbi Bernard Gerson of Congregation Rodef Shalom and Fr. Adams of St. Piux X. The Rev. Bonita Bock submitted a letter signed by 91 local clergy that advocates for humane immigration policies.
Summarizing the case for a path to citizenship, Sarah Hernandez told of her husband's deportation two years ago and the subsequent hardship on her family. "I am here asking for mercy," she said, "and to be treated like a human being."
Coffman's staff said that they meet frequently with various groups in regard to the immigration issue, and they believe they are well aware of the issues involved. The Congressman will offer no firm position until the current Senate bill is passed and heads to the House.
Hundreds of people jammed St. Therese Catholic Church in Aurora today in support of immigration reform. The gathering was part pep rally, and part political organizing. It was sponsored by Together Colorado, a coalition of religious and faith community leaders.
"We have communities and families here in Colorado that are suffering and we believe the only moral solution to our harmful immigration policy is full citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans and the only one that is consistent with our religious beliefs and American values," said Rev. Nelson Bock of Our Savior's Lutheran Church.
The gathering heard from several speakers besides Rev. Bock, including Fr. Steve Adams of Pius X Catholic Church, and several persons who had specific human problems related to current immigration policies.
At the center of the event was hearing from Sen. Michael Bennet and Congresspersons Jared Polis and Mike Coffman. Bennet and Polis both advocate a "path to citizenship," and their remarks were warmly received.
Mike Coffman gets credit just for showing up. Coffman is--or was until very recently--a tea party Republican. Among this constituency, anything that helps hispanics stay in this country is anathema.
Coffman's district--the 6th--has shifted out from underneath him. The lines were re-drawn by the 2010 legislature. The new 6th is now the "Aurora seat" and Aurora has a large constituency of minorities, hispanics in particular.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has targeted the seat in 2014, and former Speaker of Colorado House, Andrew Romanoff, has entered the race. Though Coffman won re-election in 2012, the vote was close, and his opponent was poorly-financed.
Together Colorado is a non-partisan organization which is affiliated with PICO, the nation's largest faith-based organizing network.
Photo: Cong. Jared Polis responds to questions from an over-flow crowd at St. Therese Catholic Church.
Undocumented workers, what some call "aliens," paid $11.2 billion in taxes last year while General Electric, one of the largest corporations in the history of the world, paid nothing--and got a $3.2 billion dollar rebate to boot.
The latest approach to immigration goes by the moniker of "self-deportation." Which means: We treat people badly enough so that they'll know they aren't wanted and then they'll up and leave. (See Kristallnacht, Germany, 1938.)
This idea is brought to you by people who, oddly, consider themselves Christians.
"There's another piece of this puzzle," (Cong. Mike) Coffman (R-CO) continued. "What the Administration is doing, is taking a very aggressive move in the people that have illegal status and moving them through citizenship and waving all the fees and waving anything they can to get the process done in time for 2012. That's something I would love to see the media focus on."
The administration is doing nothing of the kind. For one thing, those with "illegal status" are not in a citizenship process to begin with. Secondly, the process for those who are eligible is not something that can be slowed down or speeded up.
Sen. John McCain recently blamed western forest fires on "illegal immigrants."
Back when California was considering an anti-immigrant law in the 1990's, Molly Ivins was speaking in California relating that, in her native state of Texas, when times were bad, her fellow Texans had blamed just about everybody they could for their dire plight--Jews, liberals, etc.,--but even they never thought to blame the Mexicans.
Sen. John Kyl, incidentally, also from Arizona, said that trees should have been chopped down in advance. These people are in positions of responsibility?