Yesterday more than 700 advocates descended on Capitol Hill to tell Congress: "We cannot wait any longer. America needs to reform immigration now."
Among those hundreds was ROP’s very own newly elected board chair, Kathy Paterno from member group Human Dignity Advocates in Crook County. Kathy is representing ROP as a member of the delegation from Oregon that includes CAUSA, PCUN, and Mujeres Luchadores Progresistas who are in Washington D.C for four days to attend the largest convening of immigration reform advocates and allies of the year.
Kathy carried a letter from ROP to each Congressperson – including an actual face to face with Rep. Walden – and a chance encounter with Sen. Wyden in the hall outside his office while his staff met with the rest of the Oregon team! The letter reads (and full text is below):
"On behalf of the 10,215 households from every county in Oregon that comprise the Rural Organizing Project, we call on you to promote Just and Humane Immigration Reform for our country that respects the inherent human dignity and human rights of all people.
As tensions heighten about the economy, we see an unfortunate division in our state. Our immigrant neighbors, who contribute immensely to our state and country, are facing increasing insecurity and suffering due to broken federal immigration policies. This lack of access to basic civil and labor rights affects all of us through downward pressure on wages and working conditions for US citizens.
In order to pull ourselves out of this economic crisis, we will need every community member’s full participation, as responsible workers, consumers, and taxpayers. Only Just and Humane Immigration Reform can accomplish this."
Kathy said it was disheartening to hear rote responses from Congresspeople, but it left her with an even deeper commitment to the role of the grassroots in making change happen.
"It’s up to us to talk to our neighbors and get our message out. Generally the majority of Americans are supportive of immigration reform, but when you ask them what that means, they’ll say a wall on the border. But when you explain the economic realities of why people come and how families are broken by a system that is broken, then our neighbors begin to understand what immigration reform really means and what it’s gonna take to create real and just immigration reform."
Please take 30 seconds to stand with Kathy and the OR team by sending a free fax to your senators, representative, and congressional leadership right now: http://www.ReformImmigrationFORAmerica.org?p=NCLR
President Obama has said reforming the immigration system is a priority for him, but it’s going to take more than just having the President on our side to win. We need 279 votes to pass comprehensive immigration reform: 218 U.S. Representatives + 60 Senators + the President’s signature.
Here’s to the POWER of grassroots organizing! Together we will make change happen!