Archived: Activists Call on Religious Community to Rally Around Immigration Reform


Carrying life-like statues of Jesus Christ, a group of activists calling for immigration reform and an end to immigration raids, gathered outside Our Lady Queen of the Angels Church at La Placita Olvera on Monday to ask for support and blessings for their efforts leading into this year’s May 1 National Day of Action march and protest.

Before the church’s traditional “El Dia de la Candelaria-The Candlemass Festivity,” leaders from Hermandad Mexicana Trans-Nacional, the March 25 Coalition and other activists, presented their posters for the march to Rev. Father Richard Estrada for his blessing.

“We unite with a single voice to ask for what’s just, the legalization of all immigrants,” said Fr. Estrada, who added that it’s important to deepen faith and righteous anger.

It is not unusual for supporters of immigration reform and other issues related to human and civil rights causes, to call on religious leaders and religious doctrine to advance their efforts.

Fr. Estrada is a long time supporter of the immigration reform movement, and his church in the heart of Los Angeles, has often been at the center of immigration struggle and the religious sanctuary movement.

Javier Rodriguez of the March 25 coalition, said that the candlemass is a tradition based on the first time the baby Jesus entered a church with his mother, the Virgin Mary. The event, he said, symbolizes the innocent children who are the most affected by the on-going raids he and others say divide families through immigration detention and deportation.

“Baby Jesus symbolizes hundreds of thousands of undocumented children who need legalization and it also symbolizes the 3.5 million kids born in the U.S. to undocumented parents who need the security of knowing that President Obama will carry out his promise to put an end to the raids,” said Rodriguez.

Gloria Saucedo, director of Hermandad Mexicana Trans-Nacional, said that they were taking advantage of the day to ask for an illuminating light to guide their path and to offer themselves to God so he may use them to bring about immigration reform this year.

Saucedo said that they, along with hundreds of groups across the country, have already sent letters to President Barack Obama urging him to move quickly on his promise to secure immigration reform, legalization for undocumented residents and an end to the ICE raids.

Rodriguez told EGP that on July 10th of last year, Obama promised to put an end to the raids and deportations, and to bring about comprehensive immigration reform. He said the issue is number six on the president’s top 10 list.

“We are in a good position, but Congressmen Luis Gutierrez and Javier Becerra have told us that if we don’t apply pressure and rise up, we will be left ‘out of the game’ in the first year,” said Rodriguez.

Last year on May 1, three separate marches united at Broadway and First Street into one large march. Rodriguez said this year they are planning four marches that will meet up in downtown Los Angeles.

We want “humane and progressive immigration reform” in 2009, said Jorge Rodriguez, interim director of public affairs for Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 300, on Monday.

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1 Comment

  1. We U.S Citizens want Humane treatment of our American Workers and immigration reform through Enforcement and ending chain migration.

    1986 Amnesty was a COMPLETE failure, because Enforcement was not REALIZED and now we have more ILLEGAL ALIENS than every before!
    “in the first year of democratic majority rule, Nelson Mandela’s government expelled almost 60,000 undocumented migrants, most of whom were from neighboring Mozambique. ” – President Obamas role model. “South Africa has shown that a country determined to put its own citizens’ interests first will deport illegal aliens in numbers. Yet its example is ignored by those who say “it can’t be done”. The answer is: “Yes it can”. It can even be done creatively.”

    We need the SAVE ACT and E-verify used for every business and NOT Amnesty for criminals.

    E-verify does not discriminate against RACE, Religion, SEX or physically capability only your Citizenship and your LEGAL right to be and work in United States. If we can stop Predatory business owners from hiring then the Illegal Aliens will not Stay and return to their native Countries.

    This ISSUE is not about RACE, but Governments Federal/State/LOCAL not doing their jobs, because big and small business owners want cheap workers and no labor laws to bother with……Its called GREED!

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