News & Media

Faith leaders petition Sen. Michael Bennet on behalf of immigrants

Human Dignity & Just Immigration Reform

March 26, 2013  |  The Denver Post  |  Link to article

By Colleen O'Connor
The Denver Post

Leaders from Together Colorado, a multi-faith community organization, held a prayer circle for immigration reform outside Sen. Michael Bennet's office on Monday afternoon, and embraced three families who are either on the verge of deportation, or suffering the aftermath of it.

Perla Dominguez, 14, sobbed as she told the crowd on the sidewalk outside the office that she has not seen her father since he was deported four years ago.
"I was a daddy's girl," she said in Spanish. "We were inseparable. No one can replace him."

The group met at Bennet's office because he is one of the so-called "Gang of Eight," a bipartisan group of senators said to be close to agreement on a comprehensive immigration reform bill that will cover everything from a path to citizenship to ways of securing the border.

"He has incredible influence," said Nelson Bock, an ordained Lutheran minister.

Afterward, eight clergy members — from such faith traditions as Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist and Mennonite — went upstairs to Bennet's office to deliver a letter on immigration reform signed by 75 clergy members, along with a stack of 313 postcards.

The letter asked for the pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants to take seven years instead of 13, as is outlined in the Gang of Eight's current draft.

The group met with a staff member who specializes in immigration, and expressed their support for a policy that focuses on keeping families together and minimizes separations caused by long waits for visas, and eliminates "unreasonable restrictions" on travel for education, health care or family emergencies.

They also expressed support for Bennet's efforts on immigration reform.

"We know there's a lot of pressure," Bock said, "and we want to support his stance."