Friday Night Vigil Draws Attention to Family Immigration Laws

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Vigil for Family Immigration reform

Organizers believe that immigration reform needs to protect families and hopes their vigil will bring more attention to the cause.

On Friday evening, Long Beach families will start Mother’s Day weekend with a vigil for a stronger immigration reform bill, one that unites families and protects family visas. The bill currently before the U.S. Senate trades visas that allow family members to reunite in exchange for work visas. As a result U.S. citizens will no longer be able to get visas for parents, adult children or siblings.

Greater Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization (ICO) believes that we need to create a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans that continues to allow people to reunite with their family. We are asking for legislation that protects family visas, shortens the time frame of the proposed path to citizenship and eliminates unreasonable obstacles to citizenship, including high fees and fines and unrealistic income and employment requirements. Our Senators and Representatives must become vocal advocates for a stronger and fairer immigration policy. 

At Friday’s vigil, families will bring pictures, flowers and stories of loved ones separated from them by immigration status. Local congregations will lead people in prayer and reflection on our immigration policy and the need to strengthen the Senate proposal. People will also sign and send letters to their elected officials.

The Prayer Vigil for Stronger and Fairer Immigration Reform will take place in Bluff Park, Ocean Blvd. and Redondo Ave., Long Beach (across from Our Lady of the Ocean Statue) on Friday, May 10, 2013 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Greater Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization (ICO) works with 12 Long Beach congregations representing 12,000 families and is a part of the PICO National Network with 50 congregation-based organizations across the country. Over the last few months PICO organizations have held dozens of vigils and community meetings supporting a pathway to citizenship. In addition to working on air quality and health care issues, ICO leaders have made a pathway to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans and reuniting families a top priority. Our national immigration policy should not pit the needs of families against those of businesses.

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