Postcard Campaign for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

By Victoria Clarizio
Staff Writer

In the coming weeks Marywood will be participating in the Postcard Campaign for Comprehensive Immigration Reform which is being sponsored by Justice for Immigrants, a campaign started by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops(USCCB). This campaign grew from the belief that the immigration system in the United States is flawed and in need of major reform.

The main principles of this campaign for Comprehensive Immigration Reform include:

  • A broad based legalization (permanent residency) of the undocumented of all nationalities
  • Reform of our family-based immigration system to allow family members to reunite with loved ones in the United States
  • Reform of the employment-based immigration system to provide legal pathways for migrants to come and work in a safe, humane, and orderly manner
  • Abandonment of the border “blockade” enforcement strategy.
  • Restoration of due process protections for immigrants.

In order to educate citizens and make policy makers aware of this issue, the Postcard Campaign has been launched.  Anyone wishing to participate in this campaign fills out a card which includes the main points of reformation that the Catholic Bishops are pushing for.  There are three postcards; two for the senators and one for the representative.  Marywood will be participating in this campaign and is encouraging students to fill out cards to send to their senators and representatives.  Sr. Donna Korba, Director of Justice and Peace at the I.H.M. Center, encourages all students to participate saying, “this is a way that voters can make it known that this is important.”  She also encourages students to learn about their local representative’s stance on immigration.  For those students who are not local, they can send the postcards home themselves or send them to Justice for Immigrants, who will take care of distributing them to the correct senators and representatives.  There is also an option to fill out the postcard electronically on the Justice for Immigrants website, www.justiceforimmigrants.org, and have it sent by email directly to your local law makers.  As part of our participation, there will be an effort to educate students about the different aspects of immigration and the need for reformation.  Anyone wishing to be involved in these efforts can contact Sister John Michelle Southwick, Assistant Director of Campus Ministry.

The Catholic Church’s stance on immigration reform is derived directly from Catholic Social Teachings which stress the dignity of the human person.  The USCCB recognizes the right of countries to protect their borders but believes this should be done in a humane way.  Surprisingly, terrorists almost always enter the country legally, with a visa and proper documentation.  People attempting to cross the Mexican border are often treated brutally, which is simply not necessary.  The sad truth is that many immigrants are running from desolate situations in their home countries which simply, “force them to look for other ways of survival,” Sr. Donna stated about the reasons why people emigrate.

In 2003 the Catholic Bishops of the United States and Mexico wrote a letter entitled Strangers no Longer:  Together on a Journey of Hope.  This was their first admission of the fact that the system is broken.  The letter outlines the exact ways in which U.S. immigration laws and policies need to be changed in order to be more just.  From this the Justice for Immigrants campaign was born.  Unfortunately since then, the issues of immigration reform have taken a back burner to other conflicts and concerns.  Recently immigration has come to the forefront of the public mind though.  President Obama has promised to put immigration reform back on the table for discussion and finally get something passed.  The USCCB and Justice for Immigrants is taking full advantage of the resurgence of attention on an issue they give the utmost importance.  Sister Donna is “sure that this is going to be an issue soon.”  The Postcard Campaign will let Washington know that the American people care about this issue and that it is something that needs to be seriously considered.  In fact, over one million postcards have already been distributed throughout the nation and Marywood will soon be added to that number.

Do you want to have an influence on public policy and the government?  This campaign is the perfect way for your voice to be heard.