WASHINGTON – One of the priorities of Hispanic Catholic ministry leaders is achieving social justice for the community. On April 27, they used their feet and their voices to advocate for immigration reform.
Around 400 of those leaders are in the nation’s capital for the Sixth National Congress of Hispanic Ministry Raíces y Alas.
The leaders talked to their U.S. senators, either in person or virtually, urging them to address the root causes of migration from Central America and to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented essential workers and DACA recipients.
They held these meetings either through Zoom from their conference hotel are they visited their senator’s office.
The leaders from the San Diego Diocese included Bishop Robert McElroy, Chancellor “Marioly” Galván and Rodrigo Valdivia, the Vice-Moderator of the Curia.
Galván met at the Capitol with a staff member of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who was not available because she was attending the funeral of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Valdivia and the other leaders from California met through Zoom with two staff members from the office of Sen. Alex Padilla, who also was not available.
At the meetings, the delegates shared personal stories and asked the senators to address with urgency the immigration issue.
In the afternoon, the leaders traveled to the Capitol by bus to participate in a press conference that raised awareness of the issue from a variety of perspectives. Two members of the House, a Democrat and Republican, stressed that it was possible to work in a bipartisan way to achieve meaningful reform.
Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville, from the Archdiocese of Washington, led off the speakers. He is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration.
“For decades, Catholics and others of good will in the United States have been advocating for a just and comprehensive immigration reform — a reform that recognizes the God-given dignity of every person in our nation, citizens and non-citizens alike,” he said.
“Our current immigration system is burdensome, expensive, inefficient, and far too often creates human suffering, forcing millions to live in the shadows. But Congress has the power, responsibility, and support to address these issues in a positive and bipartisan way.
“That’s why hundreds of men and women of faith from across our country have assembled in our nation’s capital today as participants in Raíces y Alas to encourage action.
“And while we might have come to the center of our nation’s political life, our work here today is not political, nor partisan. We come in prayer to ask members of Congress — Republicans and Democrats — to work together to create solutions we all long to see.
“We bring with us stories of hope, fear, loss and longing, but also a single, unified message: Immigration reform cannot wait any longer.”