Civil Rights of Immigrants
“When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the stranger. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the stranger as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” – Leviticus 19:33-34
America’s people of faith have witnessed how our country’s broken immigration system has separated countless families and compromised the dignity of millions of decent people.
That witness inspired the Gamaliel to launch its Civil Rights of Immigrants campaign, whose goals are to enact smart and fair policies that affect immigrants locally and to win Comprehensive Immigration Reform nationally.
Gamaliel, began work on the immigration issue as early as 1996 by opposing the Immigrant Responsibility Act (IRA), and continuing that work throughout 2001, in spite of the country’s focus shift due to the terrorist attacks in September of that year. Since those early beginnings, Gamaliel has renewed its participation in events to draw attention to the issue of immigrant rights. At the start of 2010, Gamaliel affiliates began a National Prayer Vigil Campaign to win Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The campaign involved weekly public prayer vigils in front of the offices of members of Congress. Gamaliel leaders used these moments of public prayer to call on members of Congress to support Comprehensive Immigration Reform, and to stress the dire need for reform. The campaign has escalated to a series of Civil Disobedience actions, in coalition with other social justice organizations.
Collaboration with Allies
We know that to help struggling immigrants we must collaborate with many organizations and coalitions. We are proud to work with unions, non-profits, policy institutes, coalitions, etc. Collaboration is important and challenging. While we may share overarching goals, we do not agree with our allies on every single issue or strategy. Our work is to find common ground where we work together for the common good, especially on those matters that most affect the poor and the marginalized in our midst, “the least” of my brethren. As an example, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) has been an important voice for reform and has done much to advance this issue. However, Gamaliel ended its membership in FIRM in 2010, when the coalition took a position that would have divided our membership.
Dream for All Campaign