Midwest Summit Mobilizes Faith Community for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Posted on Mon, Sep 15, 2008 at 15:47 pm

(Columbus, OH)– Faith-based leaders and advocates from more than 20 religious denominations and 17 states met late last week at the Midwest Interfaith Immigration Summit in Columbus, Ohio to learn how to engage and mobilize their communities in support of fair and humane immigration reform. The Interfaith Immigration Coalition, a partnership of faith-based organizations committed to enacting comprehensive immigration reform , and local partners convened the Midwest Summit to stress the importance of the faith community as a moral voice in the immigration debate.

In light of the recent raids, deportations, and anti-immigrant ordinances impacting local communities, immigrant rights advocates are embarking on an aggressive campaign to reach out to the grassroots level in preparation for the next round of immigration reform. The summit equipped participants with advocacy trainings and tools to be able to work across state and faith lines in a coordinated effort for more a humane and just immigration regime.

HIAS Vice Chair Sandy Spinner, of Cincinnati, who attended the summit, said: “For me, the summit brought together people of good faith and integrity whose only motive is humane and just treatment of our fellow humans. Knowing that there are so many of us, who by coming together strengthen and energize each other, has been a revelation.”

One of the local organizers, Dee Stickley-Miner, Director of Mission of Justice for the West Ohio Conference for the United Methodist Church, stated, “Within the current climate of fear, there really is a substantial amount of positive energy working for humane immigration reform and against destructive policies like raids. This summit has been incredibly successful at creating a sense of ownership on this issue and expanding the momentum.”

The event was made possible in part by grants from the Open Society Institute and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which were administered by HIAS.