On July 26, 2011, Gamaliel Executive Director Ana Garcia-Ashley will engage in civil disobedience at the White House to demand executive action to end harsh and cruel immigration policies.
I am ready to be arrested today at the gates of the White House because my faith demands it. I am a fourth-generation Catholic whose family fled to the United States to escape violence in the Dominican Republic. I believe in the sanctity of family. I believe in a God who is always on the side of justice, never of cruelty. I see how our broken immigration system is destroying countless lives and families. My faith will not let me stay silent.
Gamaliel clergy, faith, and community leaders have been fighting for years for comprehensive immigration reform that reflects our faith values. The Obama administration can begin that reform today through executive action. I am joining hundreds at the White House gates and tens of thousands more across the United States to demand an immediate moratorium on the deportation of DREAMers—young people who were brought to the United States without documentation through no fault of their own—an end to the failed ICE-access programs 287(g) and S-COMM, and a repudiation of the mandatory E-Verify bills currently moving through Congress.
Twenty-five years ago, Gamaliel trained and mentored a young community organizer named Barack Obama. Today, President Obama needs to listen to the community voices he helped lift up decades ago. Executive action is the first step toward solving the national immigration crisis that is tearing apart families and lives.
“I was a stranger, and you welcomed me,” Jesus said in the parable of the Last Judgment. This is the spirit that all Americans of faith and conscience—beginning with our president—should take toward the millions of hardworking immigrants in our midst.