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Praying for Immigration Reform

August 30, 2013

On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the “I Have a Dream” speech, the Clerics of St. Viator and the Sisters of the Living Word collaborated on a different social justice event: a prayer service for comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform.

“It’s interesting that we gather on this historic day,” said Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, provincial of the Viatorian Province of Chicago. “This is one more dream we share.”

Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, provincial

Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, provincial

Timed before Congress returns to Washington and members of the House of Representatives take up immigration reform, the religious communities gathered to pray for a consensus on comprehensive and compassionate reform.Several Representatives from the Northwest suburbs were invited, including Tammy Duckworth, Dan Lipinski, Mike Quigley, Peter Roskam, Jan Schakowsky and Brad Scheider.

Michael Trajkovich, a constituent advocate for Rep. Roskam, attended the service and thanked organizers afterwards for holding it.

“I’m here to listen and bring these stories back to the Congressman,” Trajkovich said.

Sr. Lisa Polega, SLW

Sr. Lisa Polega, SLW

Both religious communities are based in Arlington Heights and work in a variety of ways to support immigrant families, and particularly those who are undocumented and seek a pathway to citizenship.

They join with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in calling for a reform in the nation’s immigration system. Specifically they request legislation that:

  • Provides a path to citizenship for undocumented persons
  • Preserves family unity as a cornerstone of our national immigration system
  • Provides legal paths for low-skilled immigrant workers to come and work in the U.S.
  • Restores due process protections to our immigration enforcement policies
  • Addresses the root causes of migration, such as persecution and economic disparity