AN INVITATION AND URGENT APPEAL FROM DAVID LESLIE,
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon (EMO), Executive Director
Please join us in mobilizing for the Wednesday, July 21, Isaiah 58 noon vigil in support of the people of Arizona, immigrant rights and comprehensive immigration reform.
The Isaiah 58 Prayer Vigil in Portland at noon on July 21 in the North Park Blocks is a critically important gathering to share our collective religious perspectives on immigration reform and the divisive impact that fear-based legislation has on all people in a community, and to offer support to all those struggling with the fallout from these anti-immigrant efforts. View flyer with the event details.
Through our ministries and services at EMO, I see daily the needs and challenges that immigrants and refugees face in our communities. As the chair of the National Council of Churches/Church World Service Task Force on Immigration, I also see similar needs and issues throughout the country. In Arizona, for example, on the eve of the implementation of SB 1070 (which has been characterized as one of the most restrictive state immigration laws in the country), many immigrants are moving out of state or not calling law enforcement officials when they are victims of crimes or domestic violence for fear of arrest or deportation. In addition, many religious organizations and nonprofits that routinely work with and serve immigrants are uncertain about the bill's impact, fearful of the punitive costs if they are accused of serving, hiring or transporting someone who may be undocumented.
Other troubling developments include the announcement in a news report that a list is circulating in Utah with the names and personal information of some 1,300 people who are supposedly undocumented. The people compiling the names believe those listed need to "be deported immediately." This is a very disturbing incident that runs contrary to the values we hold sacred as people of God and a gross civil rights violation. Additionally, there are local initiatives being developed like the one that passed recently in Fremont, Nebraska, that would make it illegal to hire or rent to an undocumented person. Similar initiatives are being circulated in Oregon, and other states are considering SB 1070-like legislation. These actions do not further the just treatment of people who are undocumented, the enforcement of current immigration laws or the comprehensive reform of our nation's immigration policies.
The vigil in Portland on July 21 is an important opportunity to call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, to express our support for our brothers and sisters in Arizona as they deal with the fallout from SB 1070, and to stand together as people of faith in support of immigrant populations who are becoming the target of dehumanizing rhetoric and fear-driven action.
Please post the vigil flyer, spread the word throughout your congregation and community, and be present.
Thank you very much for your consideration to this invitation, and if you have any questions or need additional information, please contact me at (503) 221-1054 or firstname.lastname@example.org.