Monday, May 21, 2007

Prayer vigil for immigrant compassion and bureaucracy reform tonight at Legislative Plaza

"We are families, we are people of faith, we are contributors to this community"

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition announced a community prayer vigil to be held at 5pm tonight at Legislative Plaza in downtown Nashville, where immigrants and others will gather in solidarity with one another and in support of a compassionate reform of the federal immigration bureaucracy. The press release is below:

Community Prayer Vigil to Show Support for Compassion Towards Immigrants and for Fair, Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Those present will urge congress to improve the compromise proposal recently announced by U.S. Senate negotiators so that it honors family, faith and hard work

On Monday, May 21, 2007, at 5pm, hundreds of Tennesseans will gather in the Legislative Plaza in downtown Nashville at a large prayer vigil for comprehensive immigration reform. During the vigil, religious leaders from several denominations and faiths will urge Tennessee decision-makers to show compassion for immigrants, and create an immigration system that is more just and humane and recognizes the many contributions immigrants make to this country.

During the vigil, some speakers will speak directly about the recent compromise proposal crafted by U.S. Senate leaders. Those speakers will recognize U.S. Senators of both parties for their recent efforts but will also stress the fact that the proposal needs to be improved.

As Alfonso Alarcon, a Latino community member who is helping plan the vigil states,

“The recent Senate proposal appears to include an important path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, recognizing their work and contribution to America. It is important to finally bring people out of the shadows and allow them to fully participate in their communities. However the deal appears to eliminate the family immigration system; creates a new temporary worker program that would result in a permanent underclass of workers with few rights and no ability to participate in our democracy; and limits immigrant due process rights. These particular measures are anti-family, anti-worker, and fundamentally un-American.”

During the vigil:

Immigrants and their supporters will share the message that immigrants are family-oriented people, people of faith, and people of the community, and that comprehensive immigration reform must honor these American values.
Stephen Fotopulos, Policy Director for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), will discuss the bipartisan compromise on immigration reform announced on May 17 and how it can be improved.

Faith leaders – both immigrant and non-immigrant – are scheduled to speak about issues of faith and belief in an immigration system that acknowledges and rewards hard work and reflects the principles of the American dream.

Marches and rallies occurred across the nation last year and were repeated in lower numbers this year, and Nashville was not among the cities that held a rally earlier this month (story here).

Thousands of people, dressed mostly in white, marched last year in Nashville from the Titans stadium to Legislative Plaza (story here and photos here).

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