Interfaith Immigration Coalition Ltr: Support Reuniting Families Act

June 4, 2009

Dear Member of Congress,

On behalf of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, we applaud Senators Menendez (DNJ), Gillibrand (D-NY), Kennedy (D-MA) and Schumer (D-NY) for introducing S. 1085, the Reuniting Families Act, legislation that would take important steps in helping immigrant families reunite more quickly and protect families from being separated. We urge you to join as a co-sponsor to this important piece of legislation.

In many faith traditions, family is the fundamental unit in society through which individuals are able to grow and experience the love of God. We regularly hear from individuals about how they long to be with their loved ones but are prevented from reunifying on a timely basis by our immigration system. For example, current immigration laws require some U.S. citizens to wait more than two decades to be with their close family members. Moreover, spouses and minor children of green card holders must wait as long as seven years to receive a visa to join their families in the United States. As groups committed to promoting family unity, we are concerned that the long delays in the family reunification process are having a detrimental impact on the stability and well-being of American communities.

The Reuniting Families Act would help to reduce the time that some family members must wait before being able to join their loved ones. The bill would also give the government authority to ameliorate hardship faced by families who might otherwise be forced apart by current immigration laws.

Family unity has long been a fundamental principle of U.S. immigration policy and we believe it must remain a critical component of our country’s immigration system in the future. The immigration system should be reformed to reunite families as quickly as possible.

The United States prides itself on being a nation that supports family values, yet the current immigration system forces families to wait much too long to be together. The Reuniting Families Act would alleviate pressure on U.S. borders, allow more immigrants to utilize legal immigration channels, and continue to foster the development of vibrant American communities. For all these reasons, we urge you to co-sponsor S. 1085.

Sincerely,

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
American Jewish Committee
Church World Service, Immigration and Refugee Program
The Episcopal Church
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
Irish Apostolate USA
Jesuit Conference
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS)
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS)
Mennonite Central Committee Washington Office
The National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
NETWORK, a Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
World Relief