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NY’s Human Stake: Immigration Reform & State of the Union

January 28, 2014

NEW YORK – More than 600,000 undocumented New Yorkers and their supporters have a human stake in tonight's State of the Union address and what President Barack Obama says about immigration reform.

After getting only part way to his goal in 2013, some wonder whether Obama will renew his call for comprehensive reform.

But there is no doubt about it, according to Jim Wallis, founder of the faith in action group Sojourners.

"I think he will raise this tonight,” Wallis says. “It's a high priority for the president, and I think it's a social movement now.

“Doing something right, doing something for the common good and doing it together – I think that's very possible now."

Wallis says he expects the faith community in New York and the nation to play an even greater role this year, and he believes a comprehensive immigration reform plan will be passed in the next six months.

Patrick Young, program director of the immigrant advocacy group CARECEN, says the Republican Party leadership seems to be getting the message that's been clear in regional polling – that 8 in 10 New Yorkers want a reasonable solution.

"We know that John Boehner in the House has been a major roadblock, but we believe that he's going to come out with principles for immigration reform in advance of the president's State of the Union address," Young says.

Wallis stresses the key will be keeping the pressure on lawmakers for change from all sectors of society.

"It's bad for the economy,” he maintains. “That's why businesses want to change it. It's bad for safety and security.

“It's especially bad for families – moms and dads and kids who are being separated by this terrible system."

Wallis says a Fast for Families America Tour will visit 100 congregational districts to raise awareness about the human costs of the broken immigration system.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY