On Saturday, March 29th, we first drove to the Chagrin Falls Library to attend a presentation called “Immigration Reform: Where do you stand?” which was conducted by our friend, Sister Rita Marie Harwood, SND, who is Secretariat for Parish Life and Development of the Diocese of Cleveland. Sister Mary brought several other people with her to assist in the presentation which focused on the history of immigration, the need for immigration reform in the U.S. and the various bills pending in Congress regarding this matter.
Among the attendees was a man from St. Mary’s Church in Painesville, whose congregation is 50% Hispanic and many of whom are undocumented. He discussed the situations that he had witnessed and the contributions that these immigrants have made to the local community.
Another participant was an immigration attorney from Migration and Refugee Services wing of Catholic Charities who discussed current bills pending in Congress pertaining to immigration reform. She said she was glad that SB744 passed the Senate because, even though she didn’t like the fact that one of the key provisions was more border enforcement, she believes that it is still the best possibility at this time because it increases the number of skilled worker visas to be allotted and offers a path to citizenship for many. The house version of this bill is HR 15 which is currently stalled, even though it enjoys a lot of support, and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere at this time.
The program concluded with Sister Rita and her colleagues urging the audience to contact their representatives in Congress and encourage them to support comprehensive immigration reform. What’s more, all of the attendees were given a folder containing several informative articles about immigration so that they might educate themselves on this topic. Even though the entire program was less than two hours, it was very well structured and very thought-provoking.