FIRM Statement on Welcoming Pope Francis and the Launch of Unity Statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, September 10, 2015CONTACT: Carlos Vogel, (202) 239-2133,

(WASHINGTON)--The following statement is from Sulma Arias, FIRM’s Immigration Field Director on today’s press conference welcoming Pope Francis to America and to launch a Unity Statement to Renew Commitment for Immigration Reform by the Immigrant and Interfaith Movements.

“Today, we gathered with national immigrant rights organizations and faith leaders to welcome Pope Francis to America and to call on the immigrant rights community to renew their commitment for immigration reform. FIRM also calls on all immigrant communities to join on a National Day of Prayer for Immigrant Families, Congress, and for our Nation, and urges presidential candidates to stop the hateful rhetoric against immigrant families.

“The Pope’s visit comes at a critical time when some Presidential candidates have engaged in hateful and anti-immigrant rhetoric against America’ s immigrant community -- rhetoric that runs contrary to the Pope’s message of compassion for immigrant families and refugees in our communities.

“Our diverse immigrant community has contributed blood, sweat and tears to strengthen our American fabric. Despite the many contributions made by our community, millions of families continue to live in legal limbo, in constant fear of separation, and without any certainty as to when they might be able to live without that fear.

“We call on the Latino and immigrant community to sign on to the Unity Statement and join us on a National Day of Prayer on September 24th for immigrant families, Congress, and for our nation.  More than 25 FIRM groups will participate during the National Day of Prayer by holding moments of prayer and silence to call on Members of Congress to put an end to the senseless and inhumane acts against our immigrant communities.

It’s time for all immigrants and those who stand in solidarity with immigrants to stand up for respect for all Americans and register to vote so that our demand for respect is heard on Election Day.”


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