The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus and the Rev. Richard Smith meet with Nancy Pelosi on Immigration Reform

The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus and the Rev. Richard Smith, vicar, St. John the Evangelist, San Francisco, met with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Friday, June 21, to discuss immigration reform legislation now working its way through Congress.

The meeting, organized by the Bay Area Coalition for Immigration Reform, included representatives from faith, labor, and grassroots community organizations. It included a sharing of personal stories, political and legal analysis, and concrete strategizing. Prominent in the discussion were the faith values that require keeping families together and providing a path to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans.

The meeting was held as the House of Representatives, following the Senate, is preparing its own immigration reform bill. 

Although both the Senate and House versions of the bill are likely to benefit important sectors of the economy such as technology, the Rev. Smith noted that the measure of any good legislation is how it will benefit the poor. Leader Pelosi agreed that the legislation must acknowledge national values, including respect for the dignity of families and individuals. She added that, although she was “not madly in love with” either version of the bill, some tradeoffs may be needed to make some progress. One of the more lamentable tradeoffs is likely to be a massive shoring up of border security requiring funds that could otherwise make the path to citizenship more affordable for poor immigrant families.

Pelosi encouraged participants to remain vigilant and actively critical of both Republicans and Democrats as the bill emerges.

A press conference after the roundtable was closed by Bishop Andrus with an apt blessing from Paul’s Letter to the Romans:

Go forth into the world in peace;
Be of good courage;
Hold fast to that which is good;
Render unto no one evil for evil;
Strengthen the fainthearted;
Support the weak;
Comfort the afflicted;
Be patient with everyone,
But make no peace with oppression.
Let no one be outcast;
Let no one be alien;
Related to everyone as to the Savior Christ himself.
Love and serve the Lord;
Rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit;
And the blessing of All that Is Holy be with you forever. Amen.