On the Road Organizing for Immigration Reform

Mistead Sai |

“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” 

—Leviticus 19: 33-34

During the last few weeks I have been setting up district meetings in Pennsylvania with community members interested in helping out on the campaign for immigration reform. IWJ's Board President the Rev. Paul Sherry, former President of the United Church of Christ joined me on this road trip! We're expecting to hit four districts in four days as part of IWJ’s effort to move comprehensive immigration reform forward in key swing districts areas throughout the country.

Penn State imm meetingOur first stop. State College, Pa.

In State College, Paul, his lovely wife, Mary and I met with a student group leader and the student group advisor of Student Works At Penn State (SWAPS). This newly founded Penn State student group is mobilizing and educating students to achieve progressive change both locally and nationally. They believe students are the future of the labor force and should advocate for fair working conditions and policies that strengthen the middle class. SWAPS students are advocating for worker rights and immigration reform.

In a conference room of the Keller Building of Penn State, we conversed about the current issues surrounding immigration reform, and how we can collaboratively work to encourage our legislators in Congress to vote in favor of the eleven million undocumented immigrants.

Undocumented immigrants are facing hazardous working conditions and labor disputes by employers who are using their immigration status to threaten and intimidate workers from unionizing, organizing and speaking out. It’s really sad to think such things happen in the land of immigrants, but it’s sadly true.

As a US-2 missionary for the United Methodist Church working with IWJ, I try to contextualize my experience in the lens of faith, especially when it comes to immigration, I think that we should do as the Bible proscribed, we should welcome the stranger and sojourner in our mist for we were once strangers in the land of Egypt, and once strangers in the nation we’ve come to love.

To simply put it, Paul Sherry said it best during our State College convening, “People are hurting so badly. It’s about getting back to what it means to be Christian.”

On this year’s World Day of Prayer focused on migration, I pray that the broken immigration system will provide the millions of immigrants with the justice they deserve and that their deeply sacred worth is recognized.

Click here to download IWJ's Prayer for the Immigrant to use and share with your faith community for this year's World Day of Prayer

All Christians should remember one of the greatest commandments of all, to love their neighbor, because like Matthews 25:40, “ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

On this World Day of Prayer, I ask you to pray for the millions of immigrant workers striving to provide for families and live honorably for you were once strangers in the same predicament.