Sadly, the Senate Immigration Bill failed a cloture vote yesterday morning (46/53—it needed 60 votes) and is now dead. This means the House will not be taking up the legislation and it isn’t likely to come back until at least 2009.
There is still much work to be done—holding our policymakers accountable for their lack of courage and leadership on this issue, making sure it remains part of the debate in presidential campaigns, and of course, more education work with faith communities and leaders about this critical issue.
Unfortunately, the workplace raids will continue and families will continue to be torn apart, making our collaboration with the New Sanctuary Movement all the more important. Please keep the millions of our country’s undocumented immigrants in your prayers in the coming month as they go on living in fear. May we not lose hope, but instead may this setback give us more strength and focus to grow the movement for inclusion and justice in this country.
And, thanks for all your support of our immigration work thus far. It has meant, and will continue to mean, a lot.
Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform has released a statement that reads:
It is a sad day in America when partisan politics can sideline one of the most important pieces of legislation to reach the U.S. Congress in years. Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform joins immigrant rights’ supporters around the country to express our extreme disappointment at the defeat of Senate immigration bill S 1639. What we saw in the United States Senate reinforces the polarization of our political system and condones xenophobia both in our country’s policies and rhetoric. We saw the defeat of reason, compromise and reconciliation.
As a result of these political games, the 12 million immigrants living in the shadows of our nation will continue in limbo, living in fear of deportation and separation from family. The legislation may have been defeated, but the issue is far from dead. Families are still in jeopardy, workers are still being exploited and the border is far from secure. As Christian churches, organizations and leaders, we are more committed than ever to holding our politicians accountable to the values they profess of family integrity and economic progress. We will continue our work in serving the needs of immigrant families and are merely beginning our campaign to appeal to the hearts and minds of Americans to do as Jesus instructed us, to welcome the stranger in our midst.
Patty Kupfer is the Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform campaign coordinator at Sojourners/Call to Renewal.