Are 12 million people living in fear and hiding in the shadows a priority for President Obama? In essence, that was the question discussed today by Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The three year old coalition, primarily evangelical in nature, re-launched the campaign in order to pressure the Obama administration to make C.I.R a priority in 2009. Without a doubt, if immigration reform does not take place in the next 12 months, the consequences, morally and politically cannot be ignored.
First, Embedded within last November's historic election lays a clarion call and a prophetic supplication for national unity accompanied by an alignment of our core values; values that include both security and compassion, the rule of law and welcoming the stranger, mercy and justice.
In addition, the President throughout his campaign and recently in his address to the Hispanic Congressional Caucus gave his word to the immigrant and Hispanic community that Comprehensive Immigration Reform will take place this year. In essence, the President's word is on the line particularly with the Hispanic community, a critical demographic necessary for the 2010 midterm elections and re-election in 2012. The same Hispanic American electorate that punished the Republican Party in 2008 for a perceived xenophobic thread can equally castigate the Democratic Party in the upcoming elections.
Correspondingly, the sense of urgency stems from the political fact that it would be difficult to engage Blue Dog Democrats, Conservative Democrats, in favor of C.I.R in the same year they stand for re-election. This is why almost all political analysts concluded that the window for successful passage of immigration reform legislation lies within the timeline of the next 9 months.
More importantly, the moral and spiritual condition of our nation is at stake. Every day that passes without Comprehensive Immigration Reform adds tarnish to the soul of our Nation. The question arises, can this nation be saved?
Salvation will come when our President remembers the 12: The 12 million people living in the shadows, 12 million hiding in fear, 12 million without rights, 12 million without a nation, 12 million without legal covering, 12 million not knowing if today is the day they will be separated from their children. Twelve million people living in a land without the opportunity of ever experiencing the fullness of life, embracing the hope of liberty or pursuing the promise of happiness. Yet these 12 million carry one common commodity: Hope.
Hope that the President that ignited a movement and ushered in change will bring down the walls of political expediency and incorporate within immigration reform the bridge to assimilation and a pathway to the American Dream. Hope that this President and this Congress who stand committed to saving the auto industries, our banks, homeowners and health care will similarly apply that saving grace and spirit to these 12 million souls . Hope and Faith that this President will make immigration reform a priority in 2009.
At the end of the day, the next few months will either see Hope make a pathway or Fear shut the doors. My prayer is that one year from now we can say Hope silenced despair, faith triumphed over fear and our Nation's soul was saved once more.