Interfaith Prayer Day for Immigration Reform with the Chicago New Sanctuary Coalition

Showing their support for the passage of a Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, participants from across the Chicago area gathered on Tuesday, May 28 2013 for a prayer session, press conference and meetings with staff members from Senator Durbin and Senator Kirk’s offices. Participants included religious leaders, members of various faith-based organizations and families fighting deportation.

immigration gatheringCalled to prayer, the “ask” from participants was for a “holy boldness” to address the inherent indignities of our current immigration system.  This need was personified in the testimony of Lourdes, a mother of four, who is facing deportation this week.  While three of her children have qualified to stay here in the United States, they would have to choose to do so without their mother or choose to return with her, leaving behind the only life they have known.  Lourdes broke into tears as she tried to tell her story.

If deportations continue at the current rate, there is the potential for 2 million people to have been deported during the Obama administration alone – Lourdes is just one of too many .

Following the prayer session and press conference, participants walked to the Federal building. While seven speakers met with Senator Durbin’s staff, the remaining group waited outside the building, as instructed by security.  The delegation asked that Durbin make a call to President Obama to put a stop to deportations as we get nearer to the possibility of immigration reform.

After the delegation with Senator Durbin, participants reconvened in the lobby, where they waited for a representative from Senator Kirk’s office.  Participants observed the symbolism between the extended amount of time that they waited to speak to a representative and the overall pace of the legal immigration system.  Also noteworthy was the number of steps (and, often obstacles) that the group had to move through in order to eventually speak with an elected official’s staff.

The group asked that Kirk take a stance in support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, demonstrating the broad-based support for such reform in faith-based communities.  Rabbi Ali Abrams of JCUA delivered a letter with the signatures of nearly 20 Illinois rabbis urging Senator Kirk to support immigration reform.

The next couple of weeks are a crucial time for the Senate bill on immigration reform and JCUA will continue to push our Senators for the most compassionate, just, and comprehensive bill possible.

For more information on getting involved, please contact Rabbi Ali Abrams at

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