; charset=UTF-8" /> Border Immersion with the Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders : Connecting Voices
Free hacker tools

Border Immersion with the Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders

     On February 26 and February 27, a delegation of distinguished Los Angeles faith leaders visited the U.S. – Mexico border at San Diego– Tijuana to on an information gathering tour to survey the border environment in order to better understand the complexities and challenges of immigration reform. In Mexico, faith leaders met with immigration reform advocates, public policy experts, immigration attorneys and heard personal testimony from persons adversely affected by American immigration laws, particularly those displaced from family members still living in the United States, as part of The Los Angeles Council of Religious Leader’s (LACRL) “One Voice For Comprehensive Immigration Reform” initiative.

     The delegation, led by LACRL President and Regional Director of AJC Los Angeles, Rabbi Mark Diamond united a delegation more than 25 faith and community leaders including the Right Rev. Mary D. Glasspool, bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese, Father Alexei Smith of the Catholic Archdiocese, Rev. Linda Culbertson of the Presbytery of the Pacific, Rev. Gary Keene of the United Methodist Church Rev. Linda Jaramillo, Executive Minster of the United Church of Christ (UCC) Justice & Witness Ministries and Rev. Felix C. Villanueva, Conference Minister of the Southern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ.

SCNC Delegation: Keith Clark, Rev. Felix Villanueva, Rev. Linda Jaramillo, Rev. Carlos Correa Bernier

     “According to biblical tradition, strangers are to be welcomed and valued,’” said Rabbi Diamond. “This notion is not limited to any one faith or ethnic community—it is a shared multi-faith obligation to those who flee persecution, wish to reunite with their families, or simply seek the freedom and opportunity that we cherish in America,” continued Rabbi Diamond. “Our immigration system is badly broken and action is urgent. In addition to shining a light on the harsh realities of this problem, the study tour provided our interfaith delegation an invaluable opportunity to witness firsthand how severely broken our system has become and explore the complexities of this issue, including national security concerns and the plight of immigrant communities.”

Rabbi Mark Diamond and Father Alexei Smith peering through the border fence

The delegation crossed the U.S. – Mexico border at the San Ysidro, the world’s busiest land border crossing, where U.S. Interstate 5, just south of San Diego, crosses into Mexico at Tijuana. In Mexico, the delegation visited a number of significant locations including the community of Chilpancingo, an extremely impoverished area home to high numbers of U.S. Deportees, many of whom are children.  Leaders also surveyed the U.S. – Mexico “border fence” at several points along the border, including the recently completed section that runs the fence into the Pacific Ocean and visited Casa de Las Pobres (House of the Poor), a safe haven for many women and children affected by deportation and separation from family members in the United States.

     “Of all the memorable experiences we shared, one stands most vividly in my memory:  while at Casa del los Pobres, Sister and I spoke privately in Spanish, and she shared with me that what she and the others Sisters there offer most to those who come to Casa for assistance is simply a ‘listening ear’ – the opportunity for one human being to respect the dignity of another human being who happens to be in great need by looking them in the eye and listening to them,” said Father Alexei. “In this whole quest for immigration reform, perhaps we can all learn something from these wonderful nuns.”

Whole Delegation

     “It is a powerful witness to the world at large when leaders of different faiths join together to explore the issues and corporately call on our government for extensive immigration reform,” said Bishop Glasspool. “Our interfaith pilgrimage across the border into Tijuana, Mexico left me with an incredible range of emotions—outrage, shame, compassion, love, deep sorrow, and beyond the feelings, the determination to do all that I can to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform,” Bishop Glasspool continued. “As a person of faith, I am bound to share with others what I experienced first-hand, and to work hard to help all people live their lives with the dignity and respect due to a Child of God, which is to say, every human being.”

     The Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders includes judicatory officials from: AJC Los Angeles (The American Jewish Committee), the Armenian Apostolic Church – Western Diocese, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Pacific Southwest Region, the Church of the Brethren Pacific Southwest Division, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Southwest Synod, the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the United Church of Christ Southern California Nevada Conference, and the United Methodist Church Los Angeles Area.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free