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Religious leaders gather on Staten Island for immigration reform

The United States has long had the reputation among immigrants of being a nation of opportunity, but too often families are divided by deportation and struggle from a lack of proper access to medical care and a decent wage. Earlier this month, Staten Island religious leaders from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths got together to draw attention to the need for meaningful immigration reform that doesn't divide the families of undocumented workers.

Immigrants from the boroughs also shared their stories at the meeting, which was held at St. Clare's R.C. Church in Great Kills. One speaker, a woman who has lived on Staten Island for 22 years and who immigrated from Mexico, shared how her family's home in Midland Beach was demolished by Hurricane Sandy. A New Brighton pastor also related how people's immigration status made it difficult for them to access government services in the wake of the storm.

The faith leaders who attended the meeting are working to organize a march in support of immigration reform. The Alliance for Citizenship is sponsoring the march, which is scheduled for April 10 in Washington, D.C. Churches have also been asked to have immigrants speak to congregations about immigration-related issues. There has also been a call for churches to use their resources to facilitate voter registration drives.

By now, the overarching theme of the meeting is, or should be, familiar: families suffer under inadequate immigration laws. To learn more about family and work-related immigration, immigrants in Staten Island and throughout the boroughs are welcome to visit our family-based immigration site.

Source: Staten Island Advance, "In pursuit of immigration reform," March 16, 2013

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