warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Members Of San Francisco’s Catholic Community Campaign For Immigration Reform

Sarah Parvini |
January 20, 2013 | 8:24 p.m. PST

Deputy Editor

The group advocates a reform plan that involves a worker program and addressing the root causes of migration. (Sarah Parvini)
The group advocates a reform plan that involves a worker program and addressing the root causes of migration. (Sarah Parvini)

A crowd of about 50 people gathered at St. Peter’s Church in San Francisco Sunday afternoon, discussing the role faith plays in immigration reform. 

The “Campaign for Citizenship” presentation, co-hosted by the San Francisco Organization Project and the San Francisco archdiocese, focused on how “people of faith” could assist in the organization’s fight to extend citizenship rights to the near 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States. 

Immigration is among the top issues championed by San Francisco’s new archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone, who vowed to support the immigrant population after being appointed last July.  

His sentiments echo that of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which officially opposes "enforcement only" immigration policies and supports comprehensive immigration reform. 

The group advocates a reform plan that involves a worker program and addressing the root causes of migration. 

"[W]hen persons cannot find employment in their country of origin to support themselves and their families, they have a right to find work elsewhere in order to survive," the U.S. Catholic Bishops said in a pastoral letter on migration entitled "Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope."

Those at the meeting argued that the immigrant population needs to be recognized for its contributions to American society, and that faith is at the core of compassion for those who seek a way out of their problems in their home country.

“My faith teaches me to be sympathetic and to stop something that is very wrong, like separating families,” said Leticia Medina, a member of the church. 

Medina said she knows families who have been split because of immigration policy. Children are often left with only one parent, which makes proper care and education difficult, she added. 

San Francisco has been a city and county of refuge, or sanctuary city, since 1989. City employees are prohibited from assisting Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials with investigations or arrests “unless such help is required by federal or state law or a warrant,” according to a city ordinance.

Attendees of Sunday’s gathering also argued that citizenship should be a litmus test for Latino voters. 

Veronica Ramirez, 34, works for the San Francisco Organization Project; she moved from Mexico to the United States in 1996. Ramirez’s Catholic faith is an integral part in her fight for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.  She said the campaign brings her closer to accomplishing the goals God has set for her.

“God says that when you do something for the less fortunate you are doing it for Him,” she said. “We call it putting faith in action.”


Reach Deputy Editor Sarah Parvini here. Follow her on Twitter.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.