Immigration Stories: Praying for Thanksgiving Together This Year

Searching for a better life, Alejandra came to the United States from Mexico in 1992 with her oldest daughter, “Marta,” who was five years old.

She had two more children here, who are both American citizens. The middle child is on a soccer scholarship at a great university. The youngest is starting high school in the fall. Marta graduated from college and works as an addition counselor. But she hasn’t seen her family since 2005, when Marta returned to Mexico because she was ineligible for college financial aid here.

Alejandra, in the black and white dress, reflects after meeting with Congressman Frank LoBiondo Friday.

Alejandra, in the black and white dress, reflects after meeting with Congressman Frank LoBiondo Friday.

Alejandra can’t visit because she wouldn’t be allowed to re-enter the United States. Marta has had visa requests denied. They represent yet another Diocese of Camden family torn apart by our immigration system.

Alejandra was part of our group that met with Congressman Frank LoBiondo today at his office in Mays Landing. As immigration reform has started to fade from the political forefront recently, it’s our job as people of faith to keep the message alive through the summer and autumn months. Alejandra did her part with courage, as she shared her heartbreaking story with the Congressman and the rest of our group. As we left the meeting, she shook Congressman LoBiondo’s hand and said, “Please, with your help, my family can have Thanksgiving together this year.”

Alejandra, Marta, and millions of other families are counting on our faith communities to  help make their dream of unity possible. Congressman LoBiondo told us that he reads a print out of every phone call to his office each day.

S. Graciela, center, who serves immigrant communities at Holy Cross Parish in Bridgeton, debriefs our meeting with Rep. LoBiondo at the vigil outside his office Friday.

S. Graciela, center, who serves immigrant communities at Holy Cross Parish in Bridgeton, debriefs our meeting with Rep. LoBiondo at the vigil outside his office Friday.

So pick up the phone and give him (or your local representative) a call. His Mays Landing office: (609) 625-5008

What you can say: Please tell Congressman LoBiondo that with people of faith throughout South Jersey, I urge him to support comprehensive immigration reform that includes strong family unity provisions and a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living here. The system is broken and we cannot afford to wait.

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