breaking news

How will you be impacted? Everything to know about the government shutdown

Pastors to advocate for immigration reform

More than a dozen area pastors will gather in Washington D.C., today, as part of a national effort to encourage Congress to pass immigration reform before the end of the year.

Carl Ruby, executive director of, painted the issue as a moral obligation and said the country’s current laws are harmful to local families.

The local group will gather with hundreds of other pastors nationally in an event called “Pastors for Reform,” sponsored by the Evangelical Immigration Table. However, opponents argued action is unlikely this year because many Republican voters oppose making such sweeping reforms and because of skepticism that the laws would be enforced.

The issue was highlighted recently when Republican House Speaker John Boehner, whose district includes Springfield, drew criticism for comments he made at a Middletown Rotary Club meeting earlier this month. Boehner imitated his fellow House Republicans whining, and said his colleagues don’t have the appetite to deal with the issue because it’s too difficult.

Members of the Springfield group plan to meet today with Boehner, along with Congressmen Mike Turner, and U.S. Representatives Brad Wenstrup, Steve Chabot and Pat Tiberi.

The pastors will push for reforms they argue will improve national security, but also keep families intact and eventually provide a way for immigrants to earn citizenship — after they have paid fines and waited behind others who are currently trying to enter the country legally. Ruby’s group,, encourages immigrant workers to move to the area and start businesses to help revitalize the region’s economy.

“We believe that justice for people who are waiting for immigration reform has taken too long,” Ruby said.

While some reform is needed, the comprehensive proposal that was passed several months ago in the U.S. Senate will likely remain stalled in the U.S. House, said Jon Feere, legal policy analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C. The non-profit agency advocates for tighter immigration controls.

Despite Boehner’s comments, voter opposition to the Senate proposals is the reason reforms have seen little support in the U.S. House, Feere said. He argued previous reforms have led to increased immigration, but little enforcement.

“That’s why I think it’s very unlikely that we’ll see any type of legislation prior to the mid-terms,” Feere said. “After the mid-terms it’s a whole different ballgame, but I think that most members of Congress who are up for reelection are not interested in having this debate any time soon.”

In addition, Feere argued members of the U.S. House have little confidence President Barack Obama will enforce new laws that are introduced.

Rep. Boehner does think current laws need to be reformed, said Kara Hauck, a spokewoman for Boehner’s office. But the Senate version will not be considered.

“Rep. Boehner believes our immigration laws need to be reformed, but he is strongly opposed to amnesty and has been clear that the massive immigration bill passed by the Senate will not be taken up by the House,” Hauck said. “He has also indicated that action in the House on the issue is unlikely until President Obama builds trust and demonstrates a commitment to the rule of law.’

Despite the opposition, Ruby said he is optimistic that momentum for reform is building.

Many immigrants want to become legal citizens, but the wait to do so is often more than 15 years, said Jose Salas, pastor of Emmanuel Iglesia Hispana Church in Springfield. His church hosted a press conference Monday during which Ruby spoke. In the meantime, the current laws mean many people who live or work in Springfield live in fear of being deported or detained, Salas said.

“They came here looking for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and it’s denied,” he said.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

TV film crew arrested for allegedly trying to bring fake explosive to airport
TV film crew arrested for allegedly trying to bring fake explosive to airport

Television film crew members were arrested at Newark Liberty International Airport on Thursday for allegedly trying to pass a piece of luggage containing “all the makings of an improvised explosive device,” ABC News reported. The film crew members, who claimed to be working the CNBC show “Staten Island Hustle,” were detained...
Logan Cole remembers West Liberty school shooting one year later
Logan Cole remembers West Liberty school shooting one year later

West Liberty-Salem High School student Logan Cole was shot one year ago today in the chest in a school restroom. Logan remembers much of that day and the shooting. “I remember that I was going to a mock trial competition in the morning and I remember going to school and we were about to leave on the bus and I remember walking into the bathroom...
These big cities didn't make Amazon's HQ cut
These big cities didn't make Amazon's HQ cut

Plenty of big cities aren’t on Amazon’s long short list of 20 places it’s still considering for a second headquarters and 50,000 high-paying jobs. While the Seattle-based giant kept Atlanta in the running, here are some of the notable cities that aren’t: Phoenix San Diego Charlotte Detroit Cincinnati San Francisco...
Gradual weekend warm-up; Possible light showers to cause slick roads
Gradual weekend warm-up; Possible light showers to cause slick roads

Gradual warm-up this weekend Wet Sunday into Monday Colder with snow showers Tuesday TODAY: Increasing clouds and breezy for the day with temperatures climbing to the lower 40s. However, winds will make it feel like the upper 20s to lower 30s during the afternoon. Areas of light drizzle and mist will develop tonight as temperatures dip into the mid...
Autopsy report: Roy Halladay had drugs in system when plane crashed
Autopsy report: Roy Halladay had drugs in system when plane crashed

An autopsy on former major-leaguer Roy Halladay showed that he had amphetamines, morphine and a sleep aid in his system when he died in a plane crash off the west coast of Florida, The Tampa Bay Times reported Friday. Halladay, 40, died Nov. 7 from blunt force trauma with drowning as a contributing factor, according to the Pinellas-Pasco Medical...
More Stories