Congressmembers Hahn, Bass and Lowenthal

Congress members Hahn, Bass and Lowenthal

*The Senate’s “Gang of Eight” which is comprised of 50/50 bipartisan membership, released its 844-page immigration-reform bill on April 17th. Amidst much debate and controversy, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) promises to bring it to the Senate floor for a vote by June.

Meanwhile, as May Day rallies – for and against the bill – have begun across the country, President Obama traveled to Mexico City to meet with Mexico’s President Pena Nieto to try and navigate a course towards forging a partnership with Mexico to commit to supporting key components of the bill like stronger border security, and temporary worker programs – something that resonates with Mexicans.

At the local level, on Monday April 29th Christian leaders from all over Southern California gathered in a joint Prayer Breakfast/Congressional Forum that took place at Centro Cristiano Bet-El in the city of South Gate near Los Angeles where Bishop Juan Carlos Mendez is Pastor. The event was well attended by various Christian denominations, Jewish and other faith communities, city leaders and dignitaries that included California Congressional representatives Janice Hahn (CA-44), Karen Bass (CA-37), and Alan Lowenthal (CA-47).

Hahn with Bishop Mendez and volunteers

Hahn with Bishop Mendez and volunteers

Bishop Mendez stated “[It’s] not just preaching Christianity, but extending a hand to the people that are hurting. Supporting a comprehensive immigration policy is the right thing to do.” He added, “This is not a Mexican problem, this is a human problem.” He then introduced a member of his congregation whose cousin – a mother of three small children – died just hours after being deported. She was turned over to immigration authorities for driving without a license. Bishop Mendez said, “This is just one of many human tragedies and why we need comprehensive immigration reform.”

A quote from Congresswoman Hahn who represents South Gate says: “I am fighting for fair and inclusive immigration reform that includes a pathway to American citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants in this country. For what is more American than fighting for a better life for your family, and a better future for your children?  What part of their work ethic, what part of their dreams wouldn’t we be proud to call American? We know that the compromise in the Senate could still go sideways on us. But I am encouraged by the leaders and advocates, many of whom are in our own community, who are standing up and calling on lawmakers to do the right thing. We all know that our immigration system is a broken one, and I will continue to fight for the reforms we need for a healthier, stronger nation.