News & Media

MEDIA ADVISORY: Clergy to call for citizenship to be the focus in immigration bill at "Separated Family Supper Table" event

Immigration Reform

PICO National Network

January 16, 2013

Updated January 16, 2013

CONTACT: Meredith MacKenzie, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications: (202) 265-3000 (o), (202) 427-2007 (c) meredith@rabinowitz-dorf.com

**Media Advisory**

Clergy, DREAMers and Community Leaders to Call for Citizenship to be the Focus in Immigration Bill
“Separated Families Supper Table” shows the impact of the broken immigration system

WASHINGTON—On Thursday, January 17, faith leaders from across the country will join with DREAM Act students and other community leaders to call on Congress to make citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans the focus of any bill to create a new immigration process in our country. This new Campaign for Citizenship, a project of PICO National Network, will launch by inviting members of Congress to see the “Separated Families Supper Table” a representation of what dinner time is like for millions of American families who are separated from their loved ones because of the nation’s broken immigration policy. DUE TO THE WEATHER FORECAST THIS EVENT HAS BEEN MOVED TO THE HAMILTON CROWNE PLAZA AT 14th and K STREETS NW.

The Campaign for Citizenship represents Americans of faith who believe that full citizenship rights for 11 million aspiring Americans is the only response to our broken patchwork of immigration laws consistent with the American values of freedom, fairness and family. The recent arrest of family members of a student who had been given legal status under President Obama’s executive order barring deportation underscores the need for citizenship for aspiring Americans to be the keystone of any reform legislation.

“As people of faith the only solution to our harmful immigration policy that recognizes the inherent dignity and rights of all human persons is full citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans who work in our communities, raise their children alongside ours and worship with us,” said the Rev. Richard Smith. “Those missing from this family meal have been separated from their family members because our government has failed to act on citizenship. Now that President Obama has made a new immigration process his top priority, people of faith demand citizenship for American families.”

The Supper will take place in the Hamilton Ballroom at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel at 1001 14th St NW (at the corner of 14th and K streets NW) from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Thursday, January 17, 2013.

The Separated Families Supper Table will bring together clergy and immigrant Americans from across the United States to share their stories of separation and loss as a result of immigration policy. The Rev. Richard Smith, pastor of the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist in San Francisco will host the supper and act as the emcee. Pastor Errol G. Thompson, pastor of New Life Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Orlando, Florida will offer the blessing. Lucas da Silva an aspiring American who was unable to attend his father’s funeral because of his status, Fr. Jesús Nieto-Ruiz, a Roman Catholic priest and pastor of St. Anthony’s Parish in Oakland, California, and Alejandra Gomez, a DREAMer who has had two brothers deported, will share their personal stories of separation and harm as a result of the nation’s broken immigration laws.

“The empty seats that you will see at our table show that enforcement is alive and well; what we need is a compassionate response, what we need is citizenship,” said Lucas Da Silva. “Now is the time for Congress to act to protect the families in our neighborhoods and faith communities. It is time for citizenship.”

What: Separated Families Supper Table, the launch of the Campaign for Citizenship

Who:

  • The Campaign for Citizenship an effort of PICO National Network
  • The  Rev. Richard Smith, pastor of the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist in San Francisco
  • The Rev. Errol G. Thompson, pastor of New Life Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Orlando, Florida
  • Lucas Da Silva, an aspiring American from Florida
  • Fr. Jesús Nieto-Ruiz, a Roman Catholic priest and pastor of St. Anthony’s Parish in Oakland, California
  • Alejandra Gomez, a DREAMer and aspiring American from New Mexico

Where: NEW LOCATION: Hamilton Ballroom at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1001 14th St NW, corner of 14th and K streets, Washington, DC  2005  (Public parking available at Colonial Parking, 1400 L St NW.)

When: 11 AM – 12 PM EST

Details: Visuals include: Clergy in vestments, rally signs, fully-set supper table with placards indicating missing guests and the reason they are missing – “Deported,” “Detained”, etc.;  Upon request, interviews can be arranged with clergy leaders, DREAMers, and community leaders, including interviews to Spanish-language media. An audio mult will be available for broadcast media.

Media RSVP: This event is open to press and coverage is welcome. Media should RSVP to Meredith MacKenzie at meredith@rabinowitz-dorf.com (202) 427-2007

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PICO National Network is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. PICO works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 60 local and state federations. PICO and its federations are non-partisan and do not endorse or support candidates for office. PICO urges people of faith to consult their faith traditions for guidance on specific policies and legislation. Learn more at www.piconetwork.org.