News & Media

Clergy, Community Leaders Welcome President Obama’s Commitment to Change, Call for Citizenship

PICO National Network

January 28, 2013


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

**Media Advisory**

Clergy, Community Leaders Welcome President Obama’s Commitment to Change, Call for Citizenship

PICO’s immigration campaign focuses on citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans


LAS VEGAS, NV—On Tuesday, January 29, faith leaders from across the country will join with DREAM Act students and other community leaders in Las Vegas as President Obama lays out his plan to change the broken immigration laws that have torn families apart. These faith leaders continue to call on Congress and the president to make citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans the main provision of any bill creating a new immigration process in our country. These leaders are a part of the Campaign for Citizenship, a project of PICO National Network, launched earlier in January to bring voices of people of faith together with DREAMers to witness and work for citizenship for immigrant Americans.

As a multi-faith network of clergy and people of faith, PICO believes that citizenship is the only moral response to the current, broken immigration system – a system that has had a disastrous impact on immigrant families. Americans of faith 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.

“As people of faith we believe 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. “Now that President Obama has made a new immigration process his top priority, people of faith demand citizenship for American families. We will be here watching and praying as this legislation goes forward ensuring our political leaders know that citizenship is the only solution Americans will accept.” 

Clergy members of the campaign attending the announcement in Las Vegas include:

  • The  Rev. Richard Smith is the pastor of the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist in San Francisco
  • Fr. Jesús Nieto-Ruiz is a Roman Catholic priest and pastor of St. Anthony’s Parish in Oakland, California
  • Bishop Angel Marcial is a bishop with the Church of God in Cleveland, Tennessee
  • Emmanuel Martinez is a DREAMer working with Together Colorado, a PICO Federation
  • Fr. Jeff Stephan is a Roman Catholic priest and the pastor of St. Sabina in Belton, Missouri
  • Fr. Jon Pedigo is a Roman Catholic priest and pastor of St. Julie Billiart Parish in San Jose
  • Sarah Madrigal is Immigration Coordinator at the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Cincinnati and works with  immigrant populations in both Ohio and Colorado
  • Bishop Luther DuPree, Jr. is pastor of Rehoboth Holy Temple C.O.G.I.C. in Reno, Nevada
  • Apolonio Morales is executive director of Berkeley Organizing for Action

All these participants are available for interview and many speak fluent Spanish. To arrange an interview, please call Heidi Thompson, communications director for PICO National Network, who will be on the ground with these community leaders, on her cell: (202) 436-0601.



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.