On Aug. 20, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano met with leaders in the faith, labor, business, law enforcement and immigrant advocacy communities to discuss immigration reform.

Several member organizations of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition — which includes the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) — participated in the meeting.

Following the meeting, the coalition issued the following statement:

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition is grateful to Secretary Napolitano for recognizing the vital role of faith communitiesin the conversation on immigration reform. During the meeting, President Obama repeated his commitment to achieving reform, stating that ‘immigration is a problem begging to be fixed.’

Each day in our congregations and communities, we witness the human consequences of a broken and outdated system. We see the exploitation of undocumented workers and the plight of separated families, as well as the escalation of community fear due to indiscriminate raids and local police acting as federal immigration agents.

Comprehensive reform is the most effective and sustainable path to enforcement. There is much work to be done on a bill which unites families, ensures due process, protects workers and provides a pathway for earned legalization for millions in our midst.  In the meantime, we ask Secretary Napolitano and President Obama to build public support and speak to the urgency behind immigration reform.

We expect to see detailed proposals from Congress soon and look forward to working closely with members of Congress, the administration and with our growing grassroots network of people of faith around the country to achieve compassionate and comprehensive immigration reform.

“While the immigration legislation timeline has been pushed back, we walked away encouraged by the surprise visit and hopeful about remarks from President Obama who renewed his commitment to immigration reform — something that hasn’t received much media attention yet,” said Allison R. Johnson, campaign coordinator for Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, in an email to supporters after the meeting.

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC) is a partnership of faith-based organizations committed to enacting comprehensive immigration reform that reflects our mandate to welcome the stranger and treat all human beings with dignity and respect.