Activists petitioning for immigrant rights and a change to the current immigration laws have planned to take a trip to the Vatican in Rome this month to meet with Pope Francis and hopefully gain his support for their cause. The advocacy group’s goal is to convince the United States government to enact a comprehensive reform bill that will provide a path to legal status and eventually citizenship for undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S.
The coalition of advocates for immigration reform is working with the Los Angeles Archdiocese in California to schedule an audience with the Pope before he is scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama. Their goal is to convince the Pope to discuss changing the immigration laws and the policy on deportations in the United States with the president. This group is comprised of more than a dozen immigration activists, as well as two children of undocumented immigrants. They hope to deliver more than 1,000 letters to the Pope, written by children in the U.S. whose parents or family members are at risk of being deported.
A 10-year-old child of undocumented immigrants was elected to be the activist coalition’s spokesperson, and she intends to explain her situation to the Pope: that members of her family are not criminals and how much they value the opportunity to live and work in the U.S. Her father is currently in a detention facility and could potentially be deported.
President Obama recently met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss the mounting frustration of Latinos and other immigration reform activists in the U.S. at the number of deportations that have occurred – nearly 2 million during his administration. At that meeting the president vowed to enact a more humane way to deal with the undocumented population. The group hopes its trip to the Vatican will get it the support it needs to convince Obama to stop deportations and protect immigrants across the country.