Today, in anticipation of a major July 10 Conference of House Republicans to discuss the fate of immigration reform, Floridians poured into their Republican representatives’ offices across the state to pray “that they have strength to do the right thing by supporting comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship.” Immigration reform supporters descended in prayer on the Congressional offices of Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (a member of the House Gang of 7), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Dennis Ross, John Mica, Tom Rooney, Gus Bilirakis, Daniel Webster in Miami, Lakeland, Maitland, Riverview, Dade City and Winter Garden respectively.
In Miami, 22 year-old college student Daniela Saczek recited a prayer to the staff of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen that was met with “amens.” “Creator, we ask you to touch the heart of Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen…make all the love in her heart go to liberating and protecting 11 million people who are currently undocumented in this country.”
A delegation to the office of Rep. Mario Diaz Balart met with the Gang of 7 member’s staffers, who seemed touched after their prayers. They weren’t as well received by the buildings private security detail, who promptly escorted them out of the building, even if the prayers where not over.
This morning, over 25 community members gathered in Maitland at the office of Rep. John Mica, who has expressed repeatedly that he won’t support a path to citizenship for undocumented Americans. After praying at his office, members of the delegation who have repeatedly attempted to meet with the Congressman asked why he hasn’t met with his pro-immigration reform constituents. A district representative responded by saying, “he is a busy guy.” “In the same way that he has made time for his other constituents, he needs to make time for us because our voices are also important,” says Melissa Maniau, a resident advocating for immigration reform for her own family.
Later in the afternoon, over 100 people gathered at Rep. Webster’s office in Winter Garden. The Representative has said in previous occasions that he will follow the House Republican leadership in terms of Immigration Reform. Families, business owners and farm workers that prayed today at his office reminded him to also follow his Christian values of family unity. “It’s not just knowing the word of god, but living the word of how with our actions. There are 11 million of us and there are more allies fighting for justice. A good man does the right thing, the Christian thing and we count on Rep Webster to do so. Jesus will know who has opened and who has closed the door to the neighbor in need,” said Daniel Barajas, a young resident and voter in Webster’s district, who was raised in a farm worker family.
The delegations expressed hope and faith that their Florida representatives will do the right thing when they meet in conference tomorrow. We know our representatives can bring Florida’s message to the GOP meeting tomorrow and help other House members understand that history, demographics and the power of the Latino vote is on the side of those that support a comprehensive path to citizenship 11 million undocumented Americans.