By Nelson A. King
Wednesday, October 28, 2009 1:20 PM EDT
Stating that the U.S. immigration system needs urgent reform, in light of increased deportation to the Caribbean, Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-Brooklyn) last week made the case for “comprehensive” immigration reform.
“We are asking the Obama administration to focus on comprehensive immigration reform like a laser beam,” said Clarke, after hosting a group of Caribbean-American pastors on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
The 100-member group, known as Churches United to Save and Heal (CUSH), had journeyed from New York to Washington in their attempt to force the Obama administration to renew its commitment to reforming the immigration system.
“Who better to fully understand the importance of this issue then the son of a Kenyan immigrant?” asked Clarke, who represents the 11th Congressional District, the largest district of Caribbean immigrants in the United States.
“This is the next challenge for our nation, and no more will we let this issue fall to the wayside,” she added.
Convinced that comprehensive immigration reform is a “moral obligation,” the Caribbean clergy members on Wednesday lobbied the offices of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and the New York delegation.
They said that the “broken immigration system has negatively affected” their largely Caribbean parishioners.
They also discussed how the Caribbean and African immigrant communities can expand the immigration debate.
“The time is now,” Clarke said, to expand the face of comprehensive immigration reform.
“Everyone’s voices must be heard, particularly in the Caribbean and African immigrant communities,” she added.
“When we turn our back on those who come to these shores to become Americans, to be a part of building our great nation, and to embrace the American Dream, we are turning our back on ourselves,” Clarke continued.
“We must never forget that this debate is critical to improving the lives of all American citizens, American businesses, and the lives of those who seek to be Americans,” she added.