More than two dozen people gathered Friday outside Congressman John Boehner’s (R-OH) West Chester office to push for immigration reform.
Supporters called on the House Speaker to consider an immigration reform bill passed in May by the U.S. Senate. Among other items, the bill’s provisions include a path to citizenship for America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.
“This is a human rights issue,” said Mary Jean Pierson, president of the Unitarian Universalist Council of Greater Cincinnati.
“It’s an issue of conscience,” she said. “We feel that each person has worth and dignity and the current system is denying people of their worth and dignity.”
The rally is one of several this summer staged in West Chester by area groups, including the Catholic Social Action Office of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Organizing for Action, an advocacy group devoted to pushing President Barack Obama’s agenda.
Boehner has said he has no intention of taking up the Senate-passed immigration bill and that the House intends to pursue its own “common-sense, step-by-step” approach to immigration reform.
Dominick Lijou, a West Chester pastor and volunteer with Organizing for Action, which sponsored Friday’s rally, said his group has delivered petitions with hundreds of signatures in support of the Senate bill to Boehner but has received no response from the Republican congressman.
“He has been very coy about his position and we would love to hear what his position is,” said Lijoi. “My question to him is, ‘Do you support removing 11 million people who are undocumented? Is that your solution?’”
Rick Marra, of West Chester, said he hoped the continued demonstrations shows Boehner that voters in his district support comprehensive immigration reform.
“They’re pressing problems. They’re immediate. We have a good plan coming from the Senate. It’s not perfect, but the foundation is there and we need to move ahead,” he said. “We just can’t keep kicking a can down the road.”