Sister Mary Jean Traeger, OP spent Memorial Day at the First Lutheran Church in Beardstown, Illinois on listening to an immigration reform bill update from one of the passionate ‘Gang of Eight’ politicians attempting to modernize the immigration process: Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. Senator Durbin shared his mother’s story about her path to becoming a naturalized citizen and his experience being the son of a recent immigrant coming to United States. Durbin shared how he earned money for college by working at the Hunter Packing Company meatpacking plant in East St. Louis doing the same grueling, but honest, work as the workers currently do in the Beardstown Cargill plant. The pork-processing plant is the largest source of employment for Beardstown residents.
Traeger and the entire audience were moved by the stories from immigrant members of the Faith Coalition for the Common Good & Beardstown Immigrant Families United who chose to speak. They shared stories about the challenges they encountered after they made the decision to come to America. They all told courageous and personal stories about how they were determined to change their lives, and most of them shared they had to separate from their families. They had to learn English, pay taxes, pay fines and other unique expenses. Many of them had to wait years and years to be reunited with their families—many are still separated.
After the event postcards were signed by attendees to ask Congressman Aaron Schock to expedite compassionate immigration reform, if the immigration bill moves from the Senate to the House.
— Springfield OP (@springfieldop) May 28, 2013