Nuns on the Bus

Forty-four nuns. Sixty-eight hundred miles. One bus. An inspiring journey to promote commonsense immigration reform in the United States.

A crowd waited expectantly on the sidewalk in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. Then someone shouted, “Here comes their bus!” A bystander asked, “Who’s playing tonight, Justin Bieber?”

“Even better,” responded a fan. “It’s Nuns on the Bus!”

In July, a group of 44 Catholic nuns launched a 6,500-mile, 15-state, 22-day bus tour to urge Congress to pass a common sense immigration reform bill with a pathway to citizenship in 2013. The tour started in the Northeast, passed through the South, the plains of Texas, and border towns throughout the Southwest before ending in the shadows of Angel Island in San Francisco.

Along the way, “Nuns on the Bus” drew attention to the services faith leaders provide along the border and told the stories of families torn apart by America’s broken immigration system. The tour was led by Network, a Catholic social justice lobby headed by Sister Simone Campbell, the Sister of Social Service who made headlines with a similar bus tour last summer to denounce Republican budget cuts in the House of Representatives.

After 53 stops throughout the U.S., the nuns encouraged supporters to keep up the tough fight that faced them in Congress. Inspiring hundreds of activists at every stop, they generated hundreds of targeted television and print hits in key markets, 727 calls to Congress in favor of immigration reform, and lobby visits at dozens of key Congressional offices.

These nuns aren’t the only sector of the Church taking unprecedented action. In mid-July, 62 prominent theologians and the presidents of more than 90 Catholic colleges and universities signed a letter urging Catholic members of the House to support comprehensive immigration reform.

The letter earned signatures from leaders of the country’s most prominent Catholic schools, including many found in districts of strategically targeted Catholic members of Congress.

 “We remind you that no human being made in the image of God is illegal,” said the letter, addressed to all 163 Catholic legislators, including House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

“Our Catholic faith teaches us to help the less fortunate than ourselves,” said John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America. “More prosperous nations have an obligation to help those who come to their borders seeking security or employment. The United States—as the richest nation on earth—has the foremost obligation to do so."

“Not only will a roadmap to citizenship honor traditional Catholic principles of justice and solidarity, but here in Ohio it will strengthen our universities and help reinvigorate our economy,” said Daniel Curran, president of the University of Dayton.

Thanks to these powerful voices weighing in on the issue, backed by the moral and political weight of the Catholic Church, immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship stands a chance.

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We need common sense immigration reform bill with a pathway to citizenship now.

We support and love both the "Nuns on the Bus" AND the many Sisters in Communities and Congregations nationwide with whom the Center has worked for many years. In fact, these Sisters were the only women's rights groups to support our US-based efforts to confront international trafficking of women/girls into the USA as a women's human rights crisis. The larger national NGOs did not. We are very proud of our sisterhood with these wonderful Nuns!
Leslie R. Wolfe, President, Center for Women Policy Studies

Faith does impact social justice and creates accountability. Silence further weakens the voiceless, strengthening only those in power.

Merci à Dieu parce ce que, ce qu'il dit est toujours vrai. Il vous a commender et vous avez obéi à ses ordres pour faire cette oeuvre missionnaire pour la réforme des politiques d'immigration en faveur de l'inclusion de tous et de la citoyenneté dans les régions que vous avez cité. Comme Dieu est partout, il a saisi Monsieur SOSSOUGA DOSSE Victor au Togo en Afrique pour mettre sur pied une organisation non gouvernementale dénommée ADET ( Amis des étrangers au Togo) avec plus 120 membres togolais et étrangers pour combattre l'exclusion, le racism, la discrimination raciale, la xénophobie et l'intolérance qui y est associée en faveur des groupes les plus vulnérables au Togo, en Afrique et dans le monde. Cette mission est lourde et mérite l'effort de tous, de vous aussi, pour satisfaire la volonté de Dieu pour que la paix, la justice, l'équité, le genre pour le développement durable reignent dans le monde qu'il a créer pour les hommes que nous sommes. Aujourd'hui Dieu a propulsé l'ONG: ADET au sommet du monde pour faire entendre sa voie. L' ONG: ADET a besoin de vos soutiens multiples et de votre franche collaboration.

I think sometimes the power of faith communities is forgotten because of the way the Christian right has "rebranded" faith as the enemy of justice and compassion. We forget that the Civil Rights movement, labor movement, anti-apartheid movements were led by religious leaders. The Nuns and others are poised to reclaim the role of faith communities in leading the way toward a more just society. Pope Francis' recent comments also represent a whole new opening for Roman Catholics who emphasize the church's teachings on the common good-- and for all of us! Read them here:

There are 4000 Stateless persons in the United States who are waiting for dacades to be included in the comprehensive immigration reform. They are men, women and children who thru no fault of theirs lost or never had a nationality (i.e. a French person born in Germany will never be German, or a person with a Father from Netherlands and a Mother from Austria, who was born in the former Soviet Union, 75% Jewish and lost all ancestors in the Holocaust), are also human and should not be subjected to subjugation and exploitation in the country that has NO LAWS FOR STATELESS PERSONS.

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