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NY Immigration

Dominican Sisters Take Action for Immigration

SPARKILL, NY - November 24, 208 -- A Federation group that meets every other month with members from Blauvelt, Hope, Sinsinawa, and Sparkill joined with the Immigration Coalition of Rockland County, NY in an interfaith prayer vigil to get faith communities to become involved in the humanitarian aspects of immigrant advocacy.  In lieu of their meeting, the sisters decided to take action for justice. Friday night, November 14th at a busy crossroad on Route 59 in Nanuet, NY, sixteen sisters participated holding candles and signs that said, "No person is illegal.  All are made in the image and likeness of God" and "Dominican Sisters for Immigrant Rights".  Other members of the federation group who could not attend were present in spirit by their prayers.

     The event had been in the planning stage for some time by the Immigration Coalition and the Episcopal Ministry but it took on new urgency after the killing of Marcello Lucero, a native of Ecuador who was fatally stabbed in Patchogue, NY by seven teens whose main goal that night was to go out to "beat up some Mexicans".  Articles in the Rockland County Journal News highlighted the event both before and after it, stating: "Immigration has become a hot-button issue in the Lower Hudson Valley with local government initiatives such as Suffern's pending application to deputize its police force as federal immigration enforcement officers."

     One of the concerns of the Northeast Six Dominican Congregations is Immigration.  Over sixty sisters signed to support this initiative and over thirty of them came to a meeting in Sparkill to move the initiative into action steps for direct service, advocacy, and political policy.  In a very polarized atmosphere the road to a reform of federal legislation is long, but with the new administration in Washington we can hope that such reform laws will be forthcoming.

     A goal for us as Dominicans may be to put a face on immigrants who are labeled "illegal".  The word illegal refers to an act--not a person.  We use that term without thinking because the media so often use it.  An immigrant who is in the United States without papers is undocumented.  Words carry a message that can divide.  We have to stand now for the basic principles of justice--right relationships among all people.

Sister Cecilia La Pietra, OP


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