“We pray that our legislators, as they craft new immigration legislation, may find the wisdom and the courage to enact new policies that do justice for our country and for those who would immigrate here.” This was the prayer of 25 of us from Sacred Heart – Guadalupe and St. Sabina Parishes as we embarked on the third annual Lobby Day for Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates this past Tuesday, April 15th. As we made our journey by bus to the Capitol, Juan Martinez, our maintenance man from Precious Blood Center, led us through a series of prayers in Spanish. We advocated for immigrants who were college students (DREAMers) who are trying to avoid paying international or out-of-state tuition rates, and tried to persuade our legislators to oppose reducing SNAP (food stamp) benefits for children in immigrant families.

Juan and I visited the offices of our legislators from the Liberty area. One of the highlights of our trip was visiting the office of District 17 Representative Myron Neth. We were encouraged that he supported the SNAP program and would likely oppose HB 2100. By changing the way household income and needs are accounted, this bill would take food away from U.S. citizen children whose parents or other family members are non-citizens. The Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates say there is no reason to discriminate against these families (who are made up of a mix of citizens and non-citizens). Our legislators should ensure Missouri children have the resources they need to grow up safe and healthy. Overall, this was a successful day of lobbying, partly due to the sponsorship of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood – Kansas City Province.

Br. Daryl Charron, C.PP.S.