September 2015 was a historic moment not just for Philadelphia but for the Immigrant Rights movement. In his six days in the U.S. , Pope Francis made justice for immigrants a central point of his visit. He implored to the U.S. Congress that,
“Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the second World War…”thousands of persons (who) are led to travel north in search of a better life. We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation…To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal…We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us once were foreigners.”
During his visit in Philadelphia over 100 Juntos members held a vigil and sunrise procession to Independence Hall from our office in South Philadelphia. One Juntos family was especially touched by his grace. Adamaris, oldest daughter of Alma Sanchez, is fighting with her family for the release of her father and an end to his deportation. While waiting for the Pope this 11 year old created a sign asking for the Pope’s help. While arriving the Pope paused to read her sign and give Adamaris a blessing.
We know that this family will be reunited again, and with a blessing from the Pontifex and with support from community and allies we will have Adamaris’ father released.