Immigrant moms’ Pope dreams
Dressed in their matching blue t-shirts and flashing big smiles, the group of cheery ladies remind you of that sweet aunt who used to make you hot cocoa and tell you stories about the old country. But don’t mistake their sweet demeanor for weakness: These mamas are a force to be reckoned with. Armed with a non-existent budget but unlimited amounts of determination, this national group of mothers of "DREAMers" has become one of the most vocal immigration groups since it was founded in August of 2012. Lately, they’ve positively been chirping with excitement, with much reason. You see, this time the Dreamers Moms are plotting to meet Pope Francis.
The Pope is scheduled to visit the United States on September 24 of this year, on a whirlwind tour that will take him from Philadelphia, to New York, to the U.S. Congress. For the Dreamers Moms and other immigration activists, the big expectation is, of course, that he will address the issue of immigration. “Millions of people, including many in our group, were left out of the President’s executive action. But Pope Francis has always been very vocal against injustice, defending people like us, who have nothing,” said Alejandra Saucedo, Founder of Dreamers Moms.
The group got to work on their strategy as soon as the news of the Pope’s visit hit the airwaves, launching an online petition asking him to join in the fight for immigration reform. The petition has now garnered over 900 signatures. Along with it, the group is planning a series of demonstrations across Florida, New Jersey and Washington D.C., the hub cities where the group has the largest presence. “We are at the end of our rope, with no real solution to our situation in sight. We hope [the Pope] wants to become our voice and perhaps his words can soften the hearts of those who are standing in the way of a just immigration reform,” Saucedo said.
They hope to appeal to the foundations of the Christian faith so many in Congress profess to follow. In the recent past, the Pope has openly come to the defense of immigrants in the United States and other parts of the world. Last summer, for example, he spoke about the unaccompanied minors situation at the U.S. border, asking that the children “be welcomed and protected.” Comments like these, however, have earned him criticism from certain conservative groups, who disagree with some of his statements advocating social justice and what many consider left-leaning ideologies.
Whether or not the Pope decides to address the issue of immigration is still up in the air, yet it’s bound to resonate with a majority of the nation's largest religious denomination, Catholics. According to a recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), “majorities of all religious groups, with the exception of white evangelical Protestants, support a path to citizenship, including roughly 6-in-10 white mainline Protestants (58 percent), minority Protestants (62 percent) and Catholics (63 percent), and more than two-thirds (68%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans.”
Even with these astounding statistics, pro-immigrants groups are in watch-mode after the events earlier this week, in which a Texan judge issued a temporary injunction on the President’s executive action. For the Dreamers Moms, though, the prospect of recruiting the Pope to speak up about immigration is incentive enough to forge ahead with their action plan. As Saucedo puts it, “even if we don’t actually get to meet him face-to-face, we pray that he does bring up [immigration], especially when he visits Congress. We need permanent, lasting protection for the 11 million immigrants in this situation. We want to stop living in fear. Right now, the Pope is truly our only hope.”