St. Nicholas parishioner calls pope’s immigration focus ‘a dream come true’

| September 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

Having emigrated from Mexico eight years ago, Maria Negreros is concerned about immigrant families trying to make it in the United States. She has been happy to hear that Pope Francis shares her concerns, and she’s excited to be one of 60 people from a metro interfaith group traveling to Philadelphia for his visit.

Maria Negreros

Maria Negreros

ISAIAH, a statewide organization of congregations, clergy and people of faith that promotes racial and economic justice in Minnesota, is sending its delegation to Philadelphia to begin preparing members to respond to the pope’s “call to action for an economy and society of inclusion,” it stated.

Negreros, a parishioner of St. Nicholas in Carver, said Pope Francis’ message is one of love.

“We need to start to open our hearts again,” said Negreros, who left with the ISAIAH delegation Sept. 24. “And the pope is the voice of those who don’t have a voice, especially the poor people.”

During the last legislative session, Negreros worked to bring awareness to a bill that would have allowed immigrants without legal status to obtain provisional driver’s licenses or state-issued identification. The measure failed.

With a 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, she’s concerned when children don’t make it to school because their only transportation option would be their parents, who are unable to drive them without a license.

“That’s a problem, especially for Latino children, who have a disadvantage,” she said.

“My faith calls me to love others and [for us to] take care of each other,” she added. “These people are fighting for their families.”

Negreros said respect is part of the larger immigration conversation.

“We really want to tell legislators that people need respect,” she said. “We want them to listen. We want to let people know they’re not hiding. The pope’s message is that immigration is important. To hear him talk about what’s important to us is a dream come true.”

While in Philadelphia, Negreros and others from the ISAIAH delegation will attend conferences of the PICO National Network, which ISAIAH is a part of. The group plans to return to Minnesota Sept. 29.

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Category: Pope in U.S.