Immigration reform advocates across the country are preparing to hit the streets in a nationwide protest calling for immigration reform on Oct. 5. Among those pushing for reform are Catholic colleges like the University of San Diego, which kicked off a campaign for immigration reform on Wednesday.
Roughly 100 Catholic college presidents and their campuses will participate in the March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect next month. Together, the universities will host masses, vigils, text and postcard campaigns in an effort to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.
"As a Catholic institution close to the U.S - Mexican border, we are uniquely aware that immigrants strengthen our nation's values and economy," said Carmen Vazquez, vice-president of student affairs at the University of San Diego, according to UT San Diego. "Students and faculty on our campus are actively engaged in direct service to immigrant communities and recognize that comprehensive reform is an urgent moral and practical imperative."
The effort is being led by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, the Ignation Solidarity Network and Faith in Public Life.
"Catholic students put their faith into action when they stand up for immigrant families," said Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles. "Young men and women at Catholic colleges bring vital energy and inspiration to our national movement for immigration reform."
The nationwide rally comes as the deadline to pass comprehensive immigration reform this year is slowly approaching, while congressional members are primarily focused on other issues like raising the debt ceiling.
Immigration legislation has been stalled since the Senate passed a comprehensive bill back in June. The GOP-controlled House hasn't taken any action, and many House Republicans are skeptical of doing anything short of approving a series of fragmented bills that primarily focus on enhancing border security.
However, more moderate Republicans, like former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, are actively pushing for the party to pass reform. In an interview on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg Surveillance," Guiterrez noted that the immigration debate has taken a back seat in Washington and explained what he believes are the problems holding back the GOP.
"We need more people in this country. Our workforce is not going, not just in high-skill work, but throughout," he said. "What a damage this will be to our economy if we don't get out act together."
Watch a video clip of Guiterrez's interview here.