A national network of progressive faith leaders is calling on President Obama to pardon up to 11 million illegal aliens and “tens of thousands” of non-violent drug offenders before he leaves office in 50 days.
Obama should pardon all “undocumented” immigrants as well as all those – citizens and non-citizens – who are in federal prisons for violating non-violent drug laws, according to the PICO National Network.
The network, in a press release issued late Thursday, is also calling on mayors, governors and church leaders to create “sanctuaries” for illegal aliens.
Pastor Greg Holston, executive director for Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower & Rebuild (POWER) and one of the network’s members, said: “Our neighbors are under attack. We are urging preachers and leaders all over this nation to find those who are in danger, undocumented immigrants who need a safe place. Unless we stand up together, we will all be attacked. We have to learn to follow the tenants of our faith.”
“Such expressions of solidarity with undocumented families and other targeted communities is a moral imperative,” the release noted. “This is about protecting vulnerable families.”
“When families are broken and shattered, our country is broken and shattered,” said Bishop Dwayne Royster, political director for PICO National Network. “Our faith traditions underscore the power of redemption. Tens of thousands of our non-violent brothers and sisters languish in prisons because of the war on drugs. The president has the capacity and the power to release them.”
The network, based in Oakland, California, says it represents faith leaders in more than 1,000 congregations in 150 U.S. cities and towns who are “committed to changing the world through faith.”
One of the issues it advocates is to “make neighborhoods safer,” along with fighting for affordable housing, universal healthcare and improved public education.
The organization was founded in 1972 by John Baumann, a Jesuit priest and disciple of Saul Alinsky, who authored the book “Rules for Radicals” and dedicated it to Lucifer. Over the years PICO has also added Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and even evangelical faith leaders to its fold, according to its website.
Among the organization’s biggest donors are the Ford Foundation and George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.
William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration, or ALIPAC, said he’s not sure how opening the country’s borders to everyone who wishes to enter and emptying the federal prisons of drug offenders would make any neighborhood safer.
If America really wants safer cities, he said it’s time to fight back against illegal immigration in the only way the progressives will understand. He’s advising those who lose jobs, businesses or loved ones to illegal immigration to file suit against the Soros-backed groups pushing for open borders and amnesty.
“We would like to see a wave of lawsuits that place blame and liability for much of the death and destruction caused by illegal immigrants where it belongs – with George Soros, his parent organizations Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Institute, and all of the smaller groups that are asking Obama to pardon illegals en mass,” he said.
“These ‘charities’ are the tentacles of the Soros political machine, and they need to be held accountable and to justice for the lawlessness, violence, destruction and losses their actions cause American citizens.”
One example of this is Enrique Zamarripa, the father of 32-year-old Dallas Police Officer Patrick Zamarripa. He is suing Soros, Black Lives Matter and others for fomenting violence against American police officers, Caucasian and Hispanic Americans, Gheen said.
He added that PICO’s false narrative claiming “Our neighbors are under attack” is likely to cause illegal immigrants to injure and harm even more Americans because they are being rallied to violent acts by Soros-backed groups.
The PICA network is circulating a petition it plans to deliver to the White House on Dec. 15 that addresses its agenda of pardons, clemency and sanctuary.
Signatories to the petition include the openly Marxist magazine Sojourners, the Bend the Arc Action Fund, National Employment Law Project, Peoples Action Network, the Alliance for Citizenship, Unite Here, America’s Voice, Auburn Seminary and author, professor and civil rights advocate Michelle Alexander.
But the progressive faith leaders, who were joined in their call for amnesty by a dozen other groups including labor unions and community organizers, see it differently.
They see a presidential pardon as an opportunity to protect “vulnerable families,” according to the Thursday release.
“This is about protecting families,” said Richard Morales, immigration policy director for PICO. “There is tremendous fear in our communities. This is a moral rather than legal issue. The President does have the constitutional power to grant these pardons and he needs to act.”
“We need to think about our kids, our neighbors, and their dreams,” added Miguel Oaxaca, a faith leader with Together Colorado. “I am an immigrant, a father, a business owner, but most importantly, I am your neighbor. Today, I’m asking President Obama as a father to keep families together. I’m asking him to use his heart to see all the families that will be separated if he does not take action. Take action to help the country be stronger.”
The groups said its call for mass pardons comes “after promises from President-Elect Trump to deport 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants, expand Stop and Frisk, eliminate health insurance for 22 million individuals and families, and implement a dangerous registry for Muslims.”
Trump’s 2 to 3 million pledge involved only violent criminal aliens, but the PICO release did not mention that fact.
Reyna Montoya, a faith leader from Arizona and a DACA recipient, made a plea to break down divisions: “When I think about the moment we’re in, I think about a nation that is completely divided, without compassion and without seeing each other. Every single person in the nation has the opportunity to walk in the light or in the darkness. This is about people, our neighbors, our communities.”
In a direct plea to Obama, Denise Collazo, chief of staff for PICO National Network, said, “We are asking and praying that you keep families together. Perhaps, President Obama, you were called to this position ‘for such a time as this.’ You told our nation, ‘yes we can.’ Now we’re saying to you, ‘yes you can.’”