Thanks to the Rev. Virginia Marie Rincon for representing the Diocese of Maine this week in Washington, D.C. She was one of several Maine faith leaders to meet with lawmakers to press for passage of S. 744, the comprehensive immigration reform bill. Rincon served as the diocese’s Hispanic Missioner for more than ten years and is well-respected across Maine for her advocacy and support of immigrants new to Maine. She moved to Texas in 2012.
Meeting with Senator Collins just minutes after she arrived in Washington Rincon said, “She listened and seemed to be on board at the end of our meeting. She did say that she wanted a “Yes” on S.744 but that there were so many amendments she had three aides working on deciphering which amendments were real and which ones were just trying to kill the bill.”
The group also met with Senator King’s staffer, Chris Rauscher, with whom Rincon had served on the board of the Portland-based organization Immigration Legal Advocacy Services (ILAP). “He offered information on Senator King’s co-sponsorship of the Cardin amendment which includes positives for adding community service and education as an alternative for pathway to citizenship.” Rincon, who offered the final blessing at a prayer vigil held on the front lawn of the U.S. Capitol, went on to say, “I felt proud to be included in the discussions.”
Expenses for the faith leaders’ travel to Washington, D.C. were covered by Church World Service.
Bishop Stephen Lane said, “When we were approached to name someone to represent our diocese to advocate for immigration reform, Virginia Marie instantly popped to mind. Through she now makes her home in Texas, she remains a priest of this diocese and there is no one who knows better the challenges and difficulties that new Mainers face upon arriving here.”
There’s an article and more photos about the effort on the Interfaith Immigration Coalition’s website.