Grijalva: Next 40 days vital to immigration reform

The congressman made the comment Monday in a national teleconference with Catholic, Protestant and Jewish leaders from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition. They launched a campaign to pray, fast and push for immigration reform for 40 days. 

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“These next 40 days will be very, very critical in moving this Congress of ours, and moving the conscience of this nation to get to a point where we do something,” Grijalva said. 

More than 5,700 people have pledged to participate in the six-week campaign from Sept. 9 to Oct. 18. 

Supporters are not necessarily supposed to fast from food. Their commitment can range from skipping meals, to a total food fast, to eliminating television or Facebook. 

Grijalva has advocated a policy involving a pathway to citizenship, border security, and had been a proponent of the DREAM Act. 

Addressing the broken immigration system is our most pressing domestic issue, and the next 40 days will be a test, he said. 

“I really believe that these next 40 days will mark whether or not we are able to have a comprehensive package with a pathway.” 

On Friday, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) wrote in an op-ed in the New York Daily News that Congress has a “once-in-a-generation chance” to pass immigration reform and fix a broken system. 

That same day, Rep. Tom Cole, (R-Okla.) predicted the House will cancel its week-long recess it has scheduled for late September to tackle immigration. 

At a town-hall event in August, Sen. John McCain, (R-Ariz.) said the next few weeks would be a critical time “in the life or death” of immigration reform.  

The Senate passed the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill, 68-32, in June. Speaker John Boehner, (R-Ohio) has said he won’t take up that version in the House. 

Despite the urgent calls for reform, Syria is at the top of Congress’s to-do list, and will delay other legislative items on the agenda this Fall.