U.S. Catholic Bishops/Catholic Charities USA call for more talk on comprehensive immigration reform
Two powerful national U.S. Catholic voices urged on the stalled Senate negotiations for a comprehensive immigration reform package this week. On June 8 the Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration called on the U.S. Senate to return to immigration reform discussion as soon as possible.
“Our nation cannot afford to wait to resolve this important humanitarian issue,” said Bishop Gerald R. Barnes of San Bernardino.
“It is important that the U.S. Senate improve the legislation to preserve family unity and to ensure that the legalization program is workable and fair,” Barnes said. “The U.S. Bishops will work with the Senate to make these changes and for passage of the legislation.”
Meanwhile Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, issued the following statement: "Catholic Charities USA is troubled that passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill is now in jeopardy. America's immigration system is clearly broken, and Congress needs to fix it in a way that provides fair and just reforms while protecting our nation's security and preserving family unity.
"While we found the measure as introduced last month to be flawed especially because it threatened to separate families, we were encouraged that the Senate was finally moving forward on this vital issue.
"Congress must not abdicate its responsibility now. It is crucial that members of the Senate work out their differences. Passage of immigration reform will require our nation's leaders to turn contentiousness into consensus, replace emotion with reason and bridge divisiveness with bipartisanship. Congress has an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of millions of people who are seeking the promise of a better tomorrow here in the United States.
"We urge the Senate to seize on this opportunity and pass legalization that protects U.S. security, puts undocumented laborers and their families on the path to lawful permanent residence and citizenship, creates greater legal avenues for necessary workers to enter this country, and keeps immigrant families together."
Catholic Charities USA supports comprehensive reform that:
- Provides a path to lawful permanent residence and citizenship for the
11 million to 12 million undocumented persons in the United States
- Sustains and reunites families
- Promotes the security of the nation
- Creates greater legal avenues for necessary workers to enter the United States in the future
- Integrates and promote the success of newcomers, and
- Improves the economic prospects, health, labor protections, and stability of all U.S. residents, including newcomers.
The full text of the statement by Bishop Barnes follows:Statement of Most Reverend Gerald R. Barnes
Bishop of San Bernardino, California
Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration
OnComprehensive Immigration Reform
June 7, 2007
On behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I call upon the U.S. Senate to return to consideration of comprehensive immigration reform legislation as soon as possible. Our nation cannot afford to wait to resolve this important humanitarian issue.
It is important that the U.S. Senate improve the legislation to preserve family unity and to ensure that the legalization program is workable and fair. The U.S. bishops will work with the Senate to make these changes and for passage of the legislation.The issue of immigration is too important for our elected officials to abandon. It cannot wait for several more years. Human beings are suffering and dying. Justice demands that our elected officials stop this suffering and mend our broken immigration system. Our nation can create an immigration system which serves our economic needs and upholds the rights and dignity of the human person.