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USCCB News Release Archives

 
10-084
April 30, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Immigration Reform Framework Needs Work, But ‘Important First Step’ In Legislative Process, Say U.S. Bishops


Urge bipartisan action affirming rule of law, human rights in 2010
See need to address root causes of migration
Urge not using immigration reform to promote same-sex marriage

WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops called the introduction of  a framework on immigration reform by Senate leadership, April 29, an “Important first step” in the process of achieving enactment of comprehensive reform legislation. The framework, developed by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and endorsed by Senate leadership, attempts to lay a road map for launching negotiations toward a bipartisan immigration reform bill.
           
The bishops’ position was outlined April 29, by Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration.
           
“We urge members of both parties to begin a process toward introducing and enacting bipartisan legislation which affirms the rule of law and basic human rights,” Bishop Wester said.
           
Bishop Wester pointed to flaws in the framework that require revision, including a controversial provision that would permit same-sex couples to receive immigration benefits equal to married couples.  He also pointed out that enforcement measures in the framework should not violate basic rights, and that policies that address the root causes of migration should be addressed.
           
Bishop Wester urged Congress to begin discussions on the issue, with the goal of passing legislation in 2010.
           
“We call for a robust but civil debate.  This issue can no longer wait and should not be politicized or held hostage to ideology.  Our immigration system is badly broken and is in need of immediate repair,” Bishop Wester said.
           
The statement follows.

Statement of Most Reverend John C. Wester
Bishop of Salt Lake City
Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration
April 29, 2010
On
Release of Immigration Framework in U.S. Senate

 

The U.S. Catholic bishops have consistently spoken out on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform and have urged its enactment. Today’s introduction of an immigration framework in the U.S. Senate is an important first step in the process of achieving the enactment of a comprehensive measure. We urge members of both parties to begin a process toward introducing and enacting bipartisan legislation which affirms the rule of law and basic human rights. 

While we support the general direction of the framework, including a legalization of the undocumented and improvements to our employment and family-based immigration systems, we strongly oppose extending marriage-like immigration benefits to same-sex relationships.  This proposal threatens to undermine the opportunity to bring together the Congress and the American people around a common solution to the important challenge of immigration reform.

We also have concerns about the increases in enforcement resources contained in the framework.
Over the past several years, the United States has poured billions of dollars into immigration enforcement, which has not only not solved the problem but in some cases led to the abuse of migrants.  We would support the inclusion of provisions which address “push” factors that compel migrants to come to the United States, such as the lack of economic development in sending countries, so that migrants can remain in their countries and support their families in dignity.

We stand ready to work with the Administration and our federal elected officials of both parties to address these concerns and to improve the legislation in all areas.  We call for a robust but civil debate.  This issue can no longer wait and should not be politicized or held hostage to ideology.  Our immigration system is badly broken and is in need of immediate repair.

Keywords: Bishops, Bishop John Wester, Senator Charles Schumer, immigration reform, same-sex marriage, migrants, human rights



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