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The Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform

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Act Now!

Justice For Immigrants






JUNE 18, 2009

On behalf of the United States Catholic Bishops, gathered in San Antonio, Texas, at our annual spring meeting, I would

ask President Barack Obama and congressional leaders of both parties to work together to fashion and enact

comprehensive immigration reform legislation before the end of the year.

It has been clear for years that the United States immigration system requires repair and that reform legislation should not

be delayed.

We urge respect and observance of all just laws, and we do not approve or encourage the illegal entry of anyone into our

country. From a humanitarian perspective, however, our fellow human beings, who migrate to support their families,

continue to suffer at the hands of immigration policies that separate them from family members and drive them into

remote parts of the American desert, sometimes to their deaths. This suffering should not continue.

Now is the time to address this pressing humanitarian issue which affects so many lives and undermines basic human

dignity. Our society should no longer tolerate a status quo that perpetuates a permanent underclass of persons and benefits

from their labor without offering them legal protections. As a moral matter, we must resolve the legal status of those who

are here without proper documentation so that they can fully contribute their talents to our nation’s economic, social and

spiritual well being.

Only through comprehensive reform can we restore the rule of law to our nation’s immigration system.

We urge President Obama and congressional leaders to meet as soon as possible to discuss and draft comprehensive

immigration reform legislation, with the goal of making it law by the end of 2009. The Catholic bishops of our country

stand ready to assist in this effort.


Click above for the action alert that we're sending out to our members. Feel free to change it and send it to your
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Statement of Most Reverend John C. Wester
Bishop of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration
Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security

Hearing on Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2009

April 30, 2009

 On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), I commend the Senate Committee
on the Judiciary and Senator Schumer in particular for convening this hearing on the important subject of
immigration reform.

The USCCB has long advocated for policies that respect the human dignity of immigrants, refugees, asylum-
seekers, and other people on the move. In addition, the USCCB has engaged in several decades of advocacy
with Congress on a long list of immigration-related issues. As one of the largest social service providers in the
country, we provide basic services to immigrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, and other newcomers.

We believe that a properly-constituted immigration reform bill is the optimal way to safeguard the basic
human rights of migrants, protect the integrity of the immigrant family, and promote the common good of our

Reform is all the more pressing due to the outmoded state of our current immigration system. We should no
longer condone a hidden underclass of human beings in our country and should bring them out of the shadows
to fully contribute to society. Moreover, too few channels exist for low-skilled immigrants to enter the country
and work or join family members in a safe and controlled manner.

Recently, family unity has been compromised by a series of enforcement actions that have separated
immigrant family members, including U.S. citizens. Enforcement-only strategies should be abandoned and
replaced with a more comprehensive approach, including reforms in our legal immigration system.

In our view, immigration reform should contain a broad-based legalization program which provides a path to
citizenship; a future worker program with protections for both immigrant and domestic workers; family-based
immigration reform that reduces backlogs without harming the current preference categories; restoration of due-
process protections, including revision of the three- and ten-year bars and restoration of judicial discretion in
deportation hearings; integration and implementation provisions; and measures that address the root causes of
unlawful migration by encouraging economic development in sending countries. Attached please find an outline
of important elements necessary for just reform.

It is the view of the U.S. bishops that immigration reform needs to be enacted sooner rather than later. We
urge the President and Congress to begin formulating appropriate legislation and to educate the American public
about the importance of its enactment.

As we have seen in the past, enacting immigration reform will require resolve, diligence, patience, and
prudence. As we move forward with the debate, we urge our elected officials to resist the loud and minority
voices that oppose reform and which use harsh rhetoric against immigrants and those who support them. We
firmly believe that immigration reform supports the common good of our nation and hope to work with
Subcommittee Chairman Schumer and other members of the subcommittee toward its enactment in the days and
months ahead.

Thank you for your consideration of our views.

Click here:
USCCB Priorities associated with this statement


Catholic leaders hopeful that Obama will change US immigration policy

MEXICO CITY (CNS) -- Senior Catholic leaders participating in the Sixth World Meeting of Families
expressed optimism that the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama would usher in more
favorable immigration policies that include putting an end to the workplace raids that often separate
parents from their children.

Full story here:

"The so-called “illegals” are so not because they wish to defy the law; but, because the law
does not provide them with any channels to regularize their status in our country – which
needs their labor: they are not breaking the law, the law is breaking them."

Most Reverend Thomas Wenski, Bishop of Orlando


Since the founding, the United States has received immigrants from around the world who have found
opportunity and safe haven in a new land. The labor, values, and beliefs of immigrants from
throughout the world have transformed the United States from a loose group of colonies into one of
the leading democracies in the world today. From its founding to the present, the United States
remains a nation of immigrants grounded in the firm belief that newcomers offer new energy, hope
and cultural diversity.

Our common faith in Jesus Christ moves us to search for ways that favor a spirit of solidarity. It is a
faith that transcends borders and bids us to overcome all forms of discrimination and violence so that
we may build relationships that are just and loving.

Excerpts taken from Strangers No Longer, Together on the Journey of Hope, A Pastoral Letter Concerning Migration From
the Catholic Bishops of Mexico and the United States.*

This website is designed to help achieve the goals of the Justice for Immigrants Campaign. It
provides tools and information for diocesan and community-based organizing, education, and
advocacy efforts. You will find information about catholic teaching that underpin this Campaign, as
well as proposals from the Catholic Bishops to achieve reforms in our nation's immigration laws and
policies that better reflect our values as a nation of immigrants.

We encourage you to visit this site often, as we will be updating it frequently, with resource materials,
action alerts, and other information we hope you find useful.

*Click here to read Strangers No Longer, Together on the Journey of Hope in Spanish version.