Immigration Reform Plan Could Do Better, Says Bishop

Comprehensive Program Seen as Needed

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 12, 2004 ( President George Bush’s recently announced immigration reforms are «an important first step» but need to go further, says the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Migration Committee.

Coadjutor Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando, Florida, called for comprehensive reform «that will truly address our current immigration crisis.»

«While this issuance of a proposal is an important first step in a long overdue reform of our immigration system,» Bishop Wenski said, «this particular proposal does not provide a solution to the serious problems we experience as the result of continuing undocumented migration and an immigration system that is broken.»

«What is needed to respond to these problems is truly comprehensive immigration reform that will provide opportunities for legalization for the undocumented currently living in the United States, temporary worker programs with full worker protections and a path to permanency, as well as a reform of our family immigration system that will allow immigrant families to reunite in a timely fashion,» the bishop said.

Bush’s plan would grant a renewable three-year term of temporary legal status on undocumented workers currently in the country, as well as allowing new immigrant workers to come to the United States as long as they have a guaranteed job awaiting them here.

Bishop Wenski said standards for immigration reform outlined by the bishops last January would guide their evaluation of the proposal as it evolves in congressional deliberations.

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