US Bishops Welcome '1st Step' to Immigration Reform

Seek Bipartisan Cooperation for ‘Just, Humane Legislation’

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Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration, welcomed principles set forth this week by a group of eight U.S. Senators as a blueprint for reform of the nation’s immigration system.

«I welcome the introduction of a bipartisan framework to help guide Congress on immigration reform,» Archbishop Gomez said Monday.»It is an important first step in the process and sets a bipartisan tone.»

The framework would include a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million «undocumented» people in the nation. It also would reduce family backlogs in the immigration system, which require family members to wait years to reunite with their loved ones.

«It is vital that the framework includes a path to citizenship, so that undocumented immigrants can come out of the shadows and into the light and have a chance to become Americans,» Archbishop Gomez said. «It gives hope to millions of our fellow human beings.»

Archbishop Gomez noted that the framework leaves room for improvement, as it fails to restore due process protections to immigrants lost in the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) or address the root causes of migration, such as the absence of living-wage employment in sending communities or protection for refugees fleeing persecution.

Nevertheless, he pledged the support of the USCCB in pushing sound immigration legislation forward and working with Congress to create an immigration system that respects basic human rights and dignity while also ensuring the integrity of our borders.

«A reformed system can protect human dignity and the homeland at the same time,» he concluded.

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