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Bishops support immigration reform
January 08, 2010

Bishops support immigration reform
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 8, 2010) —The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) announced steps to push for the enactment of immigration reform legislation in 2010. Bishop John C. Wester, bishop of Salt Lake City, Utah, and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, and Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, bishop of Albany, New York, and chairman of the International Policy Committee of the USCCB, made the announcement earlier this week.

“It is our view, and that of others, that the American public, including the Catholic and other faith communities, want a humane and comprehensive solution to the problems which beset our immigration system, and they want Congress to address this issue,” said Bishop Wester.

“At the present time undocumented migrants have become a hidden underclass in our society. Many are fearful of seeking necessary police protection, afraid of taking their children to school or Church, and are often taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers. Much needed reform will allow them to come out of the shadows, allow families to remain together, and will permit migrants to support their families and play a valuable role in their local communities,” said Fr. Kenneth J. Gavin, National Director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA.

Coinciding with the announcement is a revamped Justice for Immigrants Web site, which includes with tools for parishes and links to action alerts allowing visitors to the site to send postcards to their members of Congress, urging them to support comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Bishop Gerald Kicanas of  the Diocese of Tucson, and also Vice President of the U.S. Conference of  Catholic Bishops, explains the forces that drive people to leave what they know and seek a new life while speaking at the 'Crisis at our Borders: The Human  Reality Behind the Immigration Debate' conference in October.

Sister Rita Mary Harwood, a Sister of Notre Dame and Secretary for Parish Life and Development in the Diocese of Cleveland, spoke about support for immigration reform in Ohio, where nearly 300,000 postcards will be distributed throughout the state.

“In the end, to stand with those who are frightened, alone or in danger; to educate, to speak with and for, and to pray – this is the message of the Gospel and the work of the Church,” she said.

Sister Mary Beth Hamm, justice coordinator of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Philadelphia, outlined what her religious order and other orders are doing to support immigration reform.

Bishop Wester concluded that the Church will work to make sure that legislators act on this issue in the near future.

“We remain committed to moving immigration reform as soon as possible,” he said. “We hope to make sure that our federal legislators are committed to that goal as well.”

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