(CNS) The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration joined the broadening chorus calling on President Barack Obama and Congress to “seize the moment” and pass comprehensive immigration reform next year.
In a statement issued Nov. 13 during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual fall general assembly in Baltimore, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, committee chair, called on Obama and congressional leaders to work together on a bipartisan immigration reform bill.
He also encouraged people to make their voices heard in support of an immigration system “which upholds the rule of law, preserves family unity and protects the human rights and dignity of the person.”
With the strong turnout of Latino voters in support of Obama’s re-election Nov. 6, politicians from both parties have said they are willing to revive and follow through on the long-stagnant efforts to fix the problematic U.S. immigration system.
An estimated 11 million people in the U.S. lack legal immigration status. Most of them have no path to legalization that does not involve returning to their home countries to wait in lines that can take decades to clear. Many of those people live in families in which some members are U.S. citizens and others have legal immigration status.
In the week following Obama’s re-election, House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders have said they are ready to work together to pass comprehensive immigration reform, usually described as a bill that includes border security, a path to legalization and/or citizenship for undocumented residents, improvements in the family reunification immigration system and drastic changes in how work visas are allocated.
Efforts to pass such a bill have regularly revived and been beaten back in Congress for about 20 years. [More]