WASHINGTON (September 4, 2001) -- On the eve of the U.S.-Mexico summit, the chairman of the Bishops' Migration Committee today urged those nations' presidents to "seize the moment" and provide a bold vision for regulating migration.
"We stand at a watershed moment," said Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Camden (NJ). "The Presidents should seize the moment and set out a vision which embraces immigration as a vital component in the development of both nations in the twenty-first century."
Mexican President Vicente Fox will make a two-day state visit to the United States September 4-5.
Bishop DiMarzio specifically called on both presidents to "take bold action by calling for a legalization program for Mexicans and other nationalities who have built lives in our country and who have contributed their skills and hard labor to building up our nation."
In addition, he said the leaders should lay out principles for legalizing the flow of migrants in the future. A comprehensive approach to undocumented migration, which includes the creation of a more generous and efficient U.S. legal immigration system, is required, according to Bishop DiMarzio.
"There is no magic formula, nor single program, which will adequately address the issue of undocumented migration," stated Bishop DiMarzio.
Bishop DiMarzio also called for the United States to move away from a one-dimensional border policy which has led to a significant number of deaths of Mexican migrants. "A different approach which emphasizes safe and legal entry into the United States and which respects the dignity and human rights of migrants should be pursued."
Bishop DiMarzio commended both leaders for their migration initiative. President Fox's visit "presents an historic opportunity for the United States and Mexico. We are two nations tied together -- through trade and labor -- economically, culturally, socially, and joined by a common border. Now, together, our nations must redefine how the issues of migration can be addressed in a comprehensive and just manner."