WASHINGTON (October 18, 2005)– The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, with 37 other national religious organizations, has called for comprehensive immigration reform "that establishes a safe and humane immigration system" consistent with their faith traditions of welcoming immigrants.
Citing passages from Hebrew scriptures, the New Testament, and the Koran, the interfaith statement draws the attention of lawmakers to the "moral dimensions of public policy," and urged them to "pursue policies that uphold the human dignity of each person."
In addition to the 38 national religious organizations, 69 local religious organizations (including numerous religious orders and diocesan Catholic Charities affiliates), and numerous individual religious leaders, endorsed the Interfaith Statement. Among the individuals endorsing the statement are Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago; San Bernardino Bishop Gerald Barnes, chairman of the USCCB Migration Committee; Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio; Tucson Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas; Orlando Bishop Thomas G. Wenski; and Auxiliary Bishop Jaime Soto of Orange (CA).
Specifically, the statement calls for reforms which include:
* "An opportunity for hard-working immigrants who are already contributing to this country to come out of the shadows, regularize their status upon satisfaction of reasonable criteria and, over time, pursue an option to become lawful permanent residents and eventually United States citizens;
* "Reforms in our family-based immigration system to significantly reduce waiting times for separated families who currently wait many years to be reunited;
* "The creation of legal avenues for workers and their families who wish to migrate to the U.S. to enter our country and work in a safe, legal, and orderly manner with their rights fully protected; and
* "Border protection policies that are consistent with humanitarian values and with the need to treat all individuals with respect, while allowing the authorities to carry out the critical task of identifying and preventing entry of terrorists and dangerous criminals, as well as pursuing the legitimate task of implementing American immigration policy."
NOTE: The full text of the statement can be found on the web at: www.usccb.org/mrs.