WASHINGTON (April 12, 2007)— Catholics from across the country will visit Capitol Hill and urge lawmakers to pass comprehensive immigration reform as part of an April 17-19 conference that will bring together social justice leaders, diocesan directors and others active in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Justice for Immigrants campaign.
Mark Franken, executive director of the U.S. bishops' Migration and Refugee Services office, will give the opening presentation. The theme for the gathering is "Offering Hope, Promoting Justice."
Other speakers will include Kevin Appleby, the director of the U.S. bishops' Migration and Refugee Policy office; Frank Sherry, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum; and Mirna Torres, the director of legalization and advocacy for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
Participants will share ideas, strategies and best practices for educating the Catholic community about key elements of the bishops' immigration reform proposals. The conference will be held at the Hilton Washington, located at 1919 Connecticut Ave, NW.
The U.S. bishops have consistently advocated for comprehensive immigration reform that includes the following elements:
• An earned legalization program that allows undocumented persons to earn permanent residency;
• A guest worker program that protects foreign-born workers and safeguards against the displacement of U.S. workers;
• Family-based immigration reform that reduces waiting times for family reunification;
• Restoration of due process protections for immigrants; and
• Policies that address the root causes of migration.
The Justice for Immigrants campaign, which began in 2004, is a national movement that seeks to educate the public and public officials about Catholic teaching on immigration. For more information, please visit www.justiceforimmigrants.org.