Migration and Refugee Legislation
The USCCB works to ensure that persons fleeing persecution and other refugee-life situations have special standing and consideration and that family reunification remains the just basis for our immigration policy. The USCCB supports legislation that would make comprehensive reforms in the nation’s immigration laws, including increased opportunities for immigrants to legally enter or remain in the United States. The USCCB is also concerned that immigrants are welcomed as if they are part of our own families; that our immigration and refugee processes are comprehensible and user-friendly; that workers have the right to work and live without exploitation; that efforts to stem undocumented migration maintain the dignity, humanity, and due process rights of those who are either seeking to come here or who are already here in suspected undocumented status. We encourage you to visit the web site of the USCCB department of Migration and Refugee Services for more information.
Legislative Issues in the 110th Congress:
Support legislation to repeal unjust bars to admission due to the overly broad interpretation of “material support to terrorism” provisions of law. [See Also “Refugee Admissions”.]
Support legislation to enhance the rights of, and protections for, asylum seekers in the United States.
Support appropriations to provide adequate funding for the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to exercise its responsibilities with respect to the care and placement of unaccompanied alien children; and support legislation to improve the rights and treatment of unaccompanied alien children who are encountered by or in the custody of immigration authorities.
Support legislation to adjust the status of undocumented high school and college students. [See also “Legalization”.]
Citizenship and Immigration Services:
Support legislation to assist immigrants and refugees in integrating into American society, including such measures as the provision of government.subsidized English language and civics instruction, with an emphasis on the involvement of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in the formulation and provision of services. [See also “Integration of Immigrants into American Society”.]
Support the appropriation of adequate funding for the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services to enable it to process naturalization and immigration benefit applications and petitions efficiently, as well as eliminate current backlogs in such applications and petitions; and support legislation to ensure that refugees, asylees, and parolees receive identity documents immediately upon their arrival in the United States or upon being granted the status.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform:
Support legislation that would make comprehensive reforms in the nation’s immigration laws, including increased opportunities for immigrants to legally enter the United States, particularly to reunify with family members or to obtain jobs; a broad legalization program for the undocumented in the United States who have built up equities in their communities and have otherwise contributed to their communities; an appropriate temporary worker program that protects the rights and dignity of all workers; restoration of some due process rights eliminated by previous amendments to U.S. immigration laws; measures that address the root causes of undocumented migration; and measures to ensure the effective implementation of the law. [See Also “Legalization”, “Legal Immigration” and “Children”.]
Detention of Aliens:
Support efforts to reduce instances where aliens are held in detention by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through appropriations for alternatives to detention.
Support legislation to increase funding for humanitarian assistance and development programs, including the Millennium Challenge Account and morally appropriate efforts to treat and prevent infectious diseases abroad especially in Africa, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. (See also Pro-Life Activities.) Address issues related to Foreign Aid Reform, highly militarized aid to Colombia, and humanitarian and development assistance to areas of conflict, including Palestine, Lebanon, and Darfur.
Due Process for Aliens:
Support legislation to provide discretionary relief from removal for aliens who have United States citizen minor children; and support legislation to provide due process reforms for aliens in removal proceedings.
Eligibility of Aliens for Public Benefits
Support legislation to restore benefit eligibility for refugees in the United States.
Oppose legislation that would require state and local law enforcement agencies to detain illegal aliens within the course of their regular duties or otherwise enforce civil immigration laws.
Integration of Immigrants into American Society:
Support line item appropriations to assist in the successful resettlement of Cuban and Haitian entrants through the Cuban/Haitian Primary/Secondary Resettlement Program.
Support legislation to ensure that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) immigration enforcement activities and personnel respect the human and civil rights of those whom they encounter, including efforts to mandate human rights training for such personnel.
Support legislation to ensure that refugees, asylees, and other aliens residing in the United States under the color of law are able to obtain driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards without having to endure extraordinary, unnecessary, and burdensome requirements in order to obtain or renew them.
Support legislation to assist immigrants and refugees in integrating into American society, including support for such measures as the provision of government.subsidized English language and civics instruction, with an emphasis on the involvement of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in the formulation and provision of services. [See also “Immigration Services”.]
Support legislation to more quickly reunify U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) with close family members by reducing the backlog in priority dates for family preference immigration visas and increasing the number of such visas. [See Also “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”.]; and support legislation to increase the number of opportunities for temporary workers to enter the United States legally while protecting their rights and the rights, wages, and working conditions of American workers. [See Also “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”.]
Support legislation to legalize current undocumented aliens who have resided in the United States for some time and have built equities here. [See Also “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”.]; and support legislation to legalize specific populations of undocumented aliens, including such populations as undocumented farm workers and undocumented high school and college students who came to the United States as young children. [See also “Children”.] [See Also “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”.]
Refugees – Admissions:
Support robust appropriations for refugee admissions’ support legislation to repeal unjust bars to admission due to the overly broad interpretation of “material support to terrorism” provisions of law. [See Also “Asylum”.]; support legislation to make reforms in the refugee admissions process that would promote an increase in the number of refugee admissions, including support for mechanisms that would better ensure the development of an adequate infrastructure for the identification of refugees for admission into the United States, the identification of particularly vulnerable refugees, greater participation by United States nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the admissions process, and better management of the flow of refugees to the United States; and Support legislation to clarify that persons who meet the definition of a refugee and who also are eligible to immigrate to the United States as special immigrants or immediate relatives of United States citizens can be admitted to the United States as refugees.
Refugees - Resettlement in the United States:
Support adequate appropriations for the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to successfully assist in the early self-sufficiency of refugees in the United States, including match grant funding.
Religious Worker Visas:
Support legislation to reauthorize permanently the special immigrant non-minister religious worker visa program, protect the nonimmigrant religious worker visa program from changes that would make it less useful to the Church and the communities that the Church serves, and permit foreign-born religious seminarians to receive nonimmigrant religious worker visas.
Support legislation to modify the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 to make it a more useful tool for protecting the victims of trafficking.