US Bishops Push Immigration Reform with Legislators | John Burger | CWR
During the summer slowdown, the USCCB keeps up the pressure on Congress to reform immigration regulations.
As summer winds down and the congressional August recess dwindles, the efforts of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and other advocates of immigration reform are still at a high level.
“We’re in a lull, but it’s an important lull,” said Kevin Appleby, the USCCB’s point man on immigration. “We’re trying to rev up support in the dioceses and districts to make sure that [congressional] representatives know they’ve got support for this….. What happens from the first of August to the ninth of September will help determine the final outcome of what happens in Congress. If all goes well, they’ll pass some measures in October, put them together and conference them with the Senate and we’ll have a fairly good bill by the end of the year.”
"Over the August recess we’re encouraging people to get the message out to their representatives that we need to fix our broken immigration system,” said Kim Daniels, spokeswoman for Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. “We’re called to help our brothers and sisters who are living in the shadows, and we want to take that message to our representatives so that we can pass immigration reform."
Most observers consider the bipartisan immigration reform bill the US Senate passed in June to have little chance of being introduced in the House of Representatives. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is insisting that any immigration bill brought to the floor of the House have the support of a majority of the Republican conference. But a number of bills have been introduced in the House to reform various aspects of immigration policy, including one that would provide 20,000 additional Border Patrol agents, 350 miles of fence, and billions of dollars for security.
Another is the Kids Act, introduced by Reps. Eric Cantor, R-Va., the House Majority Leader, and Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which would provide a path to legalization for children who were brought here as infants by parents who entered the country without proper authorization.
President Barack Obama has been pushing for immigration reform to address the problem of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country, and many Republicans are trying to balance a need to gain support from the growing Hispanic-American demographic with the need to address the concerns of more conservative constituents, many of whom oppose giving a break to immigrants who “jumped the line” ahead of those who went through the proper channels to live and work here legally.
The bishops’ conference also is calling for research into the reasons why people decide to come to this country—and find ways to address the problems that spur them to leave their own country.