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WASHINGTON—Archbishop José H. Gomez, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, applauded the recent passage of legislation that would reauthorize for three years the Special Immigrant Non-Minister portion of the Religious Worker Visa Program (RWVP). This category provides 5,000 permanent visas to religious and lay persons from abroad to live permanently in the United States and to engage in pastoral ministries and social services in dioceses and archdioceses across the nation.
“This program is vital to the mission of the Church in the United States, as it permits nuns, brothers, and lay persons from overseas to enter the country and work in church ministries,” Archbishop Gomez said September 19. “They work in soup kitchens, homeless shelters, parishes and other important ministries, assisting dioceses and archdioceses in serving the vulnerable and spreading the Gospel.”
Archbishop Gomez urged President Obama to sign the legislation as soon as possible, as the program is set to expire October 1. The portion of the RWVP which allows foreign priests to reside in the United States is permanent and does not require congressional reauthorization.
Keywords:Archbishop José H. Gomez, USCCB, immigration, Committee on Migration, Religious Worker Visa Program
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