WASHINGTON—Archbishop José H.Gomez, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee onMigration, applauded the recent passage of legislation that would reauthorizefor three years the Special Immigrant Non-Minister portion of the ReligiousWorker Visa Program (RWVP). This category provides 5,000 permanent visas toreligious and lay persons from abroad to live permanently in the United Statesand to engage in pastoral ministries and social services in dioceses andarchdioceses across the nation.
“This program isvital 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 churchministries,” Archbishop Gomez said September 19. “They work in soup kitchens,homeless shelters, parishes and other important ministries, assisting diocesesand archdioceses in serving the vulnerable and spreading the Gospel.”
ArchbishopGomez urged President Obama to sign the legislation as soon as possible, as theprogram is set to expire October 1. The portion of the RWVP which allowsforeign priests to reside in the United States is permanent and does notrequire congressional reauthorization.
Keywords:ArchbishopJosé H. Gomez, USCCB, immigration, Committee on Migration, Religious WorkerVisa Program
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