WASHINGTON—Archbishop José H. Gomezof Los Angeles, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB)Committee on Migration, today applauded approval by the Senate JudiciaryCommittee of S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and ImmigrationModernization Act, legislation which would reform the nation's immigrationsystem.
"Thisis an important step in the legislative process," he said May 22, the day afterthe committee vote. "I applaud Chairman Patrick Leahy and the committee membersfor their efforts and strong bipartisan cooperation," said Archbishop Gomez.The Senate panel considered over 150 amendments during the process.
ArchbishopGomez said that the bill should be taken up by the full Senate as soon aspossible, and that amendments to improve upon the legislation should beadopted. In his remarks, he specifically mentioned the need for improvements tothe path to citizenship and the family immigration provisions in thelegislation.
"The path to citizenship should bewidened, so that the maximum number of persons can access it and come out ofthe shadows," he said. "To leave a large population behind would defeat thepurpose of the bill, which is to bring persons into the light so they canbecome full members of our communities." The USCCB has been working to shorten theamount of time an individual must wait to apply for permanent residency, tomove forward the cut-off date for eligibility, and to ease income and workrequirements.
ArchbishopGomez also expressed concern over cuts to the family-based immigration system,a hallmark of the nation's immigration laws for decades.
"We must not abandon our focus onfamilies, which are the backbone of our society," he said. "Family unity, basedon the union of a husband and a wife and their children, must remain thecornerstone of our nation's immigration system."
ArchbishopGomez welcomed several amendments added to the legislation helping immigrantchildren. He also commended the Senators for turning back efforts to strikeprovisions assisting asylum-seekers and refugees.
Itis expected that the full U.S. Senate will consider the legislation in June.
Keywords: Archbishop José Gomez, Senator Patrick Leahy,immigration reform, USCCB, bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
# # # # #MEDIA CONTACT ONLY:Sr. Mary Ann WalshO: 202-541-3200M: 301-325-7935Email
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