Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver is calling for support for the current Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (S. 1348). The bill is currently in debate in the U.S. Senate. The debate is expected to continue into early June.
Leaders from both political parties have taken the right course in advancing the bill, said the archbishop. The bill is not ideal, he said, but it does push a vital reform process forward.
“Many groups, including the American Catholic bishops, oppose some elements of the current legislation and hope for changes during the legislative discussion,” he said. Nonetheless, it is a promising start, he added.
The archbishop said Americans are right to worry about public security, jobs, respect for the law, and the solvency of public institutions.
“People who seek justice for immigrants sometimes downplay these worries, or write them off as veiled prejudice. This is a mistake. These are legitimate concerns and proper areas for debate,” he said. “But they need to be weighed in light of other legitimate concerns.
“Millions of undocumented workers already live here,” he pointed out. “They already contribute to American life. Most are innocent, hard-working people. They deserve more than a daily stream of overheated anxiety from talk show hosts.”
The proposed legislation would regularize the status of more than 12 million persons and expedite family reunification. Many family members have been waiting 20 years to be reunited with their families. “This would improve the lives of millions of our fellow human beings. It would also serve the needs of the American economy,” the archbishop noted.
Archbishop Chaput stressed the importance of moving on the legislation this year.
“While areas of the proposed legislation do arguably need improvement, Senate bill 1348 Immigration reform needs to happen this year, since no one will be eager to handle it in an election year,” he said. “We can no longer wait to address this pressing issue. Delaying a solution will only lead to more enforcement raids, bitter debate, confusion and resentment.”
The full text of the Archbishop’s press release is available at, http://www.archden.org/