.- Cardinal Francis George, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), speaking at the conferenceâs annual spring meeting, called on President Barack Obama and congressional leaders to enact âcomprehensiveâ immigration reform.
âIt has been clear for years that the United States immigration system requires repair and that reform legislation should not be delayed,â Cardinal George said, speaking on behalf of the bishops. Stating that the bishops urge ârespect and observance of all just laws,â he added that they do not âapprove or encourageâ illegal entry into the United States.
âFrom a humanitarian perspective,â he said, âour fellow human beings, who migrate to support their families, continue to suffer at the hands of immigration policies that separate them from family members and drive them into remote parts of the American desert, sometimes to their deaths. This suffering should not continue.â
Cardinal George said society should stop tolerating a status quo that perpetuates a âpermanent underclassâ and benefits from its membersâ labor âwithout offering them legal protections.â
âAs a moral matter, we must resolve the legal status of those who are here without proper documentation so that they can fully contribute their talents to our nationâs economic, social and spiritual well being.
âOnly through comprehensive reform can we restore the rule of law to our nationâs immigration system.â
He encouraged the U.S. president and congressional leaders to draft comprehensive immigration reform legislation with the goal of enacting it by the end of 2009.
âThe Catholic bishops of our country stand ready to assist in this effort,â he pledged.