The U.S. bishops view the immigration bill that passed May 25 in the Senate as a critical first step in reaching a comprehensive approach to dealing with the challenges of the nation’s immigration system.
"While the U.S. bishops’ Conference does not agree with each and every provision in the Senate bill, we applaud its comprehensive approach and believe it contains many of the elements necessary to help solve the problems associated with our country’s current immigration system," said Bishop Gerald Barnes of San Bernardino. Bishop Barnes serves as the chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Migration.
The bishop called the passage of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 "a historic moment for our nation."
He also urged the Senate and House of Representatives "to work together to either eliminate or ameliorate the harsh enforcement provisions found in both the House-and Senate-passed versions of the legislation."
He also urged them to simplify the path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants to maintain a just temporary worker program, which includes an option to petition for permanent residency. He added that changes also be made to the family-based immigration system to reduce the waiting time for families to be reunited.