.- The United States bishops’ Committee on Migration has expressed its support for a new bill that proposes major reforms to the current immigration system. It is also urging Congress and President George Bush to endorse the bill. The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005 proposes to create legal avenues for migrant workers to enter the U.S. safely. The committee noted that the bill also provides an opportunity for new immigrants to work toward permanent residency and additional visas for families to be reunited through the family preference system.
The bill, introduced in Congress last May, “represents a comprehensive and bipartisan approach to reforming our broken immigration system,” said Bishop Gerald Barnes, committee chairman, in a July 19 press release.
The bill also “best reflects principles for immigration reform set forth by the United States bishops,” he added.
Bishop Barnes said he is willing to work with the sponsors of the legislation to add important provisions to the measure. These provisions would include: additional labor protections in the essential worker program for both U.S. and foreign workers; mechanisms to ensure that migrants are treated humanely by enforcement personnel; and provisions which allow for the involvement of community organizations in the implementation of the new program.