The "incredibly complicated" legislation and regulation governing immigration today means that "the way people immigrated at the time of our founding as a country was much different than it happens now."
It was "largely the case," Almond said, until the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, that there were nearly no limits on who could immigrate to the U.S., or how many immigrants would be allowed.
"The situation of people immigrating today is very different than it was for our ancestors," he said, speaking of Anglos and other European descendents. "We need to understand that when we talk about the policy."
Migrating is "a hardship," Almond emphasized, saying that while "people might think … it's a fun thing, or an exciting adventure, to come to the U.S.," but that when people are "forced" to migrate, whether by persecution, violence, or economic destitution, "it's not a comfortable move."
"It's not what we might be used to. When we travel, many of us Americans are somewhat in luxury, knowing where we're going to, having arranged the living situation, having the travel and finances figured out."
"For many migrants," on the other hand, "it's a leap of faith."
Migration is a feature of the human condition "from time immemorial," Almond said, and as Catholics, we need to ensure that our response to immigration "fits with our Catholic teaching."
"The U.S. bishops have advocated for comprehensive reform, and that's what would be the best approach to tackling some of the issues right now."
At the end of June, the Senate passed a bipartisan-backed bill for comprehensive immigration reform that would provide a path to citizenship for most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S., as well as a new worker visa program and border security investment.
The Republican-controlled House is in the midst of a five-week recess, but House GOP leaders have indicated they are unlikely to support the Senate's bill, and may focus on border security "triggers" ahead of the legalization of undocumented migrants.