Bishop of Orlando calls on Bush to work for greater immigration reform

Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando said this week the immigration reform proposed by President George W. Bush is “insufficient,” and he called on the US leader to go beyond just providing work visas for temporary jobs.

The Bush plan focuses on establishing a system that would allow employers to temporarily hire foreign workers, who would have to return to their countries of origin when their contract expires.

According to the EFE news agency, Bishop Wenski, who heads up the Bishops’ Committee on Migration, called on the president to promote immigration reform that recognizes and provides options to illegal immigrants that are residing in the United States.

“What he announced last year is not sufficient, although we give him credit for taking a first step by recognizing that the system wasn’t working and needed to be reformed,” Bishop Wenski said.

“As the Church we wish to encourage him to take another step forward and acknowledge the millions of people who are already here working and contributing to the country and give them a solution to their immigration problem.”

Bishop Wenski said a “three-legged approach” to just immigration reform should include legalization for undocumented immigrants, family reunification, and an increase in the number of work visas.

The USCCB Committee on Migration is currently working at the national level for the drafting of more comprehensive laws for undocumented immigrants.

“We want to put a human face on illegal immigration so that the American people, who are very generous, will understand that more compassionate reform is necessary,” said Bishop Wenski.  An estimated 8 to 10 million illegal immigrants are currently in the United States.

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