WASHINGTON — The U.S. bishops called the introduction of a framework on immigration reform by Senate leadership, April 29, an “Important first step” in the process of achieving enactment of comprehensive reform legislation. The framework, developed by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and endorsed by Senate leadership, attempts to lay a road map for launching negotiations toward a bipartisan immigration reform bill.
The bishops’ position was outlined April 29, by Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration.
“We urge members of both parties to begin a process toward introducing and enacting bipartisan legislation which affirms the rule of law and basic human rights,” Bishop Wester said.
Bishop Wester pointed to flaws in the framework that require revision, including a controversial provision that would permit same-sex couples to receive immigration benefits equal to married couples. He also pointed out that enforcement measures in the framework should not violate basic rights, and that policies that address the root causes of migration should be addressed.
Bishop Wester urged Congress to begin discussions on the issue, with the goal of passing legislation in 2010.
“We call for a robust but civil debate. This issue can no longer wait and should not be politicized or held hostage to ideology. Our immigration system is badly broken and is in need of immediate repair,” Bishop Wester said.