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New York archbishop calls immigration 'a moral matter'

South Carolina residents of the Catholic faith may be heartened by the news that a church leader has written a letter calling on the House of Representatives to quit stalling on immigration legislation. Addressed to House Speaker John Boehner, a Catholic, on behalf of 450-plus U.S. bishops and cardinals, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops and the archbishop of New York, calls the immigration legislation problem "a matter of great moral urgency," and respectfully requested that lawmakers resolve the issue before the end of the year.

The letter emphasizes the bishops' position that the U.S. should not benefit from the labor of immigrants without the same rights and protections afforded to legal workers who are lawful permanent residents. The bishops say that immigration reform should include a path to citizenship, provide for the reunification of families torn apart by detention and deportation, make provision for future influxes of immigrants and restore basic due-process legal protections.

However, the thorny issue of immigration reform seems unlikely to be resolved before the end of the year. Many Republican representatives reject the idea of a comprehensive bill, preferring a piecemeal approach to the flaws in our current system. As such, the House Judiciary Committee has made progress on single-issue bills even as the Senate-passed bill for sweeping reform remains in limbo. The budget crisis that resulted in the government shutdown in October has made House Republicans resistant to engaging in negotiations on the White House-backed immigration bill.

With the end of the 2013 less than two months away, the prospects for passage of the Senate's bill seem highly unlikely. In a strong admonition, the archbishop's letter said, "Keeping these human beings as a permanent underclass of workers who are unable to assert their rights or enjoy the fruits of their labor is a stain on the soul of the nation." The archbishop drove home the human cost of the immigration problem. Immigrants and their families face an uncertain future and deserve help. Hopefully lawmakers will soon respond.

Source:  wistv.com, "Top Catholic bishop presses House on immigration" Donna Cassata, Nov. 07, 2013

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