Hopeful of Bipartisan Cooperation for Just, Humane Legislation
ST. PAUL, Minn. (Jan. 30, 2013)—Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC), the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, welcomes the framework recently set forth by a group of eight U.S. Senators, and applauded by President Obama, as a blueprint for reform of our nation’s immigration system.
“We were heartened by the introduction of a bipartisan framework to help guide Congress on immigration reform,” Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said January 30. “It is an important first step and sets a positive tone to a critically important policy discussion.”
The framework, released by the “Group of Eight” working group, would include a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented in the nation, including thousands of Hmong, Somali, Latino, and other immigrant communities here in Minnesota. It also would reduce family backlogs in the immigration system, which requires family members to wait years to reunite with their loved ones.
“It is vital that the framework includes a path to citizenship, so that undocumented immigrants can come out of the shadows and have a chance to become Americans,” Bishop Piché said. “It gives hope to millions of our fellow human beings—many who, due to war, famine, or unemployment, have made the difficult decision to leave their home in search of a better, safer life for their family.”
In the 2012 immigration statement, “Unlocking the Gate in Our Heart,” the Catholic bishops of Minnesota highlighted some key principles of just immigration reform, which are consistent with those put forth by the working group and mentioned by President Obama:
- Uphold the human dignity of all persons and work against any injustice that compromises the dignity of immigrants;
- Promote and give priority to the reunification of families; and
- Recognize the rich contribution to the community by those immigrants and migrants who work and live here.
MCC notes that the initial framework leaves room for improvement. For example, the “Group of Eight” framework fails to restore due process protections to immigrants lost in the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) or address the root causes of migration, such as the absence of living-wage employment in sending communities or protection for refugees fleeing persecution.
Nevertheless, MCC supports pushing sound immigration legislation forward and intends to work on behalf of the Catholic Church in Minnesota and on the national level to create an immigration system that respects basic human rights and dignity, while also ensuring the integrity of our borders.
More information, along with a more complete list of the Catholic principles for just immigration reform, can be found at: www.mncc.org/advocacy-areas/migration/immigration/.
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Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC) coordinates the Catholic Church’s non-partisan lobbying and public policy activities on behalf of the bishops of Minnesota. It supports the ministry of the Minnesota Catholic bishops by: working with political and community leaders to shape legislation that serves the common good; educating Catholics and the public about the ethical and moral framework that should be applied to public policy choices; and, mobilizing the Catholic community to makes its voice heard in the public arena. MCC advocacy areas include economic welfare, human trafficking, immigration, education, bio-ethics, religious liberty, and marriage and family. On the grassroots level, MCC’s Minnesota Catholic Advocacy Network provides opportunities for Minnesota Catholics to carry out their responsibility to participate in political life. For more information, or to join the Minnesota Catholic Advocacy Network, visit mncc.org. Follow MCC on Facebook and Twitter.