The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge commended the developments this week regarding the long-overdue need for comprehensive immigration reform in the country.
On Tuesday, January 29, 2013, President Obama welcomed a proposal put forth on Monday, January 28 by a bipartisan group of United States senators. The “Group of Eight,” as they are called, issued a statement of principles on comprehensive immigration reform without going into specifics. A key element of their blueprint calls for legalization to all undocumented migrants provided they pay back taxes and a fine. Full citizenship would not be allowed until the border is secured and employers can properly verify a person’s immigration status.
Speaking in Las Vegas, President Obama said the proposal is “very much in line with the principles I’ve proposed and campaigned on for the last few years.” He requested Congress move quickly on drafting a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The President cautioned if Congress cannot agree on legislation, “I will send up a bill based on my proposals and insist that they vote on it right away.”
“The fact that the President and members of Congress are addressing this issue is an important step,” Bishop Burbidge said. “It is a strong indication that our federal leaders understand the dire need for comprehensive immigration reform along with a sense of urgency. This issue has been laid aside far too long for fear of political repercussion. As a result,” the Bishop added, “the lack of federal action has created extended debate and division in our country.”
“I join with my brother bishops in calling on President Obama and Congress to work together to in a truly bipartisan way in developing a just, fair and humane immigration policy that will serve our country well at this time and for years to come,” Bishop Burbidge said. “The new policy must include respect for the dignity of all individuals acknowledging basic human rights. It must also provide for the protection of our borders, which is the responsibility of every country.”
“Debate is essential on this important issue,” Bishop Burbidge said, “I pray that in the days and weeks ahead, it can be conducted in a civil manner, respectful of the views of all, regardless of their position on the question of comprehensive immigration reform.”
“Along with my brother members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I encourage fellow Catholics and others of good will to make their voices heard in support of this important issue and to pray for this special intention,” Bishop Burbidge said. “I urge our elected officials to work toward the creation of a system which will uphold the rule of law, preserve family unity, and protect the human rights and dignity of the person.”
The U.S. bishops have provided the faithful with an easy way to ask their U.S. senators and House of Representatives member to work on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform. They have made available an electronic postcard that will create the card to Senator Burr, Senator Hagan and your U.S. Representative automatically once you add your name and address to the form. Access the postcard.