Catholic Relief Services joins Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, archbishop of Los Angeles, CA, and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, in commending the U.S. Senate for passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation. The U.S. Senate passed S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Competitiveness, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, by a vote of 68-32.
CRS expresses the hope that a final bill will prevent the kind of humanitarian crises that CRS and its partners have been witnessing and responding to because of the current system. We also hope that the House version of the comprehensive immigration bill specifically addresses the push factors that compel people to leave their families to embark on harrowing journeys across the border.
As many as 18,000 people are kidnapped on their journeys north each year and even as overall migration has decreased considerably, deaths in transit have not.
In a statement, Archbishop Gomez urged the House of Representatives to immediately consider bi-partisan comprehensive immigration reform.
“I commend the U.S. Senate on the vote and for the bi-partisan cooperation displayed during the legislative process,” Archbishop Gomez said. “I urge the House of Representatives to follow the U.S. Senate’s lead and pass a comprehensive reform bill as soon as possible,” he added.
Archbishop Gomez stated that while the USCCB Committee on Migration disagrees with elements of the bill, including the unprecedented build-up of enforcement resources along the southern border, they see the legislation as an overall improvement upon the status quo.
“The status quo of our current system causes much suffering among immigrants and their families and must end,” Archbishop Gomez said. “The Senate legislation would allow immigrants and their families to come out of the shadows and into the light and would protect families from separation,” he concluded.
Archbishop Gomez said that the USCCB will continue to seek improvements in the Senate legislation and in any legislation considered by the U.S. House of Representatives, including making the path to citizenship for undocumented persons more accessible and achievable.
“Our work is not finished,” Archbishop Gomez said. “The Church will continue to fight for the rights of migrants, both during the current debate and into the future.”
Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency provides assistance to people in 91 countries and territories based on need, regardless of race, nationality or creed. For more information, please visit crs.org or crsespanol.org.