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Support grows for U.S. immigration reform
(Vatican Radio) Supporters of a far-reaching immigration bill in the U.S. Senate see fresh momentum from a report by the Congressional Budget Office that says the measure would boost the economy and reduce federal deficits by billions of dollars.
Congress' nonpartisan scorekeeping agency said Tuesday that the immigration bill would decrease federal red ink by $197 billion over a decade and $700 billion in the following 10 years as increased taxes paid to the government offset the cost of benefits for newly legal residents.
The Bishops of the United States have consistently supported efforts at comprehensive immigration reform. Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration, has urged Congress to support the Senate’s proposed legislation.
Kevin Appleby, the Director of Migration Policy and Public Affairs for the USCCB, spoke with Vatican Radio about the Bishops’ priorities for the reform of the United States’ immigration policy. He pointed to the pastoral statement “Strangers No Longer”, issued jointly by the Bishops of the United States and of Mexico, which outlines the principles “that would guide our judgment on public policies toward migrants.”
“What we’re looking for in this bill,” he said, “is certainly to bring 11 million undocumented out of the shadows, and get them right by the law, have them legalised.”
He also spoke about the need to assist migrants risking the trek across the desert to find work: “We also are looking for the creation of legal avenues so low-skilled workers who currently cross the border at risk of their lives and sometimes die in the desert can come through legally to work in different jobs.”
Appleby also identified the unity of the family as a primary goal of the US bishops: “Keeping family unity as the cornerstone of our immigration system is of primary importance to the bishops.”
“So those are the three main elements we’re pursuing right now.”
Listen to the full interview of Kevin Appleby with Christopher Wells: