The head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said Congress must seize on a “once-in-a-generation” chance to pass comprehensive immigration reform when it comes back from its August recess next week.
Writing in the New York Daily News, Timothy Dolan, who is also archbishop of New York, invoked Pope Francis and Martin Luther King, Jr. in arguing that immigration reform would help families and the economy while improving the country’s security.
“As Congress comes back into session, it has a once-in-a-generation chance to fix our broken immigration system,” he wrote. “We cannot let this opportunity pass.”
He said “no one can be proud of the enormous underclass of undocumented workers that’s been allowed to form — millions of our neighbors who live on the margins, have their families fractured and are easily exploited.”
“We can’t be proud of the hundreds of migrants who die in the American desert each year in their quest to support their families back home,” he added.
He also claimed illegal immigrants were not “takers” and that immigration reform would benefit the U.S. economy. Dolan said the U.S. Catholic bishops, which has lobbied Congress to pass immigration reform, is calling for various reforms, including: “a generous, earned path to citizenship; making family reunification a priority; protecting the integrity of our borders; securing due process for immigrants and their families; improving refugee protection and asylum laws, and addressing the root causes of unauthorized immigration.”