Washington (Agenzia Fides) - Satisfaction was expressed by the Commission for Migration of the Bishops' Conference of the United States of America (USCCB), on the proposal to include in the forthcoming budget reconciliation bill that, if enacted, would provide legalization with a pathway to citizenship for millions of Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) beneficiaries, undocumented agricultural workers, and other undocumented essential workers.
The TPS is an immigration program created in 1990 through which the United States grants exceptional permits to immigrants from countries affected by wars, natural disasters, epidemics or other situations that prevent safe return to their countries of origin.
From the note sent to Fides by the USCCB, we learn that the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate will need to incorporate these provisions into the budget reconciliation bill and both chambers will need to pass the bill before these provisions can become law. This action by the Judiciary Committee follows a letter sent last week by five committee chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which outlines the USCCB’s broad range of priorities for the full reconciliation bill, as well as a letter sent earlier this week by Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, in which he endorses the Judiciary Committee provisions.
In response to the Judiciary Committee’s passage of the legalization provisions, Bishop Dorsonville issued the following statement: "We are pleased that the House Committee on the Judiciary has taken this important step, setting up an opportunity for many undocumented persons to receive legal status and a pathway to citizenship. Undoubtedly, Catholic social teaching will be implicated by many aspects of this budget reconciliation bill, but this is a welcome milestone for many families and the common good".
"For decades, the bishops of the United States have been proponents of such reforms, which promote integration and family unity - he continues -. We cannot persist in relegating these members of our society to the margins, especially when we simultaneously depend on so many of them for our collective wellbeing".
"As we continue to work toward a more comprehensive reform of our immigration system—one that acknowledges and respects the God-given dignity of every person—we welcome this crucial step. We call on both the House and Senate to include these provisions in the final reconciliation bill and for Congress to pass a bill that helps all those on the margins of our society, strengthens families, protects religious freedom, promotes care for creation, and respects the rights and dignity of every human life, from conception to natural death", concludes the statement.
Two days ago, President Joe Biden highlighted in his message for Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated from September 15 to October 15, the fundamental contributions of Latinos to various sectors of society in the United States and the need for immigration reform. "We must continue the fight to protect the sacred right to vote and provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented Hispanics — especially Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status holders, farmworkers, and essential workers, through desperately needed immigration reform", he said in a message released by the White House. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 17/9/2021)