US Catholic Faith in Real Life

White House rally pushes for comprehensive immigration reform

By Father Tom Joyce, CMF | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Thousands of immigrants and their supporters traveled to Washington to rally on the west lawn of the White House for comprehensive immigration reform. They had been meeting locally, listening to the stories of immigrants and their families.  Now in D.C. they were urging the president and Congress to move quickly.

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who has long championed the cause of the immigrant, told the crowd that the issue was essentially uniting broken families.  The disruptions arise not just from the separation of parents and their U.S. citizen children in deportation proceedings, but also in the excessive waiting for visas to bring family members to the country.  There also is the plight of children who have come to the country very young and are being educated in our schools. The way to their future is being cut off because opportunities for higher education are closed. The congressman is introducing a comprehensive bill.

On the Senate side, Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), chair of the Immigration Committee, will advance a plan that will included a process of legalization, but its tone is expected to be weighed more to enforcement than the Gutierrez bill. A provision that particularly disturbs immigrant advocates and civil libertarians would establish a biometric-based employer verification system. The check of Social Security numbers now in use is replete with error. In the new system, everyone seeking employment – U.S. citizens and legal immigrant alike – will have to present valid identification. No action is expected in either house till after the health care debate is concluded. That should be in January.