US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Promises on immigration reform?

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

On Saturday, April 10, I was in the Teamsters Hall on Ashland Avenue in Chicago's near West Side, along with more than 1,000 others - mostly Hispanics, but Chinese and Polish. We were there to ask Senator Dick Durbin, Assistant Majority leader of the U.S. Senate, to push comprehensive immigration reform through this year. He promised to do so and pointed to the behind-the-scenes negotiation of Senators Charles Schumer (D, NY) and Lindsey Graham (R, SC) to structure the architecture of a bill and introduce later this month.

An equally enthusiastic promise was made by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) in Las Vegas (see NY Times). That same day rallies were held around the country to take advantage of President Barack Obama's promise to the crowds on the Washington Mall a week before to get reform done this year.

How realistic are their promises? And what will come of the Schumer-Graham negotiations? They plan to provide "a pathway to citizenship" but also promise to secure the border. Unclear are their provisions on family reunification and on temporary guest workers.

Some Republicans have realized you obviously can't send 12 million people back to where they came from, but they not willing to be generous to families bringing their parents or siblings to this country. Also their generosity toward guest workers extends only to the highly skilled. They are not too sympathetic to labor's demand that any guest worker program safeguard American jobs and respect the human rights of the guest workers.

The Democrats are generally sympathetic on these last two issues, but to achieve the larger good--amnesty by whatever name you want to call it--these other crucial issues may be watered down, as we saw happen in the health care debates. The Senate is expected to act before the House.

The immigrant archbishop of Los Angeles

Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio, Texas, has been appointed Coadjudtor with right of success to Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles. That means Gomez will succeed Mahony when he retires in a few month. It is expected that the new archbishop would then be made a cardinal soon after. There were many profiles on Archbishop Gomez, but the Los Angeles Times profile seems quite fair.