We are Easter people filled with hope about what is yet to come. This is a hopeful moment for immigration reform. This hope and potential for achievement is stronger than it ever has been. A bipartisan group of eight Senators recently introduced comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Write a letter to your Senators to lift up critical pieces that give immigrants a fair chance at the American Dream and also highlight areas of needed improvement. Find the letter here.
Everyday, undocumented workers pick our vegetables and pack our meat so we can eat. Yet this highly vulnerable population may not make enough to put healthy, fresh food on the kitchen table for their families on a salary of only $6.76/hour.[i] These same workers may already have been exposed to pesticides linked to cancer, learning disabilities, and nervous system disorders and then unable to buy fruits and vegetables that do not contain toxic pesticides. They also live in fear of losing their jobs and being deported for speaking up about workplace abuses. Deportation would separate them from their families and communities here.
With comprehensive immigration reform, undocumented workers can come out of the shadows, apply for citizenship through a fair and reasonable process, and eventually gain access to health care, food security, and other services that will improve their quality of life. Comprehensive immigration reform will also bring families, the cornerstone of our faith communities, together.
Catholic Social Teaching both defends the right to work and the right to migrate especially when the conditions where someone lives are not able to provide them with security. People migrate due to lack of economic opportunities sometimes resulting from U.S. influenced trade policies and other times they migrate due to natural disasters or violence in their communities that make their living situation untenable.
We call for a comprehensive and compassionate immigration policy that:
- Creates a pathway to citizenship
- Brings families together
- Ensures due process for people in detention centers
- Creates a pathway for future immigrants while addressing some of the root cause that force people to migrate in the first place.
A new bipartisan bill in the Senate accomplishes many of these goals and yet there is room to strengthen the bill to make sure it meets the needs of the most vulnerable immigrants and overall supports the common good.
Click here for a sample letter to tell your Senator to support comprehensive immigration reform.
Click here to read the Missionary Society of St. Columban, U.S. Region’s 2013 immigration statement.
[i] [i] “Low Wages”, by: National Farm Worker Ministry Staff, http://nfwm.org/education-center/farm-worker-issues/low-wages/