Immigration Reform

May 12, 2011


Ask your members of Congress to implement comprehensive immigration reform


On May 10, 2011, President Barack Obama traveled to El Paso on his first presidential visit to the border. The President gave a speech addressing the government’s success in securing the border and the need for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Often politicians claim a desire to fix the broken immigration system and then out of concern for re-election, fail to address the issue. As the President stated in El Paso, “There will always be another election, the time for reform is now.” The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops immediately responded to the President’s speech reiterating, “The President and Congress can no longer wait to address this important issue…. In the absence of comprehensive reform, many states and localities are taking the responsibility of enforcing immigration law into their own hands. This has led to abuses and injustices for many U.S. families and immigrant communities.”

Both Republicans and Democrats have tried to no avail to create comprehensive immigration reform. Opponents often claimed, “Secure the border first.” President Obama stated in his speech, “We have done all they asked for” and that “the border is more secure than ever before.” To make his point, he highlighted the fact that the Administration achieved its congressional benchmarks. Today, the Border Patrol has twice the agents it had in 2004, the border fence is nearly complete, intelligence officials have tripled and aero patrols cover the border from Texas to California. Apprehensions have fallen 40%, drug seizures have increased 31% and weapon seizures have increased 64% during the Obama administration.

Since security has been reestablished at the border, it is imperative Washington starts to address immigration in the United States. The 11 million undocumented immigrants should have a path to earn citizenship. Obama said he would facilitate a “constructive and civil debate on immigration.” We must hold the President to his word and demand that he does not waver on comprehensive immigration reform. Meanwhile, we must persuade our members of Congress that the national will is finding a solution to the broken immigration system.


A sample letter can be found below.

To write, find contact information for the Senate here:

And here for the House:


Here is a sample letter you can borrow and/or adapt:

Dear Senator/Representative _______,

I write to you as a constituent and a person of faith concerned about fixing the broken immigration system. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have significantly increased border enforcement and security measures. The border is now safer than ever before with significant improvements in the last few years. Under President Obama, there has been a 40% reduction in apprehensions, 31% increase in drug seizures and a 64% increase in weapons seizures. Now that the Obama administration has met congressional benchmarks on border enforcement, Congress should begin a dialogue on comprehensive immigration reform.

I urge you to vote against further enforcement legislation without addressing a viable solution for the 11 million undocumented immigrants. The United States must offer a path to “earned citizenship.” My faith teaches that we must protect the dignity and rights of every individual. While the Congress fails to act on immigration, states are taking the role of implementing harsh anti-immigration legislation, like Arizona’s SB1070. Such laws have dehumanized the migrant community, resulting in a permanent underclass in American society. Congress has the power to effectively reform immigration; thereby bringing millions out of the shadows, increasing tax revenue, and increasing national security by knowing who is in our country. It is in the United States’ national interest to establish a smart immigration policy and eliminate the separation between segments of our society.


The Columban Center for Advocacy & Outreach
Michelle Melcher Knight