PRESS RELEASE: Catholics Support President Obama’s Immigration Proposal

Posted January 29, 2013

Brings hope to millions living in shadows

WASHINGTON – President Obama today announced his support for the bipartisan Senate proposal released Monday aimed at easing the plight of undocumented immigrants in America, a move long sought for by advocates of Catholic social teaching. In addition, the President laid out his own plan, advocating for a clearer, simpler path to citizenship for the undocumented.

Comprehensive immigration reform, including that path to citizenship for those already in America, is a long-sought goal of politicians and people of all faiths that has eluded Congress for decades. With the election providing a clear mandate for easing suffering and division, observers note the President and the Senate can perhaps find the political will to come together to achieve a major victory for the common good.

“The Senate proposal, paired with the additional support of the White House, is a much-needed victory for those living in America’s shadows,” said James Salt, executive director of Catholics United. “While these plans are just a first step, and legislation is yet to be written, it is clear the time for coming together to finally solve this issue is now. This is a great day for Catholics and all people of good will to celebrate the human rights of all.”

There is concern that the US bishops and other right-wing activists may torpedo plans for immigration reform for 11 million undocumented workers if there are provisions allowing a few thousand gay men and women the same rights as heterosexuals.

“We pray the bishops and their Republican allies in Congress use their powerful voices to give full-throated support to comprehensive immigration reform, and not derail it based on divisive social issues,” said Salt. “The vast majority of undocumented immigrants are Catholic. We hope the bishops put aside their opposition to same-sex spousal reunification rights, especially if doing so will result in millions of undocumented immigrants no longer having to live in the shadow of society.”

The fact remains that this provision protecting gays and lesbians from immigration injustice may be moot, as the Supreme Court is set to rule on the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” this coming June. A ruling striking down this law would invalidate concerns over the rights of sexual minorities.

Founded in 2004, Catholics United, and its educational arm, Catholics United Education Fund, are non-profit, non-partisan organizations dedicated to promoting the message of justice and the common good found at the heart of the Catholic Social Tradition.

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