greatmigration.jpg photo                                                 IMMIGRATION REFORM-2013      

 

With world community and, in particular, the United States Congress focused on the crisis in Syria, the future of immigration reform legislation is left hanging and there seems to be little momentum to take up this very serious issue.

Without sufficient support from members of the House of Representatives, Senate bill 744 has a very slim chance of passage.

     

The current immigration system has and continues to cause much hardship and suffering among immigrants and their families besides the economic and social cost to the United States.  More than18 billion dollars a year is spent to militarize the approximately 700 miles of the southern border of the United States.  The more this border is militarized the greater the opportunity for violent force to be used. As reported in reputable news journals, since 2010 fifteen people have been killed by border agents.  Members of Congress have criticized the “appalling behavior” of agents. The US Border Patrol has responded that use of force can become necessary when fear of bodily harm is great.  Numerous civil rights advocates and victims’ families in the United States and Mexico are concerned about the escalating violence.  It should be noted also that many of the fifteen cases of fatal shootings happened as a result of rocks being thrown at agents. 

 

 Archbishop Emeritus, Theodore McCarrick, of Washington DC in The Washington Post, stated that we must bring the undocumented workers in the United States out of the shadows.  It has been recorded that there are about 11 million undocumented people living in the United States and 7 million are employed in various industries in our country as construction, agriculture, service, health care, etc.  They pay billions in various taxes but are not allowed the protection of basic work place laws as minimum wage, overtime payment, etc. 

 

A comprehensive immigration reform legislation is needed in our country to stop the violence at the border and to provide a legal path for the underclass workers in our country.  As Archbishop McCarrick has stated “such reforms would level the playing field for all laborers in the United States, as the reforms are designed to eliminate, or severely reduce, the underground ‘off the books’ economy.”

 

The United States Congress must find a way to come together and deal with this escalating moral issue in a more humane and just manner.  Pope Francis has called upon all peoples of the world to resist indifference to immigrants and their plight. 

 

Action Steps:

  • Call your US Representative urging that the Congress take up the issue of immigration reform
  • Send an email to your US Representative asking their support for immigration reform.  See the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, justiceforimmigrants.org website.
  • Check out the Kino Border Initiatives at www.kinoborderinitiative.org, a Jesuit-sponsored organization offering humanitarian assistance, education and research/advocacy.

 

 

Ann Kasparek