This week Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), said “now is the time to fix the nation’s broken immigration system.” Cardinal Dolan was joined at a press conference by Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, and Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chair of the USCCB Communications Committee.
“Let me say that now is the time to address this issue,” Cardinal Dolan said. “As we speak, persons are being deported and an untold number of families are being divided. Human beings continue to die in the American desert. This suffering must end.” The Catholic Church has much to bring to the national immigration debate, given the Church’s history as an immigrant church, “having welcomed successive waves of immigrants into our parishes, social service programs, hospitals, and schools,” Cardinal Dolan said.
In responding to recently introduced immigration reform legislation in the U.S. Senate, Archbishop Gomez said the path to citizenship for the undocumented population in the legislation is welcome, but certain requirements “could leave many behind, remaining in the shadows.” He pointed to the need to shorten the time required to obtain citizenship, to create a more generous cut-off date and to remove barriers for low-income migrants as areas for improvement.