In a November 7 letter addressed to Speaker of the House John Boehner, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called upon members of the House of Representatives to address immigration reform legislation “as soon as possible, ideally prior to the end of the calendar year.”
In stating the case for action, Cardinal Dolan cited the ongoing suffering of immigrants and their families caused by a broken immigration system.
“As pastors, we [the bishops] witness each day the human consequences of a broken immigration system,” he wrote. “Families are separated through deportation, migrant workers are exploited in the workplace; and migrants die in the desert.”
Cardinal Dolan also wrote that keeping undocumented workers as a permanent underclass is a “stain on the soul of our nation.”
“As a moral matter, our nation cannot continue to receive the benefits of the work and contributions of undocumented immigrants without extending them the protection of the law. Keeping these human beings as a permanent underclass of workers who are unable to assert their rights or enjoy the fruits of their labor is a stain on the soul of the nation.”
Cardinal Dolan concluded that passage of immigration reform is a matter of “great moral urgency that cannot wait any longer for action.”
“The House has a responsibility to debate and attempt to resolve public policy issues that challenge the nation. Immigration is a challenge that has confounded our nation for years, with little action from our federally elected officials. It is a matter of great moral urgency that cannot wait any longer for action.”
The full text of the letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives is available online: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/immigration/upload/immigration-letter-to-house-dolan-2013-11-07.pdf