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New Catholic Initiatives on Immigration Target Obama Administration

CHICAGO, IL March 6, 2009 --- In response to the devastating impact that current immigration laws have had on so many families, Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, together with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, has organized a national effort to gather testimonies in the form of petitions from U.S. citizens and permanent residents about how they themselves have suffered.

Francis Cardinal George, OMI, of Chicago will lead an interfaith prayer event March 21 which will also be held in 18 other US cities. Domincans are urged to participate.

Chuck Dahm, OP, (St. Albert) North American CoPromoter of Justice recently said, "We need to strengthen the official Catholic presence at these events as well as urge all those we know who have been negatively affected by current laws to attend."

According to fr. Dahm, the goals of the present efforts are to urge the President and Congress to stop ICE raids and deportations that are tearing families apart. Advocates want to "enact compassionate comprehensive immigration reform that fixes the broken immigration system that’s causing millions of families to suffer."

"The so-called “illegals” are so not because they wish to defy the law; but, because the law does not provide them with any channels to regularize their status in our country – which needs their labor: they are not breaking the law, the law is breaking them."

Most Reverend Thomas Wenski, Bishop of Orlando

In the next four weeks organizers will sponsor interfaith events in more than 18 cities, many of which have a strong Dominican presence, such as Providence, Houston, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc. 

President Obama supports the passage of comprehensive immigration reform and promised during the campaign to move on this issue during his first year in office.  U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has stated that he expects immigration reform to be taken up by the Senate by the end of 2009, and Senators John McCain and Mel Martinez, both Republicans, have publicly stated that immigration reform should move forward and that Republicans should support it.

The Catholic Church has historically held a strong interest in immigration and how public policy affects immigrants seeking a new life in the United States.   Based on Scriptural and Catholic social teachings, as well as her own experience as an immigrant Church in the United States, the Catholic Church is compelled to raise her voice on behalf of those who are marginalized and whose God-given rights are not respected.

Related Links:

US Catholic Bishops Office on Immigration

Sample letter to President Obama
(Word document)

Lenten Prayers for Immigration Reform