Although my attention is focused now upon the Conclave to begin on Tuesday, March 12, yet I am still praying for the introduction of a Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill in the U.S. Senate before Easter.
Four Republican Senators are active participants: Senators McCain, Rubio, Graham, and Flake; and four Democrat Senators: Schumer, Durbin, Bennett, and Menendez. They meet two or three times each week, and the fact that no leaks are occurring is a good sign.
It has been years since we have had any positive initiative to overhaul the terribly broken immigration system that plagues our country, and which continues to keep some 11 million of our brothers and sisters in the shadows and under fear and threats.
If a truly bipartisan effort emerges from the Senate, I am hopeful that it will also pass the House without being watered down as to leave it meaningless.
In several of my past blogs I have stressed the essential elements that the Church requires for a truly comprehensive approach: a DREAM Act provision for minors brought to this country without papers; a family reunification process which sharply reduces the waiting time; an earned path to legal residency for those without documents; some type of AGJobs to assist agriculture find adequate and qualified workers; some type of temporary worker program that protects the rights of American workers as well as the temporary ones.
The whole country suffers now without an adequate immigration system to balance our need for certain workers with a legal way for those workers to come here.
I am hopeful that our next Pope will also continue the Church's worldwide effort to work with the 212 million people on the move across the globe.