If the various news reports are correct, we will soon see a proposed Bill submitted to the U.S. Senate through which comprehensive immigration reform would be enacted.
The bipartisan support in the Senate is the reason for the progress, and I am hopeful that at long last our broken and ineffective present immigration system will be completely fixed.
The US Bishops have been proposing needed immigration reform for many years now, and at least at this moment, many of the building blocks to an effective and comprehensive reform are in the proposal. What is crucial is how the Senate Bill fares in various committee hearings, and what types of amendments might be proposed--and approved.
There is real danger that in both the Senate and the House crippling amendments might so weaken the Bill that a comprehensive approach would once again be out of reach.
This is where we can all play a key role: first, we must lift up prayer to God that our immigrant brothers and sisters will at long last be afforded respect, dignity, and the mechanisms to gain legal and work status. Secondly, we must email our U.S. Senators and our U.S. House members urging them to pass a truly comprehensive law which will finally bring millions of fellow citizens out from the shadows, and set in place mechanisms to discourage further undocumented immigration.
The one group the U.S. House members listen to is their constituents--people with the power and ability to retain them in office, or expel them from office.
Once the Bill has been introduced, and once the Bishops' Committee on Migration has had the opportunity to review it, I will be giving you some sample emails so that you can send a clear and direct message to your Representative in Washington.
It has been a long time since we have drawn so near to a possible comprehensive immigration law, and I pray that the archetype migrant family, the Holy Family, will assist us to bring it about.