The approaches being taken by the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives are quite different, and everyone needs to know those different approaches and the consequences for our immigrant brothers and sisters.
The Senate Bill is a comprehensive approach, and it has the clear goal of dealing with all of the elements needed for genuine immigration reform. One package deals with legal status, young people brought here as minors from other countries, temporary workers, border security, employer verification, family reunification efforts, and bringing all 11 million out from the shadows of our society.
The Senate version more closely reflects the principles which have been set forth over many years by the U.S. Bishops Conference.
We believe strongly that the best way to deal with a broken immigration system is to tackle all of the elements and to find just and reasonable solutions to the entire system.
The House approach, however, is far different. Early indications from the House are that they would prefer to deal with each element separately, and one after another. Such an approach becomes a piece-meal effort, leaving enormous uncertainties among our immigrants. It is possible that such an approach could take years to complete, especially if time-line markers accompany each element.
The first comprehensive approach back in 2001, a bipartisan effort led by Senators McCain and Kennedy, and supported by President George W. Bush, would have dealt with all of the elements in a unified manner.
The current Senate Bill takes a similar approach, and I fully support this overall effort in one comprehensive package.
It has been 27 years since Congress has tried to deal with the imbalance of our immigration system, and it is important to move this forward in a meaningful way so that the dignity and rights of immigrants can be granted in one meaningful package.
Each of us needs to contact our U.S. Senator urging their backing and vote for such a comprehensive approach; similarly, we need to contact our U.S. House members and urge them to take the same approach.
A great and historic opportunity is before us, and for the sake of our hard-working immigrant families, we cannot protract this process over many years.