LCWR Responds to House Republican Standards for Immigration Reform
[Silver Spring, Maryland] The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) welcomes the release of the Republican immigration standards and leadership’s willingness to engage in immigration reform.
“Achieving just and compassionate immigration reform will require the wisdom and leadership of legislators on both sides of the aisle,” said Sister Janet Mock, CSJ, executive director of LCWR. “We applaud Speaker Boehner’s willingness to enter into serious negotiation around one of the most pressing moral issues of our time.”
We are encouraged that the standards acknowledge the special circumstances and extraordinary potential of those brought to the United States as children and hope that legislation crafted in the House will apply to DREAMers broadly and respect the special needs of their families.
However, we are concerned about the implications of many of the other broad principles outline by US House Republican leaders in their statement of standards.
We are troubled by the prioritization of employment-based immigration over family unity. Our nation needs immigration reform that reflects the paramount importance and socio-economic contribution of families, not reform that pits one group of aspiring Americans against another. We need not sacrifice our families to meet the needs of our economy. In fact, ensuring family unity will help us meet our national economic goals.
While we acknowledge the responsibility of the federal government to secure our borders and enforce the rule of law, we believe the best way to protect America is to create a rationale immigration system that respects human rights and border communities, reunites families, and meets the needs of employers and workers.
Perhaps most concerning is the failure of the Republican standards to lay out a clear roadmap to citizenship for the approximately 11 million Americans trapped in the shadows by our broken immigration system. Our nation cannot abide an immigration law that bars our brothers and sisters from citizenship they are willing to earn and we will not tolerate legislation that consigns members of our community to second class status.
Sister Janet reaffirmed the pledge made by LCWR at its 2012 assembly. “We remain committed to seeing just and compassionate immigration reform enacted and look forward to working with Representatives across the political spectrum to ensure that the standards upon which our immigration law is built reflect Catholic social principles and the values of our nation.”
LCWR, and its members across the country, will continue to press for legislation that protects the dignity and human rights of all people; creates an achievable pathway to citizenship; fixes the immigration visa system and reunites families; protects the rights of all workers; promotes the full integration of newcomers; respects the special needs of the most vulnerable; and addresses the violence, persecution, and poverty that force migrants from their homes.
The faith community, immigrant advocates, and immigrants themselves have been pursuing reform that builds upon the seminal values of our nation for years. We have waited long enough.
“As women of faith we take seriously the gospel call to welcome the stranger and care for those in need,” said Sr. Janet. “Together with people of faith and good will we will continue to work to ensure that the rights of our immigrant brothers and sisters are fully protected.”
LCWR is an association of leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. The conference has more than 1400 members, who represent more than 80 percent of the approximately 51,600 women religious in the United States. Founded in 1956, the conference assists its members to collaboratively carry out their service of leadership to further the mission of the Gospel in today’s world.
Sister Annmarie Sanders, IHM
Director of Communications
Leadership Conference of Women Religious