Posts Tagged ‘immigration system’

Immigration Reform; This Suffering Must End

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013
  • USCCB President says “Now is the Time” to reform Immigration system
  • Cardinal Dolan: Suffering of migrants must end
  • Path to citizenship should be improved and families protected
  • Enforcement should guarantee basic human rights

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), said in a press conference April 22 that “now is the time” to fix the nation’s broken immigration system. Cardinal Dolan was joined at the press conference by Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, and Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chair of the USCCB Communications Committee.

“Let me say that now is the time to address this issue,” Cardinal Dolan said. “As we speak, persons are being deported and an untold number of families are being divided. Human beings continue to die in the American desert. This suffering must end.”

The Catholic Church has much to bring to the national immigration debate, given the Church’s history as an immigrant church, “having welcomed successive waves of immigrants into our parishes, social service programs, hospitals, and schools,” Cardinal Dolan said. “As the pastor of the archdiocese of perhaps the greatest immigrant city in the world, I know first-hand of the many efforts that have been made by the Catholic community on behalf of immigrants.”

He pledged to work with the sponsors of immigration legislation and other elected officials to “achieve the most humane legislation possible.”

In responding to recently introduced immigration reform legislation in the U.S. Senate, Archbishop Gomez said the path to citizenship for the undocumented population in the legislation is welcome, but certain requirements “could leave many behind, remaining in the shadows.” He pointed to the need to shorten the time required to obtain citizenship, to create a more generous cut-off date and to remove barriers for low-income migrants as areas for improvement.

“If the goal [of the legislation] is to solve the problem in a humane manner, then all undocumented persons should be able to participate,” Archbishop Gomez said. He also cited the need to preserve family unity as the cornerstone of the nation’s immigration system.

“This is an important and historic moment for our country and for the Church,” Archbishop Gomez added. “We hope to see the legislation improve and advance, and we will work toward that end. The lives of millions of our fellow human beings depend upon it.”

Bishop Wester said that eligibility for permanent status and citizenship should not be contingent upon enforcement initiatives contained in the legislation. He warned that it could create a de-facto permanent underclass.

Bishop Wester also called for the immigration debate to be conducted in a “civil and respectful” manner.

“This is an important and historic moment for our country and for the Church,” Archbishop Gomez concluded. “We hope to see the legislation improve and advance, and we will work toward that end. The lives of millions of our fellow human beings depend upon it.”

 

How to prepare for Immigration Reform

Friday, April 19th, 2013

A. There are no new laws yet and no “amnesty;” all we have is a bill in the Senate. We are still many months away – if not longer – from any new laws. You can call us at 800-566-7636 to check if the law has passed; we’ll be happy to answer your calls.This Senate bill is only the beginning of the conversation. There will be a long time before we know what the law looks like and before anyone can apply for anything.

B. In the meantime you should NOT give anyone money to any notarios, agencies, or lawyers to prepare an application or help them gather documents. Once we have a Comprehensive Immigration Reform law, there will be many reliable agencies that will help people at low cost and possibly for free. There is no need to pay thousands of dollars now.

C. What you can do is to start preparing on your own in the following ways:

i. Start a box of important documents, including:

1. Identity documents;

2. Evidence of when you came to the US and how long you have been here (the date in the Senate bill is December 31, 2011, but people who came to the US before they turned 16 and would qualify under the DREAM Act, should gather evidence for all those years that they have been living in the US);

3. Evidence of any trips outside the US after the first arrival (evidence of how long they were out of the US);

4. Evidence of work (particularly if you are an undocumented farm worker) or education in the US (particularly for DREAM Act-eligible kids);

5. Copies of any applications you already made to INS/USCIS;

6. If ever arrested, get the certificates of disposition, because those with certain serious convictions will not be eligible to apply, so you will need to show those conviction records to an attorney.

ii. Start learning English;

iii. US citizens who want to sponsor their siblings should talk to an attorney about starting the process now (the Senate bill proposes to eliminate visas for siblings of US citizens – but that can also change);

iv. Save money because there will be penalty fees (Senate bill says $2000, to be paid in stages) in addition to application fees.

Immigration Reform: The Good of Our Country Demands Our Commitment

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, representing Timothy Cardinal Dolan, shook hands with Senator Chuck Schumer at the formal presentation of the bi-partisan Senate bill on comprehensive immigration reform at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Thursday April 18, 2013.

“The presence of so many diverse groups at the introduction of this bi-partisan bill shows that immigration reform is not about narrow self-interest, but the common good of the nation,”  Msgr. Sullivan said.

“The Catholic Church, and in a particular way Catholic Charities, partners with many to promote just policies and provide compassionate services that enable our neighbors to live in dignity as made in God’s image.  We understand there are different opinions on this important issue.  We will listen, and talk together to move forward to reform our broken immigration system. The good of our country and of individual neighbors and their families demand our commitment. ”

 

Looking for information about Comprehensive Immigration Reform?

Catholic Charities is here to help.

Contact us now.

Call Catholic Charities at New York State New Americans Hotline: 1-800-566-7636