Church World Service backs US immigration reform

By agency reporter
3 Oct 2010

The US-based global humanitarian agency, Church World Service, has welcomed the introduction of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act 2010.

“This legislation offers concrete policy solutions to fix our broken immigration system,” said Erol Kekic, Director of the CWS Immigration and Refugee Programme. “We urge all Senators to co-sponsor this bill and support its enactment.”

The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010, introduced as a bipartisan measure by Senator Robert Menendez (New Jersey) and Senator Patrick Leahy (Vermont), would reduce waiting times for separated families to be reunited, protect both US-born and immigrant workers, provide a pathway by which undocumented immigrants could earn their legal status and eventual citizenship, admit refugees as lawful permanent residents, improve immigration detention conditions, and increase the quality of border enforcement by working with local border communities.

CWS’s work for immigration reform is informed, the agency points out, by the daily experiences of local congregations of its 36 member denominations and communions, and of its 34 refugee resettlement affiliate offices in 21 states.

“Our member communions and local offices around the country see firsthand how our current immigration system tears families apart, exploits workers, and keeps communities in fear. We need Congress to show the moral courage necessary to enact immigration reform this year. The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010 is a tangible piece of legislation we can work to enact to improve the lives of our immigrant brothers and sisters," said CWS's Kekic.

“This new legislation is a welcome contrast to controversial immigration proposals in Arizona and elsewhere,” he said. “It offers true solutions that will put our immigration system back on track and benefit the United States as a whole.”

“Immigration reform isn’t just the moral thing to do – it’s the practical thing to do and what’s best for the United States,” Kekic continued. “A recent report by the Center for American Progress shows that providing a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants and reforming the visa system would increase the Gross Domestic Product by $1.5 trillion over 10 years, including increases in tax revenue, investment, wage growth, and job creation.

“We applaud the leadership exhibited by Senators Menendez and Leahy in introducing this bill, and we urge all members of the Senate to co-sponsor this legislation and help enact it as soon as possible.”

[Ekk/3]

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