Week of July 7, 2013

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I heard on the news this morning (6/28/13) that the United States Senate has passed an immigration reform bill. The House of Representatives now take up the issue. Recently the Missouri Catholic Conference mailed out information about immigration reform. At times I hear people talk about the separation of church and state. This separation does not mean that our Catholic Church cannot speak. Scripture demands that we speak about social issues. We may not agree with everything that is said, but it is important that what we value and believe becomes part of the dialogue. The Missouri Catholic Conference is one of those avenues that help the message of our church to get out there. Below is a recap of the bishops’ position.

It has been over 25 years since Congress overhauled the nation’s immigration system. A new law is badly needed that will ensure an orderly immigration process whereby immigrants can legally enter the U.S. and contribute their talents.

The U.S bishops have been unwavering in their support for comprehensive immigration reform. Key elements of the reform sought by the bishops are found in the Senate bill, including a path for people to earn their citizenship and strengthening a program that allows families to reunite in this country.

The bishops understand the need for an orderly and legal process of immigration. They support allowing people to come out of the shadows and regularize their legal status by paying back taxes, learning English, and taking other steps to become U.S. citizens.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has issued a report indicating that if the immigration bill would pass in its current form it would increase the U.S. population by 10.4 million and decrease federal budget deficits by $197 million between 2014 and 2023. The budget deficits would be decreased because of new revenue paid by immigrants through income and payroll taxes. New immigrants in the workforce will also help keep our Social Security System solvent as more Baby Boomers retire.

In summary below is the message the bishops are presenting regarding Immigration Reform.

We are a nation of immigrants; let’s welcome new immigrants that can contribute to the greatness of our country.

Let’s not keep good, hardworking people in the shadows; there should be a way for the undocumented to become legal residents and citizens.

These immigrants will pay more taxes, keep Social Security solvent and help to build a more robust economy that helps us all.

A new immigration law will increase the U.S. workforce paying taxes and will lead to major reductions in the federal budget deficit.

Our immigration laws should allow families to reunite in this country.

If you would like to read more about immigration reform you can go to the Missouri Catholic Conference Site, http://www.mocatholic.org or http://www.USCCB.org (the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops web site). The USCCB site will give you a more thorough view of our bishops’ stance. Pray for our representatives. Send a note asking them to work for just immigration reform.

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