Salt Lake City, UT – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network is urging fellow Catholics to become more active at both the local and national level to promote immigration law reform.
“The USCCB doesn’t support any state immigration accord, though the dioceses and the state Catholic bishops conferences have done so,” said Kevin Appleby, director of migration policy and public affairs for the USCCB. “At the same time, we believe that those accords are useful tools to defend immigrants’ rights and to change the characteristics of the immigration debate.”
Roughly 300 Catholics are meeting this week in Salt Lake City to review the effects of controversial anti-illegal immigration laws enacted by individual states like Arizona and Alabama as well as the Secure Communities program.
“Given that Congress has not been able to fix our broken immigration system, the front in the immigration debate has shifted to the states and local communities,” said Appleby. “Recognizing that the solution must come at the federal level, the conference provides participants the knowledge and skills to respond at the local level.”
The keynote speaker at the conference’s opening session on Wednesday was Salt Lake City Bishop John C. Wester, who discussed the Catholic Church’s involvement in promoting moderate immigration law reform, such as the Utah Compact, a document that insists state lawmakers take into consideration economic factors and family needs when enacting immigration laws.
“These are real human beings here. This isn’t some abstract political debate. These are real human beings who are suffering,” said Wester.
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