Developing strategies to end hunger

Catholics Mobilize for Immigration Reform

U.S. Catholics have mobilized to pass immigration reform and are working with other denominations including evangelical groups who have launched thier "Pray4Reform" campaign (Bread for the World).

In the last several weeks, about two dozen large Catholic dioceses and archdioceses have participated in a series of organized events to build support for comprehensive immigration reform. As part of this initiative, activists have been in contact with Catholic members of Congress. Kim Daniels, spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, explains that the goal is to “get the message out to our representatives that we need to fix our broken immigration system.”   

On September 8, the day before Congress returns from its August recess, Catholic priests from these dioceses, which are spread throughout the United States, plan to deliver sermons that emphasize the importance of immigration reform and the responsibilities of Catholics toward unauthorized immigrants.

The two dozen dioceses strongly support the concept of a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, all who “can demonstrate good moral character” should have an opportunity to become U.S. citizens.

The significance of Catholic support for the right to citizenship should not be underestimated. This is especially true as immigration reform moves to the House of Representatives, since about 30 percent of House members are Catholic.

More than 21 percent of unauthorized immigrant adults in the United States, and more than 34 percent of children of immigrants, live in poverty. Efforts by Catholics and other people of faith to improve the status of undocumented immigrants are essential to accomplishing Bread for the World’s mission of ending hunger.

Michelle Gilligan


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