The U.S. House of Representatives paved the way for Senate action by passing on a bipartisan basis H.R. 6, the American Dream & Promise Act, and H.R. 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. I am pleased that the Senate and House have both adopted a budget resolution that paves the way for including these and other immigration provisions in a budget reconciliation measure. I urge you to follow through on the budget resolution by including provisions in the forthcoming budget reconciliation bill that would legalize with a path to citizenship Dreamers, TPS and DED holders, migrant agricultural workers, and other undocumented essential workers.
Enactment of legislation this year is essential for all of these groups mentioned, but it is especially critical for Dreamers, given the unfortunate ruling on July 16 from a district court in Texas that prevents new DACA applicants from having their applications processed and threatens the futures of those currently receiving DACA protection.
American Catholics have been working toward immigration reform for decades. Disagreements about specific aspects of immigration policy should not stand in the way of relief for those already living as Americans in practice, if not on paper.
Millions living in the U.S today without legal status have been doing so for years, if not decades, and have established strong community ties. Many of those without legal status or access to permanent residency have U.S.-citizen children, homes, and businesses. Catholic teaching affirms a nation's right to maintain its borders and regulate immigration. At the same time, it is contrary to Catholic teaching to have a "double society", one "visible" with rights and one "invisible" without rights, unable to fully integrate. This is especially true when so many have committed themselves to the wellbeing of others and are simultaneously excluded from programs and denied rights afforded to citizens, as we've seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both the moral and economic rationales for reform are clear. The time for positive immigration reform is now.