(From Tucson’s Bishop Gerald Kicanas Feb. 18 Monday memo)
I attended a meeting on immigration with community and religious leaders at the United Methodist Church of Casa Grande, AZ [organized by IAF – Arizona Interfaith Network]. The purpose of this meeting was to plan a strategy for encouraging our state’s congressional delegation in Washington to support comprehensive immigration policy reform. There seems to be a bipartisan desire to finally address this system that so many have referred to as broken. Religious leaders have an important voice to bring to this discussion. For some time the Conference of Catholic Bishops in the United States has spoken up for a path to citizenship for the 11 million or so people here without proper documentation. Bishops have also advocated for a guest worker program for low skilled workers with worker protections as well as shorter waits for families to be united. The group of interfaith leaders met in Casa Grande to discuss how this religious and moral issue can be addressed by our country. There was a great deal of energy among the religious leaders determined that now is the time to act.
Meeting with Senator Jeff Flake on Immigration
(From Tucson’s Bishop Gerald Kicanas Feb. 25 Monday memo)
Bishops Thomas Olmsted and Eduardo Nevares from the Diocese of Phoenix; Bishop Kirk Smith, Episcopal Bishop of Arizona; Bishop Steve Talmage, of the Grand Canyon Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA); and I met with Senator Jeff Flake to discuss the progress he and seven senate peers are making on formulating a comprehensive immigration policy reform. It was encouraging to hear his hopes that the senatorial “gang of eight” will be able to get a bill through the Congress. While more work needs to be done, he is cautiously hopeful that they can get the needed votes for passage.
I hope as faithful citizens that all of us will encourage our Arizona Congressional Delegation to take the lead in formulating an immigration policy that will reflect the needs of our country, acknowledge the contributions of immigrants, provide legal avenues for people to enter our country to work, unify families that are too often separated from one another because of current immigration policy and control our borders from drug traffickers, human traffickers and criminal elements. It is a big task, but it needs to be done. Calls and letters to your congressional representatives will make a difference.