US: Advocates for Immigration Reform

On the 25th of May, the US Senate passed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006. In welcoming this passage the US Jesuit Conference joins the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Justice for Immigrants campaign. This campaign calls for a strengthening of the bill’s provisions to provide a path to legalizing the status of undocumented immigrants, a path to legal work, and a restoration of due legal processes. It also calls for amelioration or elimination of harsh enforcement provisions in the bill. Jill Gershutz of the Social and International Ministries office of the Jesuit Conference (JCSIM), explains that “Jesuits, Jesuit institutions and lay collaborators across the Assistancy have worked during the past year to raise awareness of the need for just and humane immigration reform. The California Province led the spiritual movement through “prayer and fasting leading to direct action and advocacy.” Their fast continues. JCSIM Office and JRS/USA have sought to make immigrants’ voices heard. Expressed to Jesuits in direct ministry, these voices call for Comprehensive Immigration reform in Washington. Their efforts include a letter inspired by, and based upon, dialogue with Jesuit migrant ministers in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, to all 535 members of Congress. Finally, Jesuit colleges and universities have highlighted the issue in their communities across the country, including Omaha, Denver, Connecticut, San Jose, Cincinnati, and Baltimore, to name a few. The Assistancy will continue its efforts in solidarity with immigrants as the House of Representatives and Senate consider reconciliation of their bills. Efforts will include lobbying, dissemination of information, recounting of immigrants’ and pastors’ stories, and raising awareness amongst Catholics”.