The U.S. Jesuit Conference and the Kino Border Initiative welcome today’s introduction of a bipartisan Senate immigration bill. Immigration reform has been a difficult issue to address, and this bill provides hope that an immigration agreement can be reached that respects the human dignity of our undocumented brothers and sisters.
We are especially pleased to see that members of the bipartisan group of senators included a pathway to citizenship for those without legal status and special provisions for DREAMers. We join the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in thanking Senators Schumer, McCain, Durbin, Graham, Menendez, Rubio, Bennet and Flake for their dedicated leadership and courage in introducing this bill. The Jesuit Conference will work with members of Congress to ensure that a final bill includes proper protections and legal relief for all undocumented immigrants.
The Society of Jesus’ work with migrants on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border provides us with an important perspective on border security provisions within the bill. Therefore, while we are encouraged by many elements of this bill, we want to ensure proper oversight of immigration enforcement authorities, respect for the due process rights of immigrants, and safe and humane deportation regulations. Additionally, any pathway to citizenship must be realistic and reasonable in light of the social and economic realities faced by immigrants.
Jesuit Father Thomas P. Greene, Secretary for Social and International Ministries at the U.S. Jesuit Conference, greeted the Senate bill with approval while cautioning that it will take time to study the bill and clarify its enforcement and eligibility provisions: “We are encouraged by the bill and this first step toward comprehensive immigration reform. However, we need time to assess its provisions and ensure that the pathway to citizenship is indeed accessible to the millions of undocumented immigrants living and working in our midst.”