Leadership Conference of Women Religious Calls for Immigration Policy Reform

April, 2006

[Silver Spring, MD] The National Board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) joins immigrant communities, Catholic bishops and other organizations who urge members of the Senate to adopt comprehensive immigration reform when they return to Washington next week after the Easter recess. While acknowledging the need for more effective law enforcement, LCWR insists that what is needed is a comprehensive solution to the immigration crisis is need, one that recognizes the human dignity and rights of all people.

In recent days, immigration reform has seized national headlines. On April 7, the Senate failed to invoke cloture on debate of S. 2454, the compromise bill titled the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006. While this bill included many of the provisions promoted by the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) Justice for Immigrants Campaign, it also included harsh enforcement provisions opposed by the Bishops. A few days later, on April 10, thousands of immigrants, both documented and undocumented, and their supporters participated in massive rallies across the country calling for comprehensive immigration reform which includes family reunifications, protection for workers, and a means to legalization.

Members of religious congregations who are part of LCWR have worked for many years on behalf of migrants, immigrants and refugees and continue to stand in solidarity with immigrant sisters and brothers. The national board sees immigration legislation as a test of this country’s moral fiber and commitment to the basic values of human worth, dignity and freedom we espouse as a nation.

The LCWR statement reads as follows:

“The National Board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) stands in solidarity with immigrant sisters and brothers who seek comprehensive immigration reform in this country. As a member of the Justice for Immigrants Campaign of the USCCB (United States Catholic Conference of Bishops), LCWR promotes legislation that includes family reunification, a path to earned legalization, worker protections and an effective border policy that is humane rather than punitive.

“The members of LCWR represent approximately 70,000 Catholic sisters in the United States, some of whom are themselves immigrants, and some of whom work closely with immigrant populations. Women religious believe and teach the Catholic social tradition based on human life and human dignity of all persons. This tradition includes the biblical mandate of welcoming the stranger. Since 1985, during annual assemblies, LCWR members have approved 11 different resolutions focused on solidarity with refugees, immigrants, or victims of human trafficking and have committed themselves to specific actions including education, advocacy, outreach, prayer and fasting. At this time, LCWR stands with immigrants, the Catholic bishops, and all those who work for legislation that ensures comprehensive immigration reform in the United States.”

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