Photo: Activists carry wooden crosses to U.S. bishops’ news conference on immigration reform legislation earlier this month in San Diego. The wooden crosses represent undocumented workers who have died crossing into the United States. (CNS photo/David Maung)

WASHINGTON—Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration, commended, June 28, the U.S. Senate for passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation. The U.S. Senate passed S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Competitiveness, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, by a vote of 68-32. 

            He urged the House of Representatives to immediately consider bi-partisan comprehensive immigration reform.

            “I commend the U.S. Senate on the vote and for the bi-partisan cooperation displayed during the legislative process,” Archbishop Gomez said.  “I urge the House of Representatives to follow the U.S. Senate’s lead and pass a comprehensive reform bill as soon as possible.”

            Archbishop Gomez stated that while the USCCB Committee on Migration disagrees with elements of the bill, they see the legislation as an overall improvement upon the status quo.

            “The status quo of our current system causes much suffering among immigrants and their families and must end,” Archbishop Gomez said.  “The Senate legislation would allow immigrants and their families to come out of the shadows and into the light and would protect families from separation.”

            Archbishop Gomez said that the USCCB will continue to seek improvements in the Senate legislation and in any legislation considered by the U.S. House of Representatives, including making the path to citizenship for undocumented persons more accessible and achievable.

            “Our work is not finished,” Archbishop Gomez said. “The Church will continue to fight for the rights of migrants, both during the current debate and into the future.”

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