In this case, though, I'm short on time. Also, I don't know how long the USCCB website keeps material like this available.
It's about the DREAM Act, a bit of legislation that's - controversial. I'll get back to that, after this press release.
December 3, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"U.S. Catholic Bishops to Congress: The Dream Act is the 'Right Thing to Do'
"WASHINGTON (December 3, 2010)—In a letter to Congress December 2, Coadjutor Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, called on Congress to pass the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM), calling it 'the right thing to do.'
" 'With the passage of the DREAM Act, we can welcome a new generation of Americans who will one day become leaders of our nation,' wrote Archbishop Gomez.
"The DREAM Act would provide a path to citizenship for thousands of young persons without legal status who were brought to the United States as children by their parents. Under the legislation, young people who complete two years of higher education or two years of military service would be eligible for legal permanent residence and eventual citizenship.
" 'It is important to note that these young persons entered the United States with their parents at a young age, and therefore did not enter without inspection on their own volition. We would all do the same thing in a similar situation,' Archbishop Gomez said. 'They have incredible talent and energy and are awaiting a chance to fully contribute their talents to our nation. We would be foolhardy to deny them that chance.'
"The USCCB has long supported the DREAM Act, as well as comprehensive reform of the nation’s immigration system.
" 'There are times when a proposal should be enacted because, simply put, it is the right thing to do. This is one of them,' the Archbishop said. 'The DREAM Act represents a practical, fair, and compassionate solution for thousands of young persons who simply want to reach their God-given potential and contribute to the well-being of our nation.'
"Full text of the letter follows.
"December 2, 2010
"U.S. House of Representatives
"Washington, D.C. 20515
"On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), I write to express our support for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act). This legislation would make a difference in the lives of undocumented youth who were brought to the United States by their parents and now, because of their lack of legal status, face obstacles to their future. By removing such barriers, the DREAM Act permits immigrant students to pursue a promising future through college education or military service.
"Those who would benefit from the DREAM Act are talented, intelligent, and dedicated young persons who know only the United States as their home. They can become some of the future leaders of our country, provided we are wise enough to provide them the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
"Under the DREAM Act, deserving immigrant youth can adjust to permanent resident status provided that they entered the United States before age sixteen, have been physically present in the United States for not less than five years, demonstrated good moral character, have no criminal record and do not threaten national security, and have earned their high school diploma. This bill also offers students a fair opportunity to earn U.S. citizenship if they commit to and complete at least two years of college or two years of honorable service in the military.
"Importantly, this legislation will apply to students in both public and private education, including those attending Catholic schools.
"It is important to note that these young persons entered the United States with their parents at a young age, and therefore did not enter without inspection on their own volition. We would all do the same thing in a similar situation. The United States is the only country that they know. They have incredible talent and energy and are awaiting a chance to fully contribute their talents to our nation. We would be foolhardy to deny them that chance.
"With the passage of the DREAM Act, we can welcome a new generation of Americans who one day will become the leaders of our nation. There are times when a proposal should be enacted because, simply put, it is the right thing to do. This is one of them.
"The DREAM Act represents a practical, fair, and compassionate solution for thousands of young persons in our nation who simply want to reach their God-given potential and contribute to the well-being of our nation. I urge you to support this measure and call for its immediate enactment.
"Most Reverend Jose H. Gomez
"Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles
"Chairman, USCCB Committee on Migration
"Keywords: DREAM Act, immigration reform, students, youth, Congress, Archbishop José Gomez, Migration and Refugee Services, MRS, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB
"# # # # #"
(Press Release, Office of Media Relations, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (December 3, 2010))
The GOP apparently thinks that the DREAM Act would let foreign criminals into America. That's what they're saying, it seems. They might even be right:
"Republicans Slam DREAM Act for Including Immigrants With Criminal Records"
FoxNews.com (December 8, 2010)
"With both chambers of Congress cruising toward a vote on the DREAM Act as early as Wednesday afternoon, Republicans are grousing about what they argue is a glaring loophole that allows illegal immigrant criminals to qualify for a green card.
"The DREAM Act, a bill heavily backed by the Obama administration and congressional Democrats, would give some illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States as children a pathway to legal status provided they attend college or join the military. Supporters argue it gives immigrants invested in this country a chance at coming out of the shadows, justly letting them off the hook for the decision of their parents to enter the United States illegally. It encourages education and would build the Armed Forces, they say.
"But the bill is written more broadly than that, Republicans argue. According to a memo circulated by GOP aides on the Senate Judiciary Committee, there are a host of crimes illegal immigrants would be allowed to commit and still qualify -- assault, domestic violence, sexual abuse, reckless driving and various types of fraud among them...."
It's not a perfect system: SNAFUs happen.
I'm pretty sure that the DREAM Act isn't a perfect piece of legislation. I'm also pretty sure that America hasn't seen a perfect piece of legislation yet - and won't.
Me? I think folks with criminal records need to be handled a bit differently than folks without criminal records. No matter where they're from. That's not a 'lock them all up' stand - and that's another topic.
I also think it's silly to keep people who want to live, work, and raise families in this country from living, working, and raising families in this country.
Does this mean that I'm a hate-filled conservative? A bleeding-heart liberal? No. I'm Catholic. And that's yet another topic.
- "Natural Moral Law, Catholicism, Karma, and the Tea Party"
(October 16, 2010)
- " 'Conflict Minerals,' Politics, and Making Sense"
(July 22, 2010)
- "Minnesota Bishops, Immigrants, Papers and Justice"
(June 30, 2010)
- "New Archbishop of Miami: Obviously Conservative? Obviously Liberal? No: Clearly Catholic"
(July 2, 2010)
- "Conservative? Liberal? Democrat? Republican? No, I'm Catholic"
(November 3, 2008)
- "Republicans Slam DREAM Act for Including Immigrants With Criminal Records"
FoxNews.com (December 8, 2010)
- Press Release
Office of Media Relations, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (December 3, 2010)
- "The DREAM Act"
Migration Policy and Public Affairs Office, Migration & Refugee Services, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops