Catholic churches push hard for immigration reform

Immigration ReformA coordinated message among Catholic churches across America will be delivered next month in favor of immigration reform in America. Many of these churches will use Sunday Mass on September 8 to urge Congress to help undocumented immigrants get U.S. citizenship.

The Catholic Church has before officially stated its position as in favor of immigration reform, but never has it presented such a unified front for its passage.

Cecilia Muñoz, who is the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, leads Obama’s immigration effort. “It’s pretty rare for the Catholics to take on an issue like this straight to the pews,” she said. “This is actually much more across-the-church effort, and it shows.”

In addition to preaching this message across churches throughout America, phone calls will be placed to more than 60 Catholic Republicans who have a say in immigration reform.

“We want to try to pull out all the stops. They have to hear the message that we want this done, and if you’re not successful during the summer, you’re not going to win by the end of the year,” said Kevin Appleby, who works as director of migration policy at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Catholic leaders are at least partially motivated by the fact that many Latino immigrants are Catholics. Many Congress members are Catholic, too, with over 30% of members practicing, the largest single group in Congress. Speaker John A. Boehner, a longtime opponent of immigration reform, is himself Catholic.

A Republican from Iowa believes that the campaign could help to change some other Republican’s minds about immigration reform. Said Steve King, “If the church puts out a unified message, there will be some Catholic legislators who will want to accept that guidance, because they want to get there anyway. It gives them cover.”

In the past, pushes by the Catholic Church have found large success in government. Just last year, Obama was forced to compromise on a plan that would make religious employers provide contraception health insurance. If they can bring that same sort of power to immigration reform, we should see some forward progress come September.

More on Immigration Reform:

  • Immigration Reform 2013
  • Gang of 8
  • Earned Citizenship
  • Streamlining Immigration
  • Strengthening Border Security
  • More Accountability for Employers Hiring Undocumented Immigrants