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93 Catholic University & College Presidents Urge Speaker Boehner & Catholic House Members to Act Now on CIR

July 18, 2013, 5:56 pm | Posted by Casey Schoeneberger

While Congress Make Excuses, Presidents Release Letter Urging Action, Cite Theological and Economic Impetus for CIR

(Washington, DC) -  Over 90 Catholic college and university presidents released a letter this morning urging Speaker John Boehner and fellow members of the House of Representatives to quickly move forward on commonsense immigration reform that fills both the moral duties and practical needs of our nation. Standing with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic university and college presidents urged Members of Congress to recognize that our current “immigration system is so deeply flawed, and in such urgent need of repair, that inaction is unacceptable.”

The letter, released on a press call this morning, was spearheaded by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities and Faith in Public Life.

“As educators, we know the nation’s truly indispensable resource is its people, particularly its youth; as presidents of Catholic institutions, we recognize the call to treat all with dignity,” said Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C., President of the University of Notre Dame. “We urge lawmakers to adopt immigration reform that will both give aspiring Americans a path to citizenship and to becoming full contributors to our society, and to treat them with the dignity every human being deserves.”

Mary E. Lyons, President of the University of San Diego, spoke to the issue from her unique perspective as president of a university just miles from the U.S.- Mexican border.

“Our university sees firsthand that a broken immigration system that tears children from parents and militarizes border communities is not a moral or practical way forward. I’m proud to stand with my fellow university leaders in urging Congress to pass common sense reform that includes a path to citizenship. This is imperative if we wish to keep families together and help our nation meet the demands of a new global economy.”

Archbishop Jose Gomez, archbishop of Los Angeles, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration said he “…welcomes the support of the Catholic presidents for immigration reform. They are a welcome voice in this debate, as they see the potential and talent in newly arriving immigrants. Immigrants, especially youth, are important for our nation’s future and competitiveness. Educators understand the importance of investing in immigrant youth so they can become tomorrow’s leaders.”

And while the House of Representatives continues to delay much needed reform, individuals personally affected by America’s broken system urged Congress to act now and allow 11 million aspiring Americans the opportunity to contribute to our nation.

“America is my home. I grew up here, and I took my first communion here,” said Diego Sancheza DREAMer and 2013 graduate of St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida. “I want to keep giving back to our nation. But Speaker Boehner is keeping me, my family and millions of people just like us from earning our citizenship. We’re praying for him to do the right thing and stop standing in the way of common-sense reform.”

A survey just released from United Technologies and National Journal Congressional Connection indicates that the Catholic college and university presidents are not only in agreement with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, but with a majority of Americans (55%) who support a pathway to citizenship. Today’s survey follows months of polling demonstrating bipartisan support for common sense reform.

“Our Catholic faith teaches us to help the less fortunate than ourselves,” said John Garvey, President of The Catholic University of America. “More prosperous nations have an obligation to help those who come to their borders seeking security or employment.  The United States – as the richest nation on earth – has the foremost obligation to do so.  That’s why Catholics of all political persuasions should support comprehensive immigration reform.”

Catholic university and college presidents will continue to advocate on Capitol Hill and in their home states to urge members of Congress to pass a path to citizenship.  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will also circulate the president’s letter as part of their ongoing advocacy efforts, and the university presidents will personally be calling on their Members of Congress to step up to the plate.

“Not only will a roadmap to citizenship honor traditional Catholic principles of justice and solidarity, but here in Ohio it will strengthen our universities and help reinvigorate our economy,” said Dr. Daniel Curran, President of the University of Dayton. “The sooner Congress votes on comprehensive reform, the better off our nation will be.”

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