Following is Cardinal Egan's statement on immigration reform which he issued after the meeting at his residence with U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez on April 23.
Over the past several years, I have written and spoken about the need of justice and compassion for newcomers to our land and invited dialogue on this troubling issue. In 2005, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops launched the Campaign for Immigrant Justice and offered a set of recommendations for comprehensive immigration reform that would provide undocumented workers with a pathway to permanent legal status, expand opportunities to reunify families, develop a temporary worker program and outline due process for immigrants.
I am encouraged by the immigration legislation that has been proposed in the Congress. Equally encouraging is the initiative of the President to develop a framework for addressing this issue in a comprehensive manner. While all of this is indeed encouraging, it is crucially important that attention be given to the details of any proposed legislation.
As I have in the past, I again ask that all proposed legislation be carefully reviewed to ensure that certain terms and conditions, such as security of borders, waiting periods, penalties and fees do not impede the overall goal of a reform that is both comprehensive and just. In particular, I insist that family unity, which must be a bedrock principle of immigration into this beloved nation of ours, be preserved and strengthened in all proposed legislation.