The last time Congress attempted a full-blown fix of immigration law in 1986, the major accomplishments were that a few million people won legal status and some employment verification systems were created, but the legislation proved inadequate to repair systemic problems, according to panelists at a migration law and policy conference.
Immigration and the Church
President Barack Obama issued a rallying cry Thursday to advocates of immigration reform, telling them to press Congress to pass a bill on the issue before the end of the year.
"This is the moment we should finally be able to get the job done," Obama said during a statement at the White House, surrounded by advocates of reform. "It is time. Let's go get it done."
The night spent in jail gave Eli McCarthy time to reflect.
The director of justice and peace for the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, McCarthy was among the more than 200 people arrested Oct. 8 outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington following an immigration rally on the National Mall.
Jesus was the "divine immigrant" who lived his life "traveling from place to place," Bishop David O'Connell of Trenton told the congregation at a midday "Justice for Immigrants" Mass Oct. 11 at St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral.
"Sacred Scripture tell us where he was from and what his ancestral lineage was," the bishop said in his homily. "But nowhere in the Bible do we find his permanent address, the location of his house, where he lived after beginning his public ministry.
"He lived and worked as an immigrant, an itinerant preacher, on many levels," the bishop added.
At least eight members of Congress were among 200 people arrested in an act of civil disobedience Tuesday at the conclusion of a rally and march in support of comprehensive immigration reform at the National Mall.
Among the arrested members of Congress, all Democrats, was John Lewis of Georgia, who has been willingly subjecting himself to arrest in pursuit of civil rights since the 1960s, when he was at the side of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
A landmark measure granting California driver's licenses to people who are in the country illegally represents an important commitment to immigrants, said Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez.
The archbishop said he hopes the bill, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Thursday, will lead the way to comprehensive immigration reform in the United States.
Colorado's Catholic bishops said the nation needs to reform immigration laws "across the board" but said "establishing the specifics of those new regulations is the job of lawmakers, not pastors."
A decade after a pastoral letter on immigration-related challenges, a panel of commentators observed that the situation remains the same.
Faith-based advocacy in support of immigration reform is taking a multipronged approach as Congress resumes, with prayer and fasting being added to letter-writing and public speaking.
A Washington state consortium of labor, business, religious and government leaders have made public a set of five principles they say should be the foundation for immigration reform.