The Catholic Church, their bishops and priests, have taken to the task of putting pressure on Congress to pass legislative measures and changes in immigration policy, which could open a path for undocumented immigrants to receive citizenship.
Catholic priests throughout the country are embracing political involvement and will be preaching a unified message on September 8, during mass, urging their parishioners to support President Obama’s drive for new immigration laws. This broader effort on the part of the Roman Catholic Church and other religious groups would include putting pressure by public demand on their lawmakers.
Educators also have joined in this unified effort. Presidents of 93 Catholic universities and colleges have sent a letter to the House Speaker and to the minority leader urging them to pass a comprehensive bill on immigration. This is the first time that college presidents have taken an active part in this issue.
The Hispanic community is very well aware that immigration laws are in great need of reform. The present situation creates many personal and legal problems and the labor issue of unskilled workers who have entered the United States either as illegal immigrants or with temporary work permits and are in constant fear of being discovered. This situation causes friction with legal immigrants and native workers.
It is important to keep in mind the political weight that the Catholic Church has in the United States…
Catholic members are the largest single religious group in Congress comprising with just above 30% and according to a study by Pew Research Center, there are 136 Catholic members of the House.
Catholic leaders who on several occasions did not agree with Obama on issues of social importance such same sex marriage, birth control and abortion and have expressed themselves very authoritatively, are confident that their congregations can put pressure on both Republican and Democrat lawmakers to support the President on immigration reform. In 2012, action from the Catholic Church forced a compromise on a plan to require employers to provide contraception as part of their employees’ health coverage.
The pressure will be intensified by means of advertising in all media and “prayerful marches” in districts where this is a matter of great importance. Several Representatives have expressed their differing views on how intervention from a religious point of view will change the minds of lawmakers.
The White House understands that by receiving the support of Catholics and members of other religious groups this will exert pressure on members of Congress who oppose these changes to the immigration reform. They are counting on these groups to help.
For this reason the decision adopted by the Catholic Church to urge the congregation, during Sunday mass, is as powerful as any advertising campaign. Those Republicans who are in disagreement with the President on this issue are aware how this message can influence those who hear it. Having the support of local bishops and priests could give those members a valid argument against criticism from conservatives.
It is clear that the Hispanic population play a huge role in this political and social framework. The issue is very close to their hearts. To continue without immigration reform would worsen the financial hardship experienced by legal workers who are being replaced by undocumented workers. Angel Reyes III, Managing Partner of Reyes Browne Reilley Law Firm, one of the biggest personal injury attorney law firms in Dallas, has expressed that “the need continues for comprehensive immigration reform”.
The strength of the Hispanic population is impressive. Being a Latino no longer is regarded as being an immigrant, it is being an American who also has a country of origin or second nationality which is Latino.
The Hispanic population is of increasing significance to both political parties. During the 2012 national elections the Hispanic vote was vital and decisive. Romney only acquired 27% of the Hispanic vote against 71% for Obama and they totaled 10% of the electoral vote. These results clearly make the Hispanic presence a force to be taken seriously.
This effect can also be seen on prime time television channels, where Univision receives a higher audience than NBC. Nor is it unusual to hear politicians’ talk of their Hispanic family roots to encourage more votes. The United States continues to evolve and progress with a multi-racial population which makes it a world leader.
The nation is divided on this issue, some consider it beneficial to legalize undocumented immigrants, others fear that this would create a huge influx of immigrants and still others think that there should be stricter control and consequences for employers who hire these workers. Meanwhile the controversy continues in the news and in our cities.
NOW is the moment to solve this serious problem.
The debate is open for discussion and it is hot.