By VICTOR CALDERON
The New Vision
The faith community must raise its voice in the call for immigration reform, religious leaders and elected officials said at a meeting of the Arizona Interfaith Network in Casa Grande in late August.
“The religious voice has an important role on immigration reform,” Bishop Gerald Kicanas said during the gathering at the United Methodist Church of Casa Grande. “This is the time to move forward as a nation… attentive to the dignity of all human life.”
Bishop Kicanas was joined by Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix and leaders of other religious denominations from throughout the state as well as U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Yuma). Several speakers said Arizonans know all too well the importance of immigration reform as a border state.
McCain said about 70 percent of Arizona residents support immigration reform for more than 11 million undocumented immigrants.
“We insist on a path to citizenship,” he said. “There are economic benefits. It’s a 10-year plan for a green card; it’s not amnesty.”
About 10 diocesan priests from Tucson, Nogales and Sahuarita attended the meeting, sponsored in part by the Pima County Interfaith Council. The meeting was held as Congress is stalled on immigration reform.
Also in August, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reiterated its position that the Conference opposes “enforcement only” immigration policies and supports comprehensive immigration reform. Among the elements bishops say they support include earned legalizations, a future worker program, family-based immigration reform and addressing root causes such as underdevelopment and poverty in other countries.