December 21, 2023

USCCB Urges Congress to Reject Harmful Changes to Immigration Law as a Condition for Supplemental Funding

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is urging Catholics to contact their representatives to oppose counterproductive changes to immigration law as a condition for supplemental funding.

In recent days, a handful of senators have been negotiating behind closed doors to reach an agreement on potential changes to U.S. immigration law that could be attached to an emergency appropriations bill focused on international aid. This is in response to calls by some members of Congress to condition the enactment of supplemental funding on the inclusion of extraneous policy provisions for which there is no precedent in the appropriations process.

Proposals reportedly being discussed in the context of these negotiations include curtailing due process through rapid expulsions and nationwide expedited removal, mandating harmful and excessive detention, and making it even more difficult to attain asylum through heightened legal standards. But none of these steps will meaningfully reduce migration to the U.S.-Mexico border. 

On December 15, four chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote a letter to Congress, stating that “a country’s right and responsibility to manage its borders in accordance with the common good… need not and should not occur at the expense of our nation’s fundamental commitment to humanitarian protection.”

This follows a letter sent by the bishops in September expressing support for several aspects of the Administration’s recent supplemental funding requests, while conveying deep concern about the inclusion of provisions that would “severely weaken humanitarian protections long enshrined in U.S. and international law.”

In their most recent letter, the bishops went on to say: “Simply doubling down on enforcement and restrictive measures alone in the way recent proposals would do will not reduce irregular migration, especially when it is the result of desperation. Rather, such efforts will have the unintended consequence of further empowering smugglers, traffickers, gangs, and other bad actors who seek to exploit vulnerable persons, most often women and children. This is why we have long called for targeted enforcement measures, combined with actions to modernize and increase capacity at ports of entry, as well as increasing the number of, and access to, lawful immigration pathways… Finally, to reiterate, no sustainable reduction in irregular migration can be achieved without a long-term commitment to addressing its root causes in countries of origin.”

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