Congress expects to tackle immigration sometime this year. Roman Catholic bishops have already started organizing local Catholics to lobby their members of Congress on an immigration reform bill.
U.S. Catholic bishops have long supported immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for people who illegally live in this country. The bishops also want to promote faster family reunification.
To convey that message to Congress, the bishops have organized a postcard campaign. They’ll urge parishioners to send a million-and-a-half pieces of mail to Capitol Hill and demand passage of an immigration bill.
Bishop John Wester, who heads the migration committee for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, says Barack Obama made immigration reform a priority during his presidential campaign. Bishop Wester says that despite high unemployment, the urgency surrounding immigration hasn’t changed.
"You know, I would ask the question, 'When is the perfect time? When are we ever going to have that window when everything is just perfect?' Well, it’s never going to happen."
The bishops may have a tough time selling legalization to their flocks. A December Zogby Poll indicates that two-thirds of Catholics polled support encouraging illegal immigrants to go home. Only one in four supports legalizing their status.