Ruling gives religious workers 'peace of mind,' CLINIC head says
Published: June 24, 2009
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A Seattle judge's order overturning a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services policy on visas for foreign-born religious workers will give those workers "the peace of mind to continue providing important services in their communities and parishes," said the head of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network. Mark Franken, executive director of the agency known as CLINIC, commented in a June 23 statement on U.S. District Court Judge Robert S. Lasnik's recent order requiring the federal immigration agency to treat immigrant religious workers the same way as other immigrants. Previously, foreign citizens immigrating on the basis of petitions by family members or employers of those designated as "priority workers" or those having special skills or experience could file concurrent applications for a visa and for permanent residency. Religious workers were required, however, to wait until the agency had approved separate visa applications by employers before applying for permanent residency. "The bar discriminated against religious workers and created a burden for hundreds of religious workers," Franken said.
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