Cardinal urges Catholic college leaders to embrace immigration reform
Published: February 1, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, retired archbishop of Los Angeles and longtime advocate of comprehensive immigration reform, is frustrated with the lack of action from Congress on the issue and hopes that today's young people will bring about a change. "They get it. They're the ones who will make this happen," he told a group of Catholic college and university leaders Jan. 30 in Washington in a presentation during the three-day conference of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. The cardinal lamented the failed passage of federal legislation in 2010 that would have helped children of undocumented immigrants work toward legal status and get a college education. When asked about the status of these efforts in Congress, he said it was going "terribly," which is why he is focusing on the work of college students who are educating their peers and advocating for immigration reform. He said Catholic higher education is getting involved in this issue by participating in regional workshops across the country and gearing up to use curriculum on their campuses that outlines the role of the church in helping immigrant populations. The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM Act, has been introduced in Congress in various forms since 2001. The bills have had bipartisan congressional backing and broad faith group and higher education support. Local, state and national Catholic organizations have been in the forefront of campaigns to pass the bills. The most recent version passed the House in 2010, but the Senate version fell five votes short of the 60 needed to break a filibuster threat. The measure would have regularized the legal status of those who came to the United States before age 16, lived here at least five years, graduated from a U.S. high school and were pursuing higher education or military service.
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