Church World Service welcomes the introduction of H.R. 15, a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the House of Representatives. The bill, sponsored by Leader Nancy Pelosi, improves upon S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, which passed the Senate in June.
"The introduction of this bill provides a clear opportunity for House leadership to embrace real solutions that will modernize our broken immigration system and allow our undocumented community members to pursue a path to citizenship," said Erol Kekic, Director of the CWS Immigration and Refugee Program.
"As the current government shutdown delays progress on many fronts, the urgent need for immigration reform continues to be felt in communities across the country," added Kekic. "When the shutdown does end, Congress will need to prove that it can still do its job and make decisions that positively impact the country. Passing immigration reform with a path to citizenship must be a priority."
This new House bill differs from the final Senate bill by removing a controversial and expensive border surge amendment, commonly known as the Corker-Hoeven amendment, and replacing it with the bipartisan Border Security Results Act, H.R. 1417.
While CWS continues to have concerns about some of the bill's provisions related to enforcement, the elimination of certain family visa categories, and strict eligibility criteria for the path to citizenship, Kekic says the organization is committed to working with members of both parties in the House to make needed changes and see a bill move forward to enactment.
"There is no such thing as a perfect bill," said Kekic, "We know any viable solution will be a bipartisan compromise. But this bill marks progress toward real solutions, and we urge House leadership to prioritize a vote on immigration reform. We cannot allow partisan gridlock to prevent these sorely needed reforms. Congress must act now."
For more information on the bill's specific provisions and CWS' position, please see the full May 2013 Statement on the S.744 Border Security, Economic Opportunity & Immigration Modernization Act.