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 (Updated: April 5, 2000)


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Joint Statement of :

Roger Cardinal Mahony
Archbishop of Los Angeles and Chairman,
Domestic Policy Committee
U.S. Catholic Conference

Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio
Bishop of Camden and Chairman, Committee on Migration
National Conference of Catholic Bishops

John Sweeney
President
AFL-CIO

on

U.S. Immigration Policy


As leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and President of the AFL-CIO, we are committed to work together to fundamentally reform U.S. immigration policy in order to assure protection of fundamental rights of and greater respect for immigrant workers in our nation.

Immigrant workers, regardless of their status, are vital participants in our economy. Yet their dignity and rights are often abused and their important contributions to our society ignored. Our nation must treat immigrants fairly and with dignity and honor their important contributions to our society. Specifically, we will work together to advocate new policies which include:
 

  • the legalization of immigrant workers and their families, especially those who come to the United States fleeing oppression and destitution and make significant contributions to our country;

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  • greater respect for both the civil and workplace rights of immigrant workers, regardless of their legal status;

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  • U.S. foreign and economic policies which better address the conflict, poverty, and denial of human rights which pressure persons to come to this country;

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  • a repeal of employer sanctions, which, as a nationwide policy applied to all workplaces, has failed and should be eliminated. 
Like all laborers in our country, the rights of immigrant workers must be upheld and protected. We invite all Americans, especially business, religious, labor and immigrant advocates to join us in working to protect the rights of immigrant workers in the United States. We will work together and with others in both the short-and long-term to ensure that immigrant workers and their families are not subject to exploitation and are recognized for their contributions to our nation. 
 
  • Undocumented workers or workers here in a temporary legal status and their families maintain basic human rights and make significant contributions to their communities and workplaces. Many immigrants have built equities in our country and therefore should be provided permanent legal status so they can add their special talents to American society with confidence and security.

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  • An orderly, (fair/generous) and responsive system of legal immigration should be developed which helps reduce the flow of undocumented workers into the country.

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  • The civil and workplace rights of immigrant workers, regardless of their status, must be protected and upheld.

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  • Labor and business should work together to design cooperative mechanisms that allow law-abiding employers under certain conditions to satisfy legitimate needs for new workers in a timely manner without compromising the rights and opportunities of workers already here. Religious and other immigrant rights organizations can play an important role in facilitating this cooperation. 

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  • Due process rights of and basic safety net protections for immigrants and their families should be restored in U.S. law.

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  • Employer sanctions, as a nationwide policy applied to all workplaces, has failed and should be eliminated.
We invite ethnic, business, religious, labor and immigrant advocates from across the nation to join us in insisting that the rights of immigrant workers in the United States must be protected. Specifically, in this effort we call upon the business community to work with us to identify common goals which will advance the rights of workers while also meeting legitimate business needs for both essential and high-skilled labor. 

Immigrant workers make important and significant contributions to American society and are an essential part of the U.S. economy. Like all laborers in our country, their rights should be upheld and protected and their skills developed and cultivated as a way of welcoming them into the U.S. labor community. We are committed to this goal and will work together in both the short and long-term to ensure that our policymakers protect the rights of immigrant workers and their families in our new century. 




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