Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Catholic Group Protests Immigration Policies

Since the offices of Bertolino LLP are in Texas and Florida, you will often see issues surrounding immigration law discussed on this blog. From the aggressive actions of the Border Patrol to the training of local officers in a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program to the disputes around immigrants’ access to education and health care, there is no shortage of immigration stories in the news. At a recent meeting, the Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network shared their own thoughts on how our country is handling immigration policy.

The assembled Catholic activists criticized the policies of the Bush administration, which they believe focus only on harsh enforcement and neglect the human element of the situation. In particular, they shared a frustration with the occurrence of mothers being separated from young children. Under United States law, children who are born in this country are considered citizens and therefore permitted to stay within our borders. The immigrant parents, if here illegally, are sent home with or without their kids.

As the executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Donald Kerwin, said in an interview with The Houston Chronicle, "Our programs are seeing families divided and communities devastated. Basically we're seeing the equivalent of a natural disaster, and we're organizing and responding accordingly.”

Houston has seen a couple of major immigration raids in the last few months, first at Shipley Do-Nuts in April and then at Actions Rags USA, a clothing and rag exporting plant, just last month. And ICE is certainly within its legal rights, as determined by both the White House and Congress, to do so. As proven by a failed attempt last year in Congress to develop a pathway to legalization, the will does not appear to be present to reform our immigration laws at this time. The hope is that after the presidential election in November, talks about comprehensive federal immigration reform will resume.

If you are dealing with your own immigration issues, please contact us at Bertolino LLP and we’ll get you in touch with one of our attorneys who specialize in such cases.

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