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Head of Raleigh Diocese Discusses Immigration Reform

Posted May 21, 2007
Updated May 22, 2007

— The head of the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh spoke Monday about legislation before Congress calling for immigration reform.

Bishop Michael Burbidge discussed five major principles that would form the basis of a sound immigration policy.

The bipartisan bill, that will be debated in the Senate starting Monday, would provide a pathway to citizenship for some 12 million immigrants now in the United States illegally. It also would mandate tougher border security and workplace enforcement and provide for a guest worker program.

The bill would also allow illegal immigrants to come forward right away, but they could not get visas or begin a path to citizenship until the border security improvements and a high-tech worker identification program were put in place.

After that, illegal immigrants could obtain a renewable "Z visa" that would allow them stay in the country indefinitely. After paying fees and fines totaling $5,000, they could ultimately get on track for permanent residency, which could take between eight and 13 years. Heads of households would have to return to their home countries first.

Kennedy, the lead Democratic negotiator with Republicans and the White House, acknowledged widespread criticism but called it "our last-gasp stand."

Conservatives say it is too lenient on those who have broken the law; liberals warn it would be unworkable and unfair to migrant families. Critics have labeled the plan an "amnesty" program.

"That's sort of a slogan and a cliche you're going to hear a lot about," Kennedy said Friday. He said fixing the nation's "broken borders" is long overdue.


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  • shawnkharris May 21, 2007

    Hurt our economy , what are you lost. They are attending our schools , health dept. , getting welfare and over filling our prisons and jails and paying nothing in but a little sales tax !!! They will totally break our small towns and counties in the next few years , just wait and see. Come to America LEGALLY and i have no problem and learn to speak English. Try going to any other country and see if they change their signs and forms to English. They have not and will not. Liberals will run this great country in the ground in a few years just wait and see !!

  • avocadopit May 21, 2007

    "after all where would we be today if the Native Americans had decided to do this to the pilgrims????"

    I dont know. Where would we be if the Germans had won WWII? Are you saying the U.S. doesnt have the right to decide who can be a citizen or not? What a silly comparison. But we hear that a lot from the pro-illegal people. You really dont have a good argument, so it usually resorts to that.

  • avocadopit May 21, 2007

    "This has all come about because we want to secure our borders from our enemies since the attack of September 11. These hardworking people are not our enemies, please do not let them be a scapegoat."

    It has? So the 1986 Immigration Reform ( which is very similar to this), was because of 9/11? By the way, how do you know that these 12-20 million illegals are all here working? Do you really beleive we have created that many low-skilled jobs? Seriously. Do you have numbers to back that up?

  • lauraleigh May 21, 2007

    It is interesting that, despite the fact that Bishop Burbidge's points were not detailed in the article, readers have jumped to the conclusion that the Church's position is liberal.
    The Church is in the business of saving souls and forming conscience. There is no dimension of life or culture that is not covered under those concerns. Bishop Burbidge is fulfilling his duties as the local Ordinary of the Catholic Church, and, I might add, doing it conscientiously and well.

  • avocadopit May 21, 2007

    "(perhaps from the new population of illegals that have crossed the border in the mean time. Since cheaper methods of labor are procured, the unemployment rate of the illegals who are now citizens expecting minimum wage shoots through the roof and we pay out social service to them. We be doomed."

    Um, Yea, you just gave another reason why legalizing all the illegals here now is going to be a disaster, despite what the Church says.

  • avocadopit May 21, 2007

    "his article never mentions the church claiming sanctuary for illegals, nor did I. I just said they have a right to their opinion, and they should share it just like everyone else."

    Doesnt change the fact that is what is going on. This stuff doesnt take place in a vacuum you know.

  • atozca May 21, 2007

    If it were your cousin who died leaving behind 2 children because of illegal.... immigrant, drunk driving, no license, etc. and your sister in a comma for 2 years because of illegal... immigrant, drunk driving, no license, etc. or try paying a $1300.00 hospital bill for your child who had a 105 fever and strep throat thus a late night visit to the local ER or better yet same child breaks ankle.... $1600 ER visit ($945.00 is for walking in the door) and of course we don't have health ins. we lost the job we wanted to do... illegal activities breed trouble and cost to us all! It is time to solve the problem.

  • Dude May 21, 2007

    I am glad to see someone cares about all the overcrowding these days. As long as they come here LEGALLY, I don't have a problem. When they come here illegally, I am having to pay for them to live here and quite often, they are coming out better with their government handouts.

  • UNC81 May 21, 2007

    Back to commenting on the story itself, did anyone hear this guy on the news?

    "The people aren't breaking the law, the law is breaking the people". Nothing like a "church" advocating breaking the law. Come on Bishop, say what's on your mind? Hispanics are a large portion of the Catholic population, and you just want to make more money.

  • ladyblue May 21, 2007

    I understand how church and state seperation is suppose to be. But when church leaders get in church and push their flock to vote for certain people, help them get registered, meet in their churches about politics, I call that a little too close to sounding like politicing. Just like this article as was stated;; They are looking for young fresh catholics to strengthen their church's coffers. I think and always will think the only way out of a fair solution is to let americans vote for this at election time, as to what we want done with millions of illegals.