By Karen Frantz
The Campaign for Citizenship, a project backed by Queens Congregations United for Action, responded to new immigration reform legislation crafted in the U.S. Senate Wednesday, saying that the bill does not go far enough.
Fernando Ferrarese, pastor of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Astoria, spoke on behalf of the campaign. He said that though the Senate deserves credit for recognizing the struggles of immigrant families and laying out a pathway to citizenship, more needs to be done.
“This proposal is only a start,” he said. “It doesn’t go far enough to protect families and ensure that all 11 million aspiring Americans are included in a pathway to citizenship.”
He said that it is important to ensure that the bill does not have arbitrary barriers that could hold up the path to citizenship and that families will be kept together.
The bill provides a 13-year path to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally. It would also require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to invest in strengthening border security before illegal immigrants would be allowed to apply for a green card and creates a merit system that would allow more immigrants with desired job skills and education to receive visas.
The Campaign for Citizenship is also a project of the PICO National Network, a group of faith-based community organizations. Queens Congregations United for Action is a member of PICO.