Church to analyze new U.S. immigration reform proposal

(Photo: Reuters / Brendan McDermid)Rwandan genocide survivor Immaculee Ilibagiza waves a flag after taking the oath of citizenship during a naturalization ceremony to become new citizens of the U.S. in New York, April 17, 2013.

U.S. Presbyterians and interfaith partners will pore over more than 800-pages of a legislative proposal for U.S. immigration reform released Tuesday.

These include a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people working in the country illegally.

The Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on Wednesday congratulated senate lawmakers from both major U.S. parties for having "negotiated and compromised to come to an agreement" on the proposed laws.

On the same day the so-called 'Gang of 8' senators released the proposal which is meant to overhaul  the nation's immigration laws.

More months of debate and negotiations are expected before lawmakers can vote on the bill.

"Their cooperation and hard work to fix our broken immigration system is commendable. We applaud their efforts and join them in the call that this is the time for reform," he said.

Rev. Parsons said prior to the release of the full document that many questions were "unanswered" in a 17-page memo released a day earlier which summarized the proposal.

His denomination's general assembly has called for a pathway to citizenship, eliminating the backlogs in family and employment-based immigration, maintaining family unity as the foundation of the nation's immigration policy, creating a workable approach to future flow, and maintenance of the country's borders in a way that respects due process and human dignity.

"Some of these goals are shared in the Senators' memo but the status of others is unclear. In the coming weeks the staff of the office of Immigration Issues will work with our interfaith partners to analyze the legislation," he said.

He said details would be revealed on the church's website.

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