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Utah's Bishop Wester joins other Catholics, evangelicals in immigration push

Published February 26, 2014 4:57 pm

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The head of Utah's 300,000 Catholics joined with other Catholic and evangelical leaders across the nation Wednesday in an open letter urging Congress to adopt "common sense" immigration reform this year.

The Rev. John C. Wester, bishop of the Salt Lake City Diocese, signed on to the ecumenical appeal with other notable faith leaders, including Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Jim Wallis, president and founder of the Sojourners social-justice group; and leading Catholic churchmen from Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

The letter came to light in a news release from the Evangelical Immigration Table and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"As leaders in our respective faith communities, we live every day with the reality that our immigration system does not reflect our commitment to the values of human dignity, family unity and respect for the rule of law the define us as Americans," the church leaders wrote. " … As a nation founded upon the principles of the rule of law and the centrality of the family, we can no longer delay fixing this system."

The clerics called on Congress to enact immigration legislation that, among other things, respects individual dignity, safeguards family unity, guarantees the integrity of national borders and ensures fairness for taxpayers.

They also desire a path to citizenship for desirous and deserving undocumented immigrants — a point that has been a chief stumbling block to any immigration overhaul.