North Georgia’s top Catholic official is calling for comprehensive immigration reform on the eve of a national conference on immigration policy that is scheduled to take place in Atlanta this week.
Archbishop Wilton Gregory praised the Obama administration for offering certain illegal immigrants work permits and a two-year reprieve from deportation. But he said more should be done.
“Helpful as that program may be to some, we must continue to advocate for comprehensive reform that creates opportunities for many more, particularly for families and for those who are already living here, working and benefiting this country,” Gregory said in a prepared statement. “This is especially true today, as we also have seen a record number of deportations and family separations over the past several years.”
Gregory oversees the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta, which represents 69 North and Central Georgia counties that are home to a million Catholics. He plans to talk more about immigration Monday night at the start of a conference entitled “Migration Policy and Advocacy in 2013 and Beyond: New Challenges and New Opportunities.”
Sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the three-day event is set to take place at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and feature panel discussions and workshops.
The conference comes as Obama is pledging to tackle comprehensive immigration early in his second term. Polls show Obama collected the lion’s share of Hispanic votes in his reelection victory last month. At the same time, Obama has come under intense criticism from Hispanics for the record numbers of deportations his administration has overseen and for not doing more to reform the nation’s immigration laws.
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