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Evangelical and Catholic Immigration Proponents Push Back Against Same-Sex Benefits
"The liberal push to recognize same-sex couples under immigration 'reform' will surely strain the already unstable pro-immigration coalition." -- Alan F.H. Wisdom, IRD Vice President of Research and Programs
Contact: Jeff Walton, Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell, jwalton@TheIRD.org
WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 /Christian Newswire/ -- Democratic Senators Robert Menendez and Patrick Leahy introduced S.3932, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, on September 29. The legislation's centerpiece is a "pathway" to U.S. citizenship for foreigners who have illegally entered or remained in the United States. Critics call that pathway "amnesty."
The bill also includes a "Uniting American Families Act" (UAFA) allowing unmarried "permanent partners" of U.S. citizens, including same-sex partners, to obtain U.S. residency on the same basis as married spouses. Two proponents of loosened immigration policies, Roman Catholic Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City and the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, have spoken against this "permanent partners" provision.
Wester has reportedly written Sen. Menendez explaining "that a controversial provision, which would confer marriage-like immigration benefits to same-sex couples," would "preclude the U.S. bishops from supporting" the bill. Last year Wester warned that similar legislation in the House of Representatives would "erode the institution of marriage and family by according marriage-like immigration benefits to same sex relationships, a position that is contrary to the very nature of marriage which pre-dates the Church and the state."
IRD Vice President Alan Wisdom's talking points on Christianity and immigration can be found here: www.theird.org/Page.aspx?pid=1496&frcrld=1

Wisdom's paper "Is Marriage Worth Defending?" is viewable on the IRD website at www.theird.org/Document.Doc?id=111
IRD Vice President Alan Wisdom commented:
"Liberalized immigration legislation has virtually no chance of passage in this Congress and probably even less in the next Congress. So the Leahy/Menendez legislation is mostly for show--to motivate potential Democratic voters in next month's election.
"But with the 'permanent partners' provision, the bill threatens to unravel the very coalition it was designed to attract. Supporters of 'comprehensive immigration reform' have touted backing from a wide range of religious leaders, including otherwise conservative Catholic bishops and the National Association of Evangelicals. Church members in the pews have been more skeptical about conditional amnesty for illegal immigrants. The liberal push to recognize same-sex couples under immigration 'reform' will surely strain the already unstable pro-immigration coalition."