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BY ISN STAFFJanuary 21, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Catholic leaders across the country joined together to call on Congress to act on comprehensive immigration reform, as tens of thousands of people of faith converge on Washington, D.C. for the Annual March for Life.  Leaders joined in signing a statement which asks Catholics serving in Congress to recognize immigration as a pro-life issue and support the U.S. bishops’ efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform.  The statement will appear as a full-page advertisement in Politico on Thursday, January 22, 2015, and was organized by Faith in Public Life.

Expressing a commitment to a culture of life, the Catholic leaders note that there are more than two dozen pro-life Catholics in the U.S. House of Representatives, many of whom will join in the March for Life through the streets of Washington.  It also cites the words of Cardinal Séan O’Malley who identified immigration as “another pro-life issue” during a widely publicized mass on the US-Mexico border last April.  The statement closed with expressions of frustration over the lack of action by legislators, saying, “delay and partisan bickering will only lead to more hardship, suffering and death.”

Endorsements came from many leaders in the Jesuit network, including eleven Jesuit university presidents as well as the leaders of the Jesuit Conference, Association of Jesuit Colleges and University, Jesuit Refugee Service USA, Jesuit Social Research Institute, Kino Border Initiative, and Ignatian Solidarity Network.  

Jesuit institutions have played a significant role in both advocacy and action in support of undocumented persons and the call for comprehensive immigration reform. In 2010, the Jesuit provincials of the United States issued a public letter to Congressional leaders and President Obama calling for passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation that included a path to citizenship for undocumented persons in the U.S. Last July of this year over 1,200 alumni of U.S. high schools and universities sent a letter to Jesuit school alumni in the U.S. House of Representative asking for them to pass humane comprehensive immigration reform legislation.  Jesuit institutional leaders have shown support for undocumented immigrants and humane immigration reform by participating in fasts, public statements, and directsupport of undocumented students.  In 2014, Loyola University Chicago became the first U.S. university to publicly accept undocumented medical students.

About three-in-ten members of the U.S. Congress, our Catholic according to Pew Research, with 27 % of Republicans being Catholic and 35% of Democrats.  Earlier this month the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities announced that nine percent of the 114th U.S. Congress are Jesuit college and university alumni/ae, with there being 48 in total: 11 in the Senate and 37 in the House of Representatives.

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