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Press Release: NETWORK’s Sister Simone Campbell Responds to Today’s Immigration Statement from President Obama

FOR RELEASE: June 30, 2014

CONTACT: Stephanie Niedringhaus, 202-347-9797 x224,

Washington DC: Today, President Obama announced that Speaker Boehner’s refusal to bring an immigration bill to the floor of the House of Representatives has rendered immigration reform effectively dead because of GOP intransigence. The president will now pursue every possible action that his administration can take within existing law to address the pain of our severely broken immigration system.

NETWORK Executive Director Sister Simone Campbell, responding to this afternoon’s announcement, said:

Republicans in the House of Representatives have used every conceivable excuse to avoid passing immigration reform, and they must be held accountable for their willful refusal to govern. The fact that immigration reform will not be addressed in the House of Representatives in the 113th Congress is a national tragedy. House Republicans are persistently refusing to address the harsh immigration realities and fix broken systems. The GOP chooses to place politics over people.

Speaker Boehner, a Catholic, and all other Catholic Republicans should listen to Pope Francis’s call to remember who our brothers and sisters are and not remain indifferent to the social sin of our broken policies. He calls on politicians to be ‘genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor! It is vital that government leaders…take heed and broaden their horizons.’

Our members of Congress are elected to serve the common good of our nation and those who live here, and their failure to fix our broken immigration system will not be forgotten this November.

We are pleased that the administration has decided to increase its efforts to serve immigrants in light of congressional inaction. Let me be clear: we at NETWORK know that working to repair the pain of family separation without Congress will not be easy, but it is absolutely necessary.

If the humanitarian crisis of the unaccompanied minors has taught us anything, it is that this is absolutely not a border security issue. The administration should not waste another dollar on increasing border security. Instead, the administration should take steps to reduce visa backlogs, address root causes of migration such as how U.S. policy has contributed to violence in Central America, and allow those who have been in our country for years to fully contribute to our communities. Regarding unaccompanied minors, each child refugee should be individually screened in order to ensure that all asylum claims are fully investigated and no child is returned to a life-threatening situation in his or her home country.

We at NETWORK will continue to push vigorously for comprehensive reform and administrative action to create a sane system that reverences the dignity of all. This is a prolife stance and a matter of fundamental justice.