Plans were announced Friday for a "prayerful procession" in support of an overhaul to immigration policy by hundreds of Roman Catholic leaders and parishioners to the office of Rep. Ed Royce in Brea on Aug. 27.
The Most Rev. Dominic Luong, the auxiliary bishop of Orange, will lead the procession of Catholics from 16 parishes in Royce's district.
U.S. bishops for many years have called on Congress to overhaul immigration policy. Royce, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, has been a staunch supporter of beefing up border security, but opposed President Barack Obama's decision to suspend deportation of children of immigrants who illegally came to the U.S.
There was no immediate response from Royce's office for a request for comment.
Greg Walgenbach, director of the Diocese of Orange's Office of Respect Life, Justice and Peace, said the group wants to implore Royce, a Catholic, to consider supporting the immigration bill approved by the Senate in June.
"There's been a lot of movement on the immigration issue, but there's also a lot of rhetoric, animosity and a lot of shouting heads," Walgenbach said.
"We would like to, in a prayerful, peaceful way," raise the issues faced by immigrants who reside in the country illegally, Walgenbach said. "We're hoping to create a tone that's very respectful and peaceful."
Royce "is a very important vote on this issue, and a voice," Walgenbach said. "He's in the leadership, and along with (House) Speaker (John) Boehner, they're both Catholics, and we're hoping to make our Catholic position clear and be a resource for our legislators as they deliberate on these issues."
Orange County's Catholic leaders favor a "pathway to citizenship," which has generated enough opposition in the House to stall the Senate's bill.
"As Catholics we believe in the human dignity of all people, no matter their country of origin," Luong said.
"For the church, immigration reform finds a foundation not only in Catholic social teaching, but as a response of faith. We head our Holy Father Francis' recent call made during his trip to the Italian island of Lampedusa to denounce the 'globalization of indifference' toward migrants."
The group headed to Royce's office will emphasize the importance of the pathway to citizenship, Walgenbach said.
"We don't want to see a permanent underclass," Walgenbach said.. "We want to see a holistic solution."
Boehner, R-Ohio, has called for immigration legislation that is "grounded in real border security" and ensures that "those who came here illegally are not given special treatment."
The group will meet at St. Angela Merici church in Brea and walk the
half-mile to Royce's office, starting at 6:30 p.m., Aug. 27.
--City News Service