An important first step in process and tone, says Archbishop GomezPromises bishops' support for system to protect human dignity, homeland simultaneouslyPlan gives hope to millions of fellow human beingsWASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, welcomed principles set forth by a group of eight U.S. Senators as a blueprint for reform of our nation's immigration system. "I welcome the introduction of a bipartisan framework to help guide Congress on immigration reform," Archbishop Gomez said January 28. "It is an important first step in the process and sets a bipartisan tone." The framework released by the "Group of Eight" working group would include a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented in the nation. It also would reduce family backlogs in the immigration system, which requires family members to wait years to reunite with their loved ones. "It is vital that the framework includes a path to citizenship, so that undocumented immigrants can come out of the shadows and into the light and have a chance to become Americans," Archbishop Gomez said. "It gives hope to millions of our fellow human beings." Archbishop Gomez noted that the framework leaves room for improvement, as it fails to restore due process protections to immigrants lost in the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) or address the root causes of migration, such as the absence of living-wage employment in sending communities or protection for refugees fleeing persecution. Nevertheless, he pledged the support of the USCCB in pushing sound immigration legislation forward and working with Congress to create an immigration system which respects basic human rights and dignity while also ensuring the integrity of our borders.