While Congress hotly debates the fate of millions of immigrants living and working illegally in the United States, few have paid attention to the factors that push migrants to take the dangerous journey from their home countries to find work in the U.S. — or how U.S. economic policies toward Latin America may shoulder part of the blame.

Nearly 11.1 million immigrants live and work without legal papers in the U.S. Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, who leads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ advocacy of comprehensive immigration reform, has urged Congress to enact legislation this year.

The Democrat-controlled Senate has already passed a comprehensive immigration-reform bill with a pathway to citizenship, while the Republican-controlled House has leaned toward a step-by-step approach that begins with U.S. border security. Yet the proposals give little attention to solving what the USCCB says is the long-term solution to the U.S.’s immigration woes: developing stagnant economies in Latin America that are forcing migrants to leave their homes and find work abroad.

Seeking “long-term solutions” to the root causes of immigration, “such as underdevelopment and poverty in sending countries” is one of six principles of comprehensive reform that have been promoted by the bishops’ conference.

“If people are able to find sustainable employment and a living wage, they are much less likely to risk their lives in coming to another country and split up their families,” said Kevin Appleby, director of the USCCB’s Office of Migration and Refugee Policy.

But Appleby said the U.S. must also take responsibility for the impact of its own trade agreements and policies that could be driving some of the migration from Latin-American countries.

via Do U.S. Economic Policies Fuel Latin-American Immigration? | Daily News | NCRegister.com.