On September 30, 2015, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR), a stop-gap measure which continues funding the government at current levels and keeps the government open until December 11, 2015. The continuing resolution reauthorized the Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program as well as three other immigration-related programs, the Conrad 30 Program, the EB-5 Program, and the E-Verify Program for the same period of time as the resolution. The continuing resolution passed easily by large majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program, created in 1990, allows non-ministers or other lay religious workers to come to the United States as lawful permanent residents. Currently there is a bipartisan bill in the Senate that would make the program permanent with no changes. On September 28th Representative Mike Honda introduced a companion bill to the Senate bill in the House of Representatives.
Finding a more permanent extension for the Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program remains an ongoing issue for CLINIC Advocacy. CLINIC is working with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and other advocates to find a more permanent extension.
Please share individual success stories relating to the Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program with CLINIC so that case examples may be shared with Congressional members. We are interested in hearing from actual visa recipients as well as from parish and diocese staff who have benefitted from the program. Please see our draft letter template as a guide to your letter writing. Feel free to send letters of support and contact CLINIC’s Advocacy team via email entitled “Religious Worker Visa Impact Example” at: firstname.lastname@example.org.