Advocating for Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program | CLINIC

Advocating for Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program

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Religious Organization Support for the Special Immigrant Non- Minister Religious Worker Visa Program

May 14, 2015




Honorable Mitch McConnell Senate Majority Leader United States Senate Washington, DC  20510


Honorable Harry Reid Senate Minority Leader United States Senate Washington, DC 20510


Dear Senators:


We write to express our strong support for S. 1339, legislation which would extend permanently the Special Immigrant Non-Minister portion of the Religious Worker Visa Program (RWVP). Unless Congress acts by September 30, 2015, the RWVP will expire, leaving our religious denominations and organizations with no way to bring in, where necessary, permanent religious workers to staff our religious institutions and attend the urgent needs of the communities we serve.

The  Special  Immigrant  Non-Minister  portion  of  the  RWVP  became   law   in 1990. Originally enacted with a sunset provision, it has enjoyed broad, bipartisan support in Congress and has been reauthorized seven times since then. Under this important program, a maximum of 5,000 visas each year are available for religious workers employed by a broad range of religious denominations and organizations.

Religious communities throughout the United States that participate in the program have found these visas vital to carrying out their work. Some religious workers provide critical services in areas including religious education and care for vulnerable populations such as the elderly, immigrants, refugees, the homeless and hungry, abused and neglected children, and families at risk. Others work in areas as diverse as performing missionary work, designing and building temples, producing religious publications, sustaining prison ministries, and training health care professionals to provide religiously appropriate health care

We request that you support immediate passage of this vital legislation. Thank you for your leadership in ensuring the RWVP is extended so our institutions and communities can carry out our missions with the religious workers we need.




Agudath Israel of America American Jewish Committee

Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. Church of Scientology National Affairs Office Church World Service

Conference of Major Superiors of Men First Church of Christ, Scientist


Hindu American Foundation Jewish Council for Public Affairs Jubilee Campaign

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service National Association of Evangelicals Rabbinical Assembly

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints The Jewish Federations of North America

UJA-New York Federation Union for Reform Judaism

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops World Relief



cc: Senator Charles Grassley, Chairman, Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Senator Patrick Leahy, Ranking Minority Member, Senate Committee on the Judiciary Senator Orrin G. Hatch

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin