Two separate but similar plans announced in the final days of January placed the political spotlight on U.S. immigration reform, setting the stage for debate and outlining the path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country.
In announcements made 2,400 miles apart, President Barack Obama and a contingent of leading senators unveiled plans that called for strengthening borders while simultaneously confronting the reality that deportation isn't an option with undocumented immigrants numbering eight digits.
Religious groups have received the plans with both applause and concern. The U.S. Jesuit Conference praised the senators' bipartisanship, but worried about starting the legalization process only after securing the borders, a sentiment U.S. bishops share.
Sojourners, a national Christian social justice group, described both plans as reflecting the principle that "our immigration system must treat people fairly and provide the opportunity for people to flourish as God intends."