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[Congressional Record: September 6, 2000 (Extensions)]
[Page E1400]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []

                         RELIGIOUS WORKER VISAS


                          HON. ELTON GALLEGLY

                             of California

                    in the house of representatives

                      Wednesday, September 6, 2000

  Mr. GALLEGLY. Mr. Speaker, I would like to express my support of H.R. 
1871, the Mother Teresa Religious Worker Act of 1999, by adding my name 
as a cosponsor. H.R. 1871 is an important bill that permanently extends 
the religious worker visa program, which is set to expire at the end of 
this month. Under the current program, 5,000 religious workers enter 
the United States each year to participate in spiritual and charitable 
work in communities throughout our country, including many communities 
in my native California.
  The visa program allows religious organizations to sponsor non-
minister religious workers from foreign countries. These volunteers 
often work with our most needy individuals through church programs to 
ensure they have shelter and food. Aside from assisting with the bare 
necessities, they minister to the sick, work with adolescents at risk, 
and assist refugees and immigrants when they first arrive in the United 
  This program is due to expire on September 30 of this year. I call 
upon my colleagues to extend this religious worker visa program before 
this date to avoid any disruption for those seeking to enter our 
  At the same time, both the Department of State and the Immigration 
and Naturalization Service have expressed concerns that the religious 
worker visa program is vulnerable to fraud. I share many of these 
concerns. Therefore, as this legislation moves through Congress, we 
must address the issues raised by the State Department and INS and 
ensure that only those persons who perform religious work enter on 
these visas.
  I urge the permanent extension of the religious worker visa program 
at the earliest possible date.