Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement this afternoon upon House passage of H.R. 5570, the Religious Worker Visa Extension Act:
"As Americans welcome His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to the United States today, I am pleased that the House voted to reauthorize the religious worker visa for seven years. This essential program provides for up to 5,000 immigrant visas per year that religious denominations or organizations in the United States may use to sponsor individuals to perform religious service.
"One of the fundamental tenets that this nation was founded on was the belief that all Americans are able to worship God by the dictates of their own consciencea right that remains essential and guaranteed to every American citizen. Americans will continue to benefit from the valuable contributions of religious workers."