The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration has welcomed President Barack Obama’s decision to defer the threat of deportation of an estimated …
USCCB Migration Chairman Welcomes Obama Administration Announcement Of Relief For Immigrant Families, USCCB President Cites Urgent Pastoral Need For A More Humane View Of Immigrants
November 20, 2014
Action keeps families together and protects children
Migrants are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected and loved
Congress and President must work together for permanent reforms
WASHINGTON—Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration, welcomed the news today that the Obama administration will defer deportations for many undocumented immigrants and their families.
“We have a long history of welcoming and aiding the poor, the outcast, the immigrant, and the disadvantaged. Each day, the Catholic Church in the United States, in her social service agencies, hospitals, schools, and parishes, witnesses the human consequences of the separation of families, when parents are deported from their children or spouses from each other. We’ve been on record asking the Administration to do everything within its legitimate authority to bring relief and justice to our immigrant brothers and sisters. As pastors, we welcome any efforts within these limits that protect individuals and protect and reunite families and vulnerable children,” said Bishop Elizondo.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, archbishop of Louisville, Kentucky, and president of the USCCB said, “There is an urgent pastoral need for a more humane view of immigrants and a legal process that respects each person’s dignity, protects human rights, and upholds the rule of law. As our Holy Father, Pope Francis, said so eloquently: ‘Every human being is a child of God! He or she bears the image of Christ! We ourselves need to see, and then to enable others to see, that migrants and refugees do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected, and loved.’”
Bishop Elizondo added, “I strongly urge Congress and the President to work together to enact permanent reforms to the nation’s immigration system for the best interests of the nation and the migrants who seek refuge here. We will continue to work with both parties to enact legislation that welcomes and protects immigrants and promotes a just and fair immigration policy.”
While immigration reform is very much needed, this was not the way to do it. The President is being borderline dictatorial with selective enforcement of laws. Also, the Church recognizes the State’s right to control their immigration, so you can’t argue Obama is refusing to enforce an unjust law.
What are the Bishops views on the actions of the illegal immigrant themselves, regarding the fact that illegal immigrants have broken laws? Children who were brought to America may of had no choice where they went, but what about the people who chose to cross the border illegally, or who came on a plane on a legal visa and overstayed? Not only have some of these immigrants broken immigration laws, but some of them have stolen and/or faked social security numbers. What is the moral dimension of illegal immigration?
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) opposes “enforcement only” immigration policies and supports comprehensive immigration reform. In Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope, the U.S. Catholic Bishops outlined the elements of their proposal for comprehensive immigration reform. These include:
Earned Legalization: An earned legalization program would allow foreign nationals of good moral character who are living in the United States to apply to adjust their status to obtain lawful permanent residence. Such a program would create an eventual path to citizenship, requiring applicants to complete and pass background checks, pay a fine, and establish eligibility for resident status to participate in the program. Such a program would help stabilize the workforce, promote family unity, and bring a large population “out of the shadows,” as members of their communities.
Future Worker Program: A worker program to permit foreign‐born workers to enter the country safely and legally would help reduce illegal immigration and the loss of life in the American desert. Any program should include workplace protections, living wage levels, safeguards against the displacement of U.S. workers, and family unity.
Family‐based Immigration Reform: It currently takes years for family members to be reunited through the family‐based legal immigration system. This leads to family breakdown and, in some cases, illegal immigration. Changes in family‐based immigration should be made to increase the number of family visas available and reduce family reunification waiting times.
Restoration of Due Process Rights: Due process rights taken away by the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) should be restored. For example, the three and ten year bars to reentry should be eliminated.
Addressing Root Causes: Congress should examine the root causes of migration, such as under‐development and poverty in sending countries, and seek long‐term solutions. The antidote to the problem of illegal immigration is sustainable economic development in sending countries. In an ideal world, migration should be driven by choice, not necessity.
Enforcement: The U.S. Catholic Bishops accept the legitimate role of the U.S. government in intercepting unauthorized migrants who attempt to travel to the United States. The Bishops also believe that by increasing lawful means for migrants to enter, live, and work in the United States, law enforcement will be better able to focus upon those who truly threaten public safety: drug and human traffickers, smugglers, and would‐be terrorists. Any enforcement measures must be targeted, proportional, and humane.
On a side note: I think we Catholics should be taking our direction in these matters from our clerics and not from radio or TV talk show hosts who are not Catholic spiritual directors.
Agreed, just like we do when we vote, always voting pro-life and not pro-choice politicians.
I’d argue both. The Catholic Bishops have a good sense of moral teaching, but sometimes are unaware of unintended consequences from a political and legislative standpoint.
For example, Judge Andrew Napolitano supports immigration reform, is a devout Catholic, and has serious misgivings about unintended consequences of actions like these based on executive order.
I will start another thread on if this action by the president is legal.
A month ago we had a new porch added to the front of our house…the contractor we hired sub-contracted the job…the sub-contractors were both Mexican…during the 2 days they were here I learned they were both illegal…had families and were only to happy to be here working and looking forward to providing good lives for their families…they worked tirelessly the whole time they were here…very respectful…very professional…would I hire them again…you bet I would…did I even consider turning them in to the authorities…definitely not…there is a higher law than the law of the land…that is the commandment that Jesus gave us…love one another…do unto others as you would have them do unto you…I hope they both continue to work toward their dreams of providing that good life for their families
I live in AZ most of the unskilled workers here are from Latin America. They work hard. They work in 115 degree weather and in freezing weather. All they want is to have a job.
I’ve met a number of mothers of illegals and they want what all moms want for their kids. Family ties are strong with most of the families I have met. They are good people by and large.
The immigration situation in the US is in the mess it’s in because both parties have had no interest in enforcing the law. Many of the state governments have been actively aiding and abetting the violation of immigration law on a massive scale.
The solution is not going to come about from a president continuing to refuse enforcing the laws and trying to rule via edict vice within the legitimate authority of the various branches of the government.
Congress needs to pass the law, and make it a comprehensive and well thought out plan including a legal means of having workers in the US without also providing a means/allowing states to also shelter protect gang members. The executive branch needs to enforce them whether they like them or not, and go after states which undermine them by refusing to enforce them.
Our lack of enforcement is a national security risk. Do you realize than in ~2010 (yes a a decade after 9/11) a Massachusetts LEO pulled over someone, he suspected them of being an illegal- and at that time was actually allowed to act on his suspicion. The person was in fact an illegal, his job? He ran/owned a flight school. At that flight school were a number of illegal alien student pilots. Some had overstayed visas, for more there was no record of their entry into the country. We can’t go on ignoring the security risk from uncontrolled borders and our almost complete lack of inland and visa enforcement.
gao.gov/assets/600/592608.pdf (page 29)
Pope Francis: Migrants know the risks, but feel need to flee conflict, war, poverty, unemployment that robs them of God-given dignity
Church called to assist migrants with material aid, legal assistance and, especially, spiritual nourishment
Church is “a Mother without limits & without borders,” she welcomes all children of God. None are strangers.
No one is a stranger in Christian community; everyone is welcomed. tinyurl.com/ptescgu
Why on earth would anyone turn someone in? The law won’t be enforced anyway.
I’m all for amnesty, for everything. Traffic laws, tax laws, zoning laws, drug laws-- anything. If one group is going to be exempted from the law, than let’s just not have laws. In fact when called to jury duty I told the judge I could not in good conscience vote guilty for anyone tried by a government which itself aids and abets the violation of law. It’s not just to do so.
My fear is that this will just encourage more people to sneak over the border and flaunt the law. There seems to be an inexhaustible supply of desperately poor people south of here, not sure why that is. But it sends a terrible message to all the legal immigrants who played by the rule book.
And there is the problem. This is illegal and destructive to our society and our rule of law. It is a dictatorial power grab yet again. This should not be supported by anyone who cares about civil society.
Then again, it is merciful and keeps families together and helps support migrants which the Church has supported throughout Her history (remember Mary and Josef were migrants)
Well, it isn’t merciful to the victims of the illegal alien gang members who are also protected by this.
It isn’t really merciful to the lower skilled workers whose wages are depressed by this.
It isn’t merciful to all of us who risk becoming victims of terrorism since this applies equally to the operatives from ISIS, Al Quada, Hezbollah, Hamas etc. (and yes, those folks are here whether you want to believe it or not. Just ask your average front-line Border Patrol agent)
It isn’t merciful or just for all of those who came into the country legally.
I have no problem with legal migrant, and I do respect the dignity of all-- legal or illegal. But the government has an obligation to uphold the rule of law, apply the laws equitably, and follow the legal processes for change. It also has a solemn duty to protect its citizens.
It isn’t merciful to all of us who will suffer from the increasing contempt for the law.
** California Sets Dangerous Pro-Choice Trend **
Maybe we want to become like California which has Representatives and Senators and Governors like Brown, Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, etc. Not a statewide elected Republican in a state that use to routinely elect such to office, that’s what demographics do.
Where is this mercy for families, when California is clearly one of the most pro-choice states in the Union? Do we want those values? In Mississippi or Arizona, etc.
Compassion sounds good, where is the compassion from the left??
This is similar to the dilemma in Italy, should they accept all of those migrants from North Africa and possibly eventually turn into a Muslim-majority nation?