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Why the Church Speaks About Immigration16 Apr

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Very soon now the country will embark on a debate about one of the most important issues the nation faces: how to reform a broken immigration system. Millions of undocumented workers live in the country, thousands of employers need low-skilled workers, families have been waiting for years for relatives to join them, citizen children watch as federal agents remove their parents from the home and from the U. S.

But, finally Congress and the administration appear prepared to act in a way that brings about a bi-partisan agreement leading to a fair and just reform to this chaotic situation.

Some Catholics, like other citizens, wonder why is the Church speaking about this. Over a number of posts here we hope to answer this and other questions about the issue. Here are links to two key documents from which we draw some answers:

What, in a nutshell, is the U.S. bishops’ position on immigration reform?

The Catholic Church believes that the current U.S. immigration system is broken and needs to be reformed comprehensively. This would include a path to citizenship for the 11-12 million undocumented in the country; a temporary worker program to allow migrant workers to enter safely and humanely; and family-based immigration reform which allows families to be reunited more quickly. The Church also teaches that the root causes of migration—namely, global economic disparities—need to be addressed.

The Church has taken a position on immigration because, besides being an economic, social, and legal issue, it is also a humanitarian one, and, ultimately has moral implications. Each day church social service programs, hospitals, schools, and parishes see the human consequences of a broken system: families are divided, migrant workers are exploited and abused, and human beings die in the desert.

This impacts human dignity and human life and should be addressed.

Migration is a major theme in the Gospels. Jesus and the Holy Family were refugees who fled the terror of Herod and Jesus, the Son of Man, was an itinerant teacher while on Earth, with “no place to lay His Head.” Jesus also taught us to “welcome the stranger,” for “what you do to the least of my brethren, you do unto me.” (Matthew: 25:35-41)

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Next: Does the Church have the right to speak out on immigration reform, which is largely a political issue?

 

 

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