U.S. Bishops Call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Recognizing the ‘unavoidable reality of migration,’ and that all people are ‘imbued by God with an ‘inviolable dignity,’ means putting aside partisanship to let the government do its work to find a way forward.
On 18 October 2022, the Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, issued a reflection on the enduring commitment of the Catholic Church in the United States to comprehensive immigration reform and welcoming the stranger as part of its unwavering defense of human life in all its forms.
“We simply cannot allow partisan division to continue to impede the needed interventions of government. And while there are no easy solutions to the challenges we face, there is a just path forward that is waiting to be paved by those who are committed to the future of our country,” reads the statement by Bishop Dorsonville.
He opens his reflection by noting a series of disturbing and highly politicized events that took place in recent weeks, in particular the mid-September air transfer of hundreds of migrants from Texas’ border with Mexico to Martha’s Vineyard, an elite vacation spot for the wealthy in the northeastern state of Massachusetts. Bishop Dorsonville notes: “we have witnessed the troubling convergence of our broken immigration system and the political divisions of our time being inflicted upon men, women and children seeking refuge in our country.” Migrants have similarly been paid bus fare to drop them off unceremoniously in faraway cities, such as Washington, D.C. and New York, arriving from states such as Arizona, Florida and Texas, where asylum seekers frequently first reach the border.
We simply cannot allow partisan division to continue to impede the needed interventions of government. And while there are no easy solutions to the challenges we face, there is a just path forward that is waiting to be paved by those who are committed to the future of our countryBishop Mario E. Dorsonville, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration
“Reports have indicated coordinated efforts to transport migrants – and in some cases intentionally deceive them – in furtherance of outcomes that are unbecoming of a moral society.” He adds that the bishops are deeply concerned by the preservation and the expansion of Title 42, a little-known clause in U.S. health regulations that was revived during the COVID-19 pandemic to refuse migrants entry to American territory, ostensibly to prevent the spread of communicable disease. The result, however, was to “unjustly deny access to humanitarian protections that were enshrined in law as a response to horrors witnessed during the twentieth century.”
“Neither situation reflects a ‘safe, orderly and humane’ immigration system, but their shared irreverence for human lives is all too common in our present culture,” the Bishop’s reflection reads.
In addition, while the USCCB has been steadfast in its support for Ukrainian refugees, the bishops also have been unequivocal in emphasizing that all people seeking refuge, no matter their places of origin, their national, ethnic, religious or any other identifying attributes, have the same right to flee and seek safety.
In a statement related to Ukraine from April, Bishop Dorsonville and Archbishop José H. Gomez stated together: “All persons seeking asylum at our borders must consistently be offered the same opportunities for protection set out in U.S. and international law, in accordance with their God-given dignity….We call on the Administration and Congress to work together to ensure Ukrainians seeking refuge in the United States are truly welcomed and receive all of the support that entails. And we ask that this same welcome be extended to those of other nationalities who have fled persecution, violence, and disaster, including passage of legislation that would provide our new Afghan neighbors with a pathway to permanent legal status.”
Read the reflection by Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville
Read the press release by the USCCB
Read the joint statement on Ukraine from April, 2022
*Communications Officer, ICMC
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