According to Church teaching, while sovereign nations have the right to protect their borders, all people and families also have a right to migrate if that is the only means by which they can secure their own lives and human dignity. Today, the U.S. Church, through its pastoral work with migrants throughout the country and legal expertise of the immigration system, believes that we need a comprehensive reform of our immigration laws. As Archbishop Dennis Schnurr states, “It seems that only comprehensive immigration reform can simultaneously restore both order and human dignity.” To respond to this issue, the Advocates for Justice Greater Cincinnati Parish Collaborative established an Immigration Task Force to work with the office on promoting comprehensive immigration reform. To read the Archbishop’s most recent statement and learn more about the Church’s response to this issue, click here.
How to Support the Children
While some migrant children in this crisis have relocated with local families, there is no word yet as to whether any larger numbers of them would be temporarily placed in communities in our Archdiocese while their legal claims are processed, they are reunited with their families, or they are returned home. Please stay tuned for volunteer requests should this be the case. For now, we encourage you to:
ADVOCATE: Contact Congress today to urge them to respond to these children with compassion, giving them the due process afforded to those who have legitimate persecution claims. Send your U.S. Senators and Representative and email by going to the CRS Advocacy page.
EDUCATE: Share the in-depth information provided by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on this crisis in your parishes, school, or faith community. Access the bishops’ Unaccompanied Migrant Children Resource Kit” by going to www.justiceforimmigrants.org
DONATE: Consider contributing to Catholic Charities agencies working on the border to address the immediate needs of these children by going to www.catholiccharitiesusa.org.
In 2003, the U.S. Catholic bishops released, Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope a statement outlining the Church’s teaching on migration and its position concerning comprehensive immigration reform. The bishops spell out five fundamental principles that should guide any nation’s immigration system.
- Persons have the right to find opportunities in their homeland.
- Persons have the right to migrate to support themselves and their families.
- Sovereign nations have a right to control their borders.
- Refugees and asylum seekers should be afforded protection.
- The human rights and the human dignity of undocumented migrants should be respected.
To live up to these principles, we hope that we can secure reform for which the U.S. Catholic bishops, and many other faith communities, have been calling for some time now:
- A path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented in the nation;
- The protection and enhancement of the family-based immigration system, including the reduction in backlogs and shortening of waiting times for husbands and wives and their families;
- A program which allows low-skilled workers to enter and work in the United States legally and safely and includes appropriate wage and worker protections;
- The restoration of due process protections for immigrants removed by the 1996 Illegal Immigrant Responsibility Act; and
- Policies which address root causes, or push factors, or irregular migration, such as persecution and the absence of living wage jobs in sending communities.
You can learn much more about the Church’s teaching and activities on immigration reform at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Justice For Immigrants campaign site: www.justiceforimmigrants.org
Catholic Social Teaching calls us to not only understand and deepen our faith but also to live our faith. Whether through advocacy, education, faith sharing, or public action, we all must practice our faith in our every word and deed. As James 2:17 says, “Faith without works is dead.” Please check back often to our Action Center for various ways that you and your community can speak out with compassion and solidarity for justice and peace.