|Breaking Open the Word|
|World & Nation|
|DCR Advertising Rates|
|DCR Submission Guidelines|
June 3, 2009
Nation’s immigration crisis is a test of our humanity
Earlier this week, a Mexican-born priest friend of mine, a man who has come to love the United States during his time serving our people here, e-mailed me the following words:
“There is a greatness to the character of the United States; a greatness to its people and its role as leader of the world. But this makes it even more incredible that the First Country of the world hides from, avoids and refuses to face a crisis in immigration that has such a huge impact on American society. In the world’s First Country, is it really so impossible for legislators to find a solution to this immigration problem; a solution that might serve the rights of not just some of the parties involved, but everyone? Isn’t American ingenuity the reason why America became the world’s leader in the first place?”
For the past several years, the United States has been deadlocked on the issue of immigration reform. A few sensible voices have emerged from both political parties to name the obvious: Our immigration policies are outdated, and our immigration laws too often don’t conform to reality or our nation’s real needs. But in general, both Democrats and Republicans have done an equally shabby job of fixing a broken system. And here’s the result: Millions of undocumented immigrants now live and work in the United States. The vast majority contribute to our economy and abide by our laws. Many have children who are American citizens, or who have been in America so long that they know no other homeland. But they live in a legal Twilight Zone that is morally inexcusable. They’re essential to our economy, but they have few legal protections, and thousands of families have been broken up by arrests and deportations.
We need to remember that how we treat the weak, the infirm, the elderly, the unborn child and the foreigner reflects on our own humanity. We become what we do, for good or for evil. The Catholic Church respects the law, including immigration law. We respect those men and women who have the difficult job of enforcing it. We do not encourage or help anyone to break the law. We believe Americans have a right to solvent public institutions, secure borders and orderly regulation of immigration.
But we can’t ignore people in need, and we won’t be quiet about laws that don’t work — or that, in their “working,” create impossible contradictions and suffering. Despite all of the heated public argument over the past few years, Americans still find themselves stuck with an immigration system that adequately serves no one. We urgently need the kind of immigration reform that will address our economic and security needs, but also regularize the status of the many decent undocumented immigrants who help our society to grow. A new Congress and a new president serve in Washington. They have an extraordinary opportunity to act quickly and justly to solve this problem.
To his credit, Congressman Jared Polis is trying to break the immigration reform logjam, and the more bipartisan the effort, the better. He deserves the engagement and counsel of Colorado’s Catholic community and all persons of good will. Good people can disagree honorably about the specifics of immigration reform. But we can’t honorably ignore the need for reform or the suffering of families who pay the cost of our doing nothing. We need to get down to the practical steps of changing our immigration laws in a sane and positive way—now.
We become what we do, for good or for evil. If we act and speak like bigots, that’s what we become. If we act with justice, intelligence, common sense and mercy, then we become something quite different. We become the people and the nation God intended us to be. Our country’s immigration crisis is a test of our humanity. Whether we pass it is entirely up to us.
I’m very pleased to join Congressman Polis in sponsoring an open forum on immigration reform at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish on June 13. This gathering is vitally important. I urge you to be there, listen, and share your thoughts.
Community Meeting on Immigration Reform
Who: Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and families of immigrants
When: 12:30 p.m. June 13, doors open at 11:30 a.m.
Where: Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 11385 Grant Drive, Northglenn
Information: Call 303-484-9596
Biography, Homilies, Writings and Discourses... More