Catholic Social Teaching and US Immigration: A Challenge

Sarah Perret
January 27, 2012

Sarah Perret

Much of what goes into the immigration process seems to go against Catholic teachings.  Instead of welcoming and loving our neighbors, we challenge them to prove their worth.  People from all over the world come to the United States in hopes of a better future for themselves and their families.  Some immigrants do achieve this dream, but in a much more difficult way than those who were born in the United States.  Once an immigrant is granted permission to live in our country after a lengthy process, they face more challenges.  There is discrimination and judgment, language barriers, and if desired, an even more exhausting process of gaining a green card or citizenship.  In making immigration difficult, we actually challenge Catholic teachings.  We should remember that we are one human family.  Protecting ourselves and our own country is important, but even more so we have to protect all humankind.   A recent Washington Post article titled Pitting brightest immigrants against one another discusses some of the challenges immigrants face even against fellow immigrants.  In a proposed Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, immigrants are granted a green card based on who is most worthy by the skills they demonstrate in the workplace.  Hard work and skills are important and should be rewarded, but I wonder how these skills are being assessed and on what terms an immigrant is determined to be ‘highly skilled’.  However, I believe all people all over the world are highly skilled in something.  I understand that it would be impossible to leave our borders open to all of our neighbors, but I have faith that there must be a better way to open our doors and treat all peoples as the equals they are.

*The content of these blogs are the personal reflections of the author and do not represent official Columban positions or statements