Recently, President Obama traveled to El Paso to urge Congress to work toward comprehensive immigration reform. By claiming the border is “more secure than ever before,” he reiterated it’s time to find a solution for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. The day after the President’s speech, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s “Justice for Immigrants” committee lobbied members of Senate for comprehensive immigration reform. As active members of the “Justice for Immigrants” committee, the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach joined the two days of lobbying. Working with a variety of Catholic orders and organizations, we were able to demonstrate the Catholic Church’s national opposition for the status quo on immigration. It was exciting to observe Capitol Hill finally focusing on this issue.
When visiting Senate offices, we often hear that Congress has not worked for CIR because their constituents are not too concerned about it. The Bible makes very clear that we are called to love our neighbor and care for the stranger. Jesus himself was once an immigrant as the holy family fled King Herod when they entered Egypt. We must see the face of Christ in the immigrant that has left his/her family to sacrifice for their survival.
As faithful Christians, we are called to be teachers and prophets. When we see governments or people disregard the dignity of human life, we are obligated to speak-out. This is never an easy task. Thankfully, we have been blessed to have been born in the United States where we can express opposition without fear of reprisal. So pick up your cross, take the 10 minutes and write or call your congressman to tell them their constituent wants comprehensive immigration reform. If you want to know more about Catholic social teaching on immigration, please visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website at www.usccb.org, and review “We are Strangers no Longer.”