Catholic academics push for US immigration reform

The presidents of more than a third of the 244 Catholic universities and tertiary colleges in the United States have called on Congress to pass immigration reform, saying the current treatment of immigrants is “morally indefensible”.

The 93 presidents have appealed directly to all 163 Catholic members of Congress, many of whom are graduates of Catholic universities.

“Catholic teaching values the human dignity and worth of all immigrants, regardless of legal status,” the academics’ letter said. “We remind you that no human being made in the image of God is illegal.

“The Vatican’s Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church warns against the exploitation of immigrant workers and says ‘immigrants are to be received as persons and helped, together with their families, to become a part of societal life’. We are part of an immigrant Church in an immigrant nation.”

One of the signatories, John Garvey, president of the Catholic University of America, said: “One thing immigrants do for the American Catholic Church is they enrich the Church. They’re keeping the Catholic Church fresh and the churches full. More and more they’re the backbone of parish life.”

Support for immigration reform from the Catholic academics comes as members of the House of Representatives are considering an immigration reform bill the Senate passed last month.

That bill would expand provisions for approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants and provide a “pathway to citizenship” as long as a series of new measures for security on the US-Mexico border, including addition of some 40,000 border patrol agents, is first arranged.

President Barack Obama has said that the House is unlikely to pass the bill before its annual August recess.

Religious leaders from some evangelical churches have joined their Catholic colleagues in advocating for reform.

One grouping of evangelical leaders, the Evangelical Immigration Table, is calling for reform that “respects the God-given dignity of every person” and “establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents”.


Catholic News Service

Yahoo! News

Religion News Service

Image: Stanford University

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