Archbishop Charles Chaput’s column appeared in the diocesan newspaper at the start of National Migration Week. Sunday, January 14th, marks National Migration Sunday.
“A new Congress sits in Washington,” he noted. “Its members have an extraordinary opportunity to act quickly and justly to solve this problem. If they don’t, the responsibility for failure will be on them and on all of us who elected them,” he said.
“Our country’s immigration crisis is a test of our humanity,” he wrote. “Whether we pass it is entirely up to us.”
Last month, shortly after the arrest of hundreds of unauthorized immigrant workers at Swift meatpacking plants across the country, the archbishop received an e-mail that expressed contempt toward illegal immigrants and hope that “their families starve to death.”
The archbishop expressed sadness and shock in response to the e-mail. “Something is deeply wrong with the heart and the head of any person who thinks like this,” he wrote.
“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,” he continued. “We do not encourage or help anyone to break the law. … But we won’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,” he stated.
“Despite all of the heated public argument over the past year, Americans still find themselves stuck with an immigration system that adequately serves no one.”
.- The Archbishop of Denver has called for swift immigration reform that would address the country’s economic and security needs, “but also regularize the status of the many decent undocumented immigrants who help our society to grow.”