“We exhort them
to pass humanitarian legislation for workers in the United States and
that will allow families to be reunited. And for those who are
undocumented, may they be able to come out from the shadows and with
dignity become a part of US society to contribute to its development,”
the bishops said in a statement sent to US senators.
argued that approval of the Sensenbrenner law would result in “a
devastating disaster that would involve thousands of people, families
and communities of the Central American region,” which is overcome “by
poverty and extreme poverty.” Most of the 11 million illegals in
the US, they recalled, are Central Americans.
The wave of
immigration from Central America began in the 1970’s and 80’s as a
result of the violent conflicts and economic problems that plagued the
region. Money sent back to the region by family members in the US
has become the second largest source of income for Central America, the
bishops said, and cutting off that source of funding would bring
political, social and economic crisis to the region.
reiterated that immigrants have rights and dignity and that the efforts
by US authorities to control immigration have not been as successful as
had been hoped. “As long as the immigration laws of United States
and its economic agreements are not synchronized with economic
realities in an equitable way, immigration in the hemisphere will
continue to be a significant challenge,” they added.
senators of the importance of Central American stability for US
interests and said the lawmakers should “not lose sight of how your
decisions will impact your neighbors in the south.”
“In a globalized
world we are called to globalize solidarity with those most excluded
and marginalized,” the bishops stated. “We must not build walls
and borders, but rather bridges that unite us as brothers and sisters.”
Sensenbrenner law passed by the US House last December requires all
social and humanitarian organizations, including churches, to ask for
legal documentation before helping immigrants. It also encourages
the building of a wall on the US-Mexican border.
Secretariat of Central American Bishops has called on the senators of
the United States to find a “humanitarian solution” to the problem of
illegal immigration before accepting a new bill sponsored by
Congressman James Sensenbrenner and recently passed by the House of
Representatives which criminalizes illegal immigrants and those who