.- In a commentary in Denverâs Rocky Mountain News, Archbishop Charles Chaput decried the actions of those who, as he sees it, are using illegal immigrants as scapegoats for the slaying of a Denver police officer earlier this month.
The Archbishop, who presided at the funeral of Donnie Young, a Denver police officer gunned down last month while working security for a baptismal party, began by praising the bravery of those in uniform and the outpouring of support from the Denver community toward Youngâs family.
He said however, that âthe aftermath of the funeralâ and âthough what we do with our anger over his killing; whom we blame and why -- will prove just how deep our character as a community really goes.â
âOvernight,â the Archbishop wrote last week, âsome public officials and media sources began using the Young murder to hammer away at U.S. immigration realities. They keyed especially on undocumented Hispanics. One media commentator claimed that if anything good were to come of Youngâs tragic death, it would be highlighting the problem of illegal immigration.â
âIn effect,â he said, âfor some people, the murder quickly became a way of justifying their pent-up anger toward whom they blame for stealing jobs, abusing public services and fueling crime.â
Archbishop Chaput noted over 70% growth in Denverâs Hispanic population over the last decade and said, âJustice canât be served by raging at groups of other people. That kind of anger only undermines our own dignity and pushes common sense to the margins.â
While he pointed out that Americanâs have reasonable rights to safe boarders and immigration policies, he said that, âThe vast majority of undocumented Hispanic immigrants in the United States never commit a violent act, have no desire to undermine the common good and contribute vitally to American prosperity.â
âThousands of farmers and businessmen rely on their services,â he wrote. âThe life many of us enjoy depends, in part, on the labor of illegals. Taking advantage of their work, and then blaming them for being here, is a uniquely unworthy form of hypocrisy.
The Archbishop specifically chided Catholics, who âbelong to a Church that supports the fundamental right of every person to migrate to seek a better life for his or her family, and who themselves were hated as outsiders for much of American history.â
For them, he said, âanti-immigrant anger is doubly wrong.â
He encouraged the Denver community to truly honor the memory of Young, an imperative, which, he said, cannot be reached by âredirecting our sympathy into name-calling, resentment or reactionary fear.â