Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput has announced that he will join two U.S. Representatives in sponsoring an open forum to discuss immigration reform on June 13. “We need to get down to the practical steps of changing our immigration laws in a sane and positive way – now,” said Chaput.
The Archbishop, along with Congressmen Jared Polis (D-CO) and Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) will engage in a discussion on immigration reform at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Northglenn, Colorado.
In a column published by the Denver Catholic Register, Chaput clearly stated the problem to be addressed: “Our immigration policies are outdated, and our immigration laws too often don’t conform to reality or our nation’s real needs.”
Archbishop Chaput described current situation faced by millions undocumented immigrants as a “legal Twilight Zone.” This situation is “morally inexcusable,” he said, noting that the vast majority of these individuals are hard working, law-abiding individuals, many of whom have families threatened by the current immigration system.
Emphasizing that the Catholic Church respects the nation’s laws, Chaput added that, “We can’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.”
The President and Congress need to “act quickly and justly to solve this problem,” he stated.
In his column, Chaput stressed the importance of intelligent dialogue and swift action in solving the legal dilemma. “Good people can disagree honorably about the specifics of immigration reform,” he said. “But we can’t honorably ignore the need for reform or the suffering of families who pay the cost of doing nothing.”
“We need to remember that how we treat the weak, the infirm, the elderly, the unborn child and the foreigner reflects on our own humanity,” said Chaput, noting that, “We become what we do, for good or for evil.”
“Our country’s immigration crisis is a test of our humanity. Whether we pass it is entirely up to us,” the archbishop said in closing.
The June 13 forum is part of a national outreach tour known as “Familias Unidas.” The tour encompasses 22 major cities across the country and is intended to help gain a better understanding of the harm to individuals and families caused by the current immigration system, a press release from Rep. Polis' office says.
The forum will include testimony of individuals and families whose lives have been affected by the current immigration system, along with those who are at high risk.