.- Hispanic bishops from 33 different U.S. dioceses thanked immigrants for their contributions to society and called on all Americans to welcome newcomers with respect and Christ-like love.
In a Dec. 12 letter, the bishops expressed their solidarity with those immigrants âwho lack proper authorization to live and work in our countryâ and invited them to participate fully in the life of the Church in America.
Among the signatories of the letter are: Archbishop JosÃ© H. GÃ³mez of Los Angeles, Archbishop Gustavo GarcÃa-Siller of San Antonio, Bishop Joe S. VÃ¡squez of Austin, Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, and Auxiliary Bishop Alberto Rojas of Chicago.
They recalled how the Holy Family was forced to flee to Egypt, and reminded immigrants of their âinfinite value and dignityâ as human beings who are made in the âimage of God.â
The bishops also noted the positive efforts made by immigrants to the U.S., such as their economic, cultural and spiritual contributions. They specifically highlighted their manifestation of Christian values, including determination, perseverance and fidelity.
The clergymen then touched on the âdisdain for immigrantsâ that some Americans have shown. America is a nation of immigrants, they noted, emphasizing the need for solidarity rather than hatred in dealing with newcomers.
Americans can see âthe true face of Jesus Christâ in the suffering of the migrants who must make great sacrifices for their families, working âdifficult jobsâ and receiving âmiserable salaries and no health insurance or social security,â they said.
Furthermore, migrants can show us âJesus the pilgrim,â they said, recalling Christâs migration âfrom heaven to earth,â from Galilee to Jerusalem and âfrom death to lifeâ as he accomplished the Fatherâs will.
Immigrants can also serve as a reminder to all Christians that they are âmigrants on the way to eternal life,â they added.
The bishops offered assurance that they are continuing to advocate for âjust, humane and effective reform of immigration lawsâ aimed at respecting âfamily unityâ and allowing âan orderly and reasonable process for unauthorized persons to attain citizenship.â
They also committed to working for a worker visa program that respects immigrantsâ human rights and provides for their basic needs, as well as working towards âglobal economic justiceâ that will give them opportunities to earn a living wage in their own countries.
Those who are considering immigrating should think seriously about whether such a move âis advisableâ until such changes have been made to American immigration laws, the bishops said.