Loading
Immigration reform is not amnesty, Bishop Wester says about bishops’ position
Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City.
Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Saying that immigration reform is not amnesty, Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City has claimed the “broken” immigration system helps exploit migrant workers and causes some to die in the desert. He urged that lawfulness be restored to the U.S. immigration system while also accommodating the great need for unskilled labor.

Speaking in an interview with Our Sunday Visitor, he responded to claims that the bishops disrespect the rule of law.

The bishops have “consistently” respected the right of a country to control its borders, but the Church “has the right to work to change laws which are believed to violate basic human dignity, dignity imbued by the Creator,” Bishop Wester explained to Our Sunday Visitor's readers.

The prelate said the U.S. bishops support “comprehensive” immigration reform to create a system based on “legal presence and legal entry.” He claimed this would restore the rule of law to “a chaotic system” while protecting the dignity of immigrants.

The reform would require those who have broken the law to pay a fine, pay owed back taxes and learn English. He said these requirements rebut claims that immigration reform is a kind of amnesty, since amnesty is a benefit granted “without anything in return.”

The “broken” U.S. immigration system adds to the exploitation of migrant workers and increases both their abuse by “ruthless” smugglers and their deaths in the desert, the bishop charged. “They come illegally because there are insufficient visas under the current system to come legally,” he said.

According to the Salt Lake City bishop, the immigration system provides 5,000 permanent visas for unskilled laborers to come to the U.S., but the demand is much higher. As many as 300,000 new unskilled laborers are needed each year.

“Despite assertions to the contrary, the U.S. bishops do not support ‘open borders’,” he told Our Sunday Visitor. He professed support for “reasonable” immigration policies that serve the common good.

Discussing the strain of illegal immigration on social services, the bishop criticized several “myths.”

He said that over an immigrant’s lifetime he or she is a net contributor to the economy through the taxes they pay, and through their labor and consumption.

Legal immigrants do not qualify for welfare or health care during the first five years they reside in the country and undocumented immigrants never qualify, he stated.

According to Bishop Wester, undocumented immigrants pay “billions” in income taxes each year and at least $7 billion in Social Security taxes at a time when it will soon need to support the baby boomer generation. Giving legal status to the undocumented would generate even more government revenue.

He also advised that reforms should try to address “push factors” that compel immigrants to leave home.

Immigration reform should help bring the 11 million undocumented immigrants “out of the shadows,” the bishop told Our Sunday Visitor. Regularizing immigration would ease pressure on the border by freeing up law enforcement to focus upon drug smugglers, human traffickers and would-be terrorists and not “those simply looking for a job.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
17

Liturgical Calendar

December 17, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Gen 49: 2, 8-10
Gospel:: Mt 1: 1-17

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14