political debate, large demonstrations, and the presence of large
numbers of migrants to this country have finally brought to a head the
much-needed discussion, and search for a resolution, of the issue of
immigration,” wrote Spokane’s Bishop William Skylstad in a column,
published in the April 27 edition of the Spokane Diocese Inland
“It is most
important that we recognize that human beings are involved – people who
have come to the United States to work and to live. They are brothers
and sisters in Christ who deserve respect and support,” he wrote.
The presence of immigrants is integral to U.S. economy, he said, recalling that his father immigrated to the U.S. in 1927.
recognized that times have changed and that there are many more
undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. than in the past.
However, they come seeking work that they desperately need, he said.
“The reality of
increasing numbers of undocumented persons cries out for a just
resolution,” he said. “Unfortunately, their presence has occasioned a
certain amount of immigrant bashing, and even some rather mean-spirited
legislation proposed on the national level.”
need to secure our borders,” he admitted. “But we have a need for
workers in the United States, and people have responded to that need,”
he pointed out.
The bishop cited
several pastoral letters and documents the U.S. bishops have written on
the issues surrounding immigration, either as state conferences, as a
national conference and in conjunction with the Mexican bishops (2003).
he said, remind citizens and legislators that immigration is not just
about policy and management but about real people crossing borders to
meet their human needs and those of their families by seeking
employment, peace, education and stability.
Christians to live the Gospel call to “welcome the stranger.” They
affirm the right of a person to migrate in search of a better life and
that the dignity and rights of undocumented migrants should be
the U.S. bishops have embarked upon a special campaign, Justice for
Immigrants: A Journey of Hope, which calls for solidarity among the
faithful and an overhaul of the U.S. immigration system, the bishops
include more access to family reunification, abandoning border
blockades, restoring due process protections for immigrants and
providing legal pathways for migrants to come and work in a safe,
humane, and orderly manner.
mounting U.S. debate over immigration is an opportunity to finally find
a just solution to the problem of undocumented workers, said the
president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last week.