U.S. Bishops launch immigration reform campaign

.- Yesterday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) announced a broad-sweeping new campaign aimed at reforming the country’s immigration policies. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Washington D.C.’s Cardinal Theodore McCarrick described Justice for Immigrants: A Journey of Hope. The Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform, saying that its purpose is for “immigrants [to] support their families in dignity, families [to] remain united, and the human rights of all [to be] respected.”

The Cardinal noted that the USCCB had been disturbed by what they see as a troubling trend toward viewing immigrants as a threat to the nation rather than a benefit.

He said that, “Anti-immigrant fervor on TV and radio shows, citizens attempting to enforce immigration laws, and, most disturbingly, the enactment of restrictive immigration laws are evidence of this negative public environment.”

Cardinal McCarrick said that he sought to add the voice of the Church to the current public discourse and suggest that, “we are, and should remain, a nation of immigrants.”

The four-fold goals of the new campaign include educating Catholics and others about the benefits of immigration to the nation; strengthening public opinion about these positive contributions; advocating just immigration laws and creating legal pathways for immigrant workers and their families; and organizing Catholic legal services to assist immigrants in accessing the benefits of the hoped-for reforms.

While he acknowledged that current attitudes toward immigrants have been deeply influenced by the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Cardinal stressed that we must not “give into the temptation to scapegoat all immigrants who come to our land—and who contribute their God-given talent to our communities—because of the actions of a few.”

“It is my belief,” he said, “and that of my brother bishops, that our nation can meet the challenge of ensuring national security without closing America’s door to the oppressed and downtrodden.”

Cardinal McCarrick further noted that the Catholic Church has a major stake in this debate because “Regardless of race, heritage, or national origin, we are one family under God.”

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