Georgia bishops criticize proposed immigration reform

Georgia’s proposed immigration reforms are “punitive” and run counter to Catholic social teaching which insists that the dignity and rights of undocumented immigrants be respected, said two Georgia bishops last week.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta and Bishop J. Kevin Boland of Savannah issued a joint six-page pastoral letter, criticizing Georgia’s immigration reform bills which would restrict health care, education and basic social services for illegal immigrants.

The treatment of immigrants, today and historically, “too often reflects failures of understanding and sinful patterns of chauvinism, prejudice and discrimination that deny the unity of the human family," reads the statement.

Archbishop Gregory said Americans “have a right to care for our borders and regulate the entry of people into our nation,” reported the Associated Press. But he also called on them to remember their history as “a nation of people who are largely immigrants.”

The archbishop commended Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for their proposed immigration reform bill, which he says is “comprehensive” and deals with smuggling in illegal immigrants and the production of fake documents.

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