One year later, Bishop Wester notes ‘human cost’ of Postville immigration raid

Bishop of Salt Lake City John C. Wester
Bishop of Salt Lake City John C. Wester


Marking the anniversary of the May 12, 2008 immigration raid in Postville, Iowa, the Catholic bishop who heads the U.S. bishops’ immigration committee said the anniversary was a "disturbing reminder" of the "human cost" of enforcement actions. He also called for the reform of national immigration policies.

Bishop of Salt Lake City John C. Wester, chairman of the Committee on Migration of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), said the Postville raid was precedent-setting as the largest work site immigration enforcement action to that point in history.

"As religious leaders, my brother Catholic bishops and I understand and support the right and responsibility of the government to enforce the law. We strongly believe, however, that worksite enforcement raids do not solve the challenge of illegal immigration. Instead, they lead to the separation of U.S. families and the destruction of immigrant communities," he said.

"The result of the Postville raid was family separation, immense suffering, denial of due process rights and community division," Bishop Wester charged.

"Our religious and social response to such harm to our God-given human dignity is based on Scriptures, which call believers to welcome the newcomers among us, to treat the alien with respect and charity, and to provide pastoral and humanitarian assistance to individuals and their families."

Bishop Wester asked all Catholics, other religious believers and persons of good will to commemorate the Postville raid by remembering in their prayers those hurt by it. He also asked them to work for "comprehensive immigration reform" so that others will not face "similar pain and cruelty."

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