US Bishops' Labor Day message calls for renewed immigration debate


The U.S. bishops are calling on Catholics to recommit this Labor Day to defending the lives, dignity, and rights of workers, especially the most vulnerable.

The bishops issued their call in their annual Labor Day statement, issued yesterday by Bishop Nicholas Di Marzio, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Domestic Policy Committee.

The bishop called for a renewed and civil immigration debate. “At its core immigration is about workers who come to our land to try to secure better lives for themselves and their families by their labor,” he wrote.

He said the immigration debate in recent months has polarized Americans and paralyzed Congress. “We have to find a way to re-start the discussion, to re-engage the hard issues, to search for practical and realistic solutions,” he urged.

“The immigration status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable,” he stated. “The ‘system’ is broken. We need far-reaching and comprehensive reform.”

He said fundamental moral principles, such as the right to work, decent wages, and safe working conditions, should guide immigration reform.

Bishop DiMarzio stressed the need for immigration policy to be consistent across the nation and urged against local or state proposals. “Immigration policy should not depend on where in the United States you work or live,” he said.

He said the recent landmark agreement between immigrant farm workers in Florida and major corporations is a sign of hope. That agreement led businesses to promise a “penny a pound” more for Florida tomatoes and a new code of conduct in the fields.

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