Nationally the Sisters of Notre Dame are studying the issue of immigration as a moral, legal and humanitarian issue. We invite you to study and pray with us, and to offer your comments as well.
In recent speeches, Cardinal Roger Mahony and Archbishop Jose Gomez, both of Los Angeles, spoke of the "immorality of a system that thrives upon the weakness and suffering of those without a voice."
Cardinal Mahony made it clear to his audience at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill that Scripture requires "compassion for the stranger, the alien and the worker." As Christians we cannot "turn our backs to this biblical legacy of hope."
Are undocumented immigrants good for the economy? The Cardinal showed that the Greek roots of the word economy refered not to money but to how a household is ordered. No other issues can displace the biblical tradition of compassion for the stranger, the alien and the worker.
Archbishop Gomez, himself from an immigrant family, spoke to Legatus, a Catholic business organization in Naples, Florida, of his respect for law and support for just and appropriate punishments for real transgressions. "But right now we are imposing penalties that leave wives without husbands, children without parents. . . . We are a better people than that. We can find a better way. Workplace raids, detentions and deportations are such a humanitarian tragedy."
Cardinal Mahoney described families torn apart by immigration enforcement-including that of three North Carolina children abandoned by the side of the road for nine hours after their Honduran undocumented immigrant mother was arrested for not having a driver's license. The Cardinal knows the disorientation from his childhood when his family's chicken processing plant was raided. "A terrifying and intimidating moment when the workers--all documented--were confronted by men with guns. Are these American stories the ones that reflect who we are?"
The Cardinal says, "When convenient politically, we scapegoat the immigrant without acknowledging our complicity. Of the nearly half million immigrants who enter the country without permission or stay beyond their visas, nearly 90% get jobs within 6 months, but there are only 5,000 visas available annually by which they might come in legally! " The laws must become just and workable.
When will we recognize that having reasonable and realistic laws is to OUR advantage as well as to immigrants?
We welcome your comments.