US bishops are making a renewed push on immigration

February 24th, 2014 | Boston Globe | Link to Article

Catholic bishops around the United States are ramping up their efforts to stymie anti-immigration forces, making direct pleas to their states’ governors, testifying before Congress, and even using theatrics to draw attention to their cause.

Although the bishops have always supported President Barack Obama’s executive order halting some deportations, there is a new sense of urgency, spurred by a federal court’s temporary injunction last week that blocked implementation of the order. The injunction was in response to a lawsuit filed by 26 states challenging the president’s action.

For example:

    • Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin of Indianapolis wrote an open letter, published in the Indianapolis StarSunday, to Gov. Mike Pence asking him to withdraw Indiana from the lawsuit.

“This lawsuit, if ultimately successful, will force immigrants back into the shadows and expose them to deportation — which will lead to separating families, depriving children of their parents’ love, removing young men and women from the only country they have known, and tearing the fabric of whole communities,” states the letter, which also was signed by leaders of other Christian, Jewish, and Islamic communities.

“We are guided by two fundamental values upheld by our faith traditions: the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and the opportunity of each person to participate fully and equally in the communities of which they are a member,” the letter continued.

    • Earlier this month, another Catholic bishop testified before a Congressional committee, urging lawmakers not to press on with “enforcement-only” immigration bills.

“Our country is judged by how we treat the most vulnerable,” said Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, “and the removal of protections from children flies against human decency and violates human dignity. We should not punish these children, who themselves are innocent and are only seeking opportunity and safety.”