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Michigan Bishops call for immigration reform

April 30, 2007

The Catholic bishops of Michigan issued a statement Sunday calling for federal immigration reform. Echoing the repeated calls of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI for immigration policies that treat the migrant, regardless of legal status, with dignity, respect and compassion, the Michigan bishops are leaving political ideology aside. I am very pleased to see the Michigan bishops taking a stand against the problematic immigration laws of the United States, especially because they refuse to forget that law always proceeds from morality, which in turn is grounded in the dignity of the human person. Whenever we succumb to the temptation to view the migrant solely in terms of law, we ascribe a primacy of law over and above ethics and the human person when, on the contrary, law is intended to serve ethics and the human person.

Here’s a snippet of the Detroit News write-up:

In their statement, the bishops denounce current immigration law that requires spouses and children of legally authorized permanent foreign workers to wait up to eight years for visas that let them live together again. They say the policy is inhumane and is the reason so many immigrants come here illegally.

It said, in part, “We invite everyone, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, to take an active part in the promotion of a just and realistic immigration system in the United States. We ought to make known to our representatives in Congress the urgency of this problem with hopes that they will, this year, arrive at a real solution.”

The statement, issued for release Sunday in English and Spanish, has been distributed to all 795 Catholic parishes across the state and is signed by the state’s seven diocesan bishops: Cardinal Adam Maida, archbishop of Detroit, and bishops Carl F. Mengeling of Lansing, Walter A. Hurley of Grand Rapids, James A. Murray of Kalamazoo, Patrick R. Cooney of Gaylord, Robert J. Carlson of Saginaw and Alexander K. Sample of Marquette.

Delgado said the current national policy is immoral, in that it supports a multimillion-dollar industry that tempts people to enter the nation illegally, and also supports multimillion-dollar industries aimed at kicking them out.

“There is talk now about spending millions on immigrant detention centers. These would be concentration camps built by government contractors at millions of dollars of taxpayer expense,” Delgado said.

“It is time to resolve this conflict with more logical and humane solutions.”

The American Papist, who hails from Michigan, and I have tangled on immigration in the past when I defended the Holy See’s immigration views. I am curious to see if he posts anything on what the spiritual head of his own local church has declared, and if he does, to see what he has to say about it.

This reminds me of the superb video Katerina made during the debates over the construction of a wall along the U.S./Mexico border. Despite the hundreds of American and Mexican bishops speaking out against the wall along with Cardinal Martino, the Holy See’s chief on issues of justice and peace, many Catholics turned a deaf ear in the name of the politically ubiquitous “prudential judgment.” If only we all would look at the migrant through the eyes of Christ!


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