Acknowledging the role of our government in enforcing current immigration law, I feel a great sadness for the families whose lives have been disrupted following the large-scale immigration action on June 5 at Corso’s Flower and Garden Center in Erie County in north central Ohio. I offer my prayers, and ask the prayers of all people of good will, that the families affected will not be separated in the days and weeks to follow.
This latest action leads me to recall the words of the Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, who reminds us that family unity is a cornerstone of our American immigration system and a foundational element of Catholic teaching: “Children are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward.” (Psalm 127:3)
This latest event in Erie County again makes clear that our current immigration system contributes to the human suffering of migrants and the separation of families. The bishops of the Catholic Church have a duty to point out the moral consequences of a broken system. The Church is advocating for comprehensive and compassionate reform of our immigration system so that persons are able to obtain legal status in our country and enter the United States legally to work and support their families. Since this is a responsibility of our Congress, I would encourage you to speak with your legislators advocating for reform of our present system. We do this remembering the words of Jesus as he calls upon us to “welcome the stranger,” for “what you do to the least of my brethren, you do unto me.” (Mt: 25-35, 40)