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Why Catholic? Meet Bishop Edward C. Malesic
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Undocumented Immigrants - Why we the faithful need to get involved

News of the Diocese

November 30, 1999

 

 

 

 

Let me begin with scripture, Leviticus: "Treat strangers as if they were natives, because you were once aliens in the land of Egypt" ...and Matthew 25:35: "When I was a stranger, you invited me into your homes."

There are 12 million in the United States, 70,000 in Ohio and more than 30,000 in the eight counties of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland  C  undocumented immigrants  C  nearly all are no different than our own forefathers  C  searching for a better life for themselves and their families.

The plight of these aliens is back on the federal legislative agenda. The United States Catholic Bishops recently issued a request that President Obama and congressional leaders of both parties work together to fashion and enact comprehensive immigration reform before the end of the year.  As the Bishops stated, the U.S. immigration system requires repair.  As a nation we have the right and the responsibility to protect our borders and the law.  These laws must be fair, just and respond to the needs and situation of our times.  They must support of the humanitarian principles upon which our country was founded.

Why should the everyday Catholic be concerned and involved?  Historically, the Catholic Church has held a strong interest in immigration and how immigrants are affected by public policy.  The Church serves as a voice on behalf of those who are marginalized and whose God-given rights are not respected.  This is particularly important from the aspect of family reunification.  The importance of ensuring that the nuclear family stays together  C  husband, wife and child  C  is extremely important.  Legislation such as the AReuniting American Families Act@can assure that immigrant families are not broken apart.  All too frequently, when the mother and/or father are illegal but the children are born on U.S. soil, they are separated when the parents are sent back to their native country.  Additionally, close family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents must now wait years for a visa before being reunited.  Also, our border enforcement strategies have been ineffective and had led to the deaths of thousands of migrants.

There is a need to dispel the many myths related to the immigrant workers.  They are vital to our economy.  They live in our communities and many do the toughest jobs and have chosen to be here at the risk of their own lives.

It is time for all people of God to act.  A phone call or email to your congressional representative and U.S. Senators Voinovich and Brown are first steps in encouraging comprehensive immigration reform.  It is our moral responsibility as Christians to allow these immigrants to have available: a path to earned citizenship for those who are here, visas that protect immigrants and U.S. workers, unite families separated by backlogs and restrictions,  respect for due process,  and restoration of order and safety to our borders.  Let us pray that God guide each of us in this quest.

Most Reverend Roger Gries, Auxiliary Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Cleveland

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