“Immigration is a human rights test of our generation. It’s also a defining historical moment for America. The meaning of this hour is that we need to renew our country in the image of her founding promises of universal rights rooted in God. Immigration is about more than immigration. It’s about renewing the soul of America.”
-Archbishop Gomez, Immigration and the Next America, 2013
Immigration in the United States is a complex issue. When evaluating immigration policy issues, it is necessary to address the human dignity of immigrants and refugees who are seeking refuge and a better life, and respect and recognize due process and human rights. It is also important to acknowledge states’ rights and responsibilities to control their borders. Immigrants and refugees have various reasons for why they want to come to the United States: many flee persecution and exploitation, some hope to reunite with family members already living in the U.S. or to find work that will provide support and a just way of life for their families back home. Our current broken immigration system has led to undocumented people living in this country, working jobs and raising their families in fear of deportation.
Catholic Principles of Migration is rooted in the Gospel and in the rich tradition of Catholic social teaching.
Five principles that help guide the Church’s approach to migration
I. Persons have the right to find opportunities in their homeland.
All persons have the right to find in their own countries the economic, political, and social opportunities to live in dignity and achieve a full life through the use of their God-given gifts.
II. Persons have the right to migrate to support themselves and their families. The Church recognizes that all the goods of the earth belong to all people. When persons cannot find employment in their country of origin to support themselves and their families, they have a right to find work elsewhere in order to survive.
III.Sovereign nations have the right to control their border. The Church recognizes the right of sovereign nations to control their territories but rejects such control when it is exerted merely for the purpose of acquiring additional wealth.
IV. Refugees and asylum seekers should be afforded protection. Those who flee wars and persecution should be protected by the global community.
V. The human dignity and human rights of undocumented migrants should be respected. Regardless of their legal status, migrants, like all persons, possess inherent human dignity that should be respected. Government policies that respect the basic human rights of the undocumented are necessary.
“Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more.”
-Pope Francis, World Day of Migrants and Refugees (2014)
People migrate due to many factors that affect their lives as listed and we must be welcoming to them.
Myrna Wong, Iris Gomez, Fr. Miguel Gonzalez