Heading into U.S. bishop’s General Assembly, USCCB president urges Congress to reform nation’s immigration system

Time to act is now
Unjust system should no longer be tolerated
Reform must balance human rights with the rule of law

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), called upon Congress to reform our nation’s immigration system. “The time to act is now,” said Archbishop Kurtz in a June 5 statement. He spoke in advance of the spring meeting of the U.S. bishops, to be held June 10-13, in New Orleans.
The U.S. Senate passed a version of immigration reform legislation about a year ago. The U.S. House of Representatives has yet to consider similar legislation.
Archbishop Kurtz cited the urgency of the issue for immigrants and their families.
“As pastors, we see the human consequences of this broken system each day in our parishes and social service programs, as families are separated, migrant workers are exploited, and our fellow human beings risk everything to find a better life for themselves and the ones they love,” said Archbishop Kurtz. “Our nation should no longer tolerate an unjust system.”
In his statement, Archbishop Kurtz quoted Pope Francis, who, in his first World Day of Migrants message, stated that “migrants and refugees do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be welcome, respected, and loved.”
Archbishop Kurtz concluded that immigration reform should balance “the protection of human rights with the rule of law.”
More information on the USCCB’s position on immigration reform can be found at
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/immigration/churchteachingonimmigrationreform.cfm

Archbishop Kurtz’ statement follows:
Statement of Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz on Immigration Reform
Archbishop of Louisville, Kentucky
President, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
June 5, 2014

In his first message to mark the World Day of Migrants, Pope Francis wrote: “Every human being is a child of God! He or she bears the image of Christ! We ourselves need to see, and then to enable others to see, that migrants and refugees do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected, and loved.”
In this spirit, I call upon our political leaders to reform our nation’s broken immigration system. The time to act is now.
As pastors, we see the human consequences of this broken system each day in our parishes and social service programs, as families are separated, migrant workers are exploited, and our fellow human beings risk everything to find a better life for themselves and the ones they love. Our nation should no longer tolerate an unjust system.
We will pray for and work with members of Congress so that they might reform our immigration laws in a manner that properly balances the protection of human rights with the rule of law.
And as we approach our General Assembly next week in New Orleans, I would ask my brother bishops to join me in offering our prayers, works, and joys of that meeting for the intention that the human dignity of all immigrants be fully respected, that they may be treated, truly, as “brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected, and loved.”

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