Bishops Renew Pledge to Fight Trump-Backed Immigration Proposals

Taking stock of their efforts over the past six months to combat some Trump administration attempts to crack down on undocumented people living in the United States, Catholic bishops meeting in Indianapolis today pledged to be more proactive in laying out a vision for comprehensive immigration reform.

Bishop Joe Vasquez, head of the bishops’ migration committee, said in a report to fellow bishops that church leaders now seek “to move beyond simple reaction to the various negative proposals we have seen lately.”

“Catholic bishops pledged to be more proactive in laying out a vision for comprehensive immigration reform.”

Following Mr. Trump’s surprise victory in November, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops convened a special working group to coordinate the church’s response to immigration proposals from the new administration. That group concluded its work this month.

Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, who chaired the group, recounted the flurry of statements condemning many of Mr. Trump’s proposals, such as building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and banning refugees from several predominantly Muslim nations. Archbishop Gomez said the bishops’ efforts “helped to make a positive impact on the public conversation regarding the [executive] orders.”

In recent months, some Christian groups have declared themselves sanctuaries for undocumented residents, promising to house them in churches if they fear deportations. Catholic leaders have largely shied away from such declarations, insisting that they have no legal basis for such moves and that doing so could ultimately offer false hope to undocumented immigrants.

“Archbishop Gomez said the bishops’ efforts “helped to make a positive impact on the public conversation regarding the [executive] orders.”

Instead, Catholic organizations have continued to work with undocumented individuals to pursue legal avenues that could grant them temporary relief.

Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe took to the floor to express concern that these avenues were increasingly being blocked by the Trump administration. He wondered if U.S. bishops might take a more serious look at the sanctuary movement.

By Michael J. O’Loughlin for America The Jesuit Review
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