Archbishop Wuerl Speaks Out on Immigration

September 07, 2006

Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, in Pittsburgh to celebrate the funeral Mass for that city’s mayor, is not able to attend today’s immigration rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC, but has asked Auxiliary Bishop Francisco Gonzalez, SF to represent him. He also issued remarks calling for any public policy initiatives to have a “keen awareness of the dignity of every person so…whatever results by way of law would support the development of each person, respect their dignity and gifts, and foster family values …Comprehensive reform of our immigration laws would help achieve these goals. Any public policy concerning immigrants should include a sense of compassion, justice and an awareness that so many of the immigrants are already long-standing members of our country.”

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is asking Congress to include the following in the reform of immigration laws:

• A path to citizenship for the 11-12 million undocumented in the country;
• A temporary worker program which protects the rights of both foreign and U.S.-citizen workers;
• Family-based immigration reform which reduces family backlogs;
• Policies which address the root causes of immigration, such as economic disparities between sending and receiving nations; and
• The restoration of due process protections for immigrants.

The full text of Archbishop Wuerl’s remarks is below.

“On behalf of the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington and in the name of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, I welcome all of you who have come to the Mall on behalf of the millions of immigrants from around the world who live and work now in the United States. In a particular way, I want to express my solidarity with the many immigrants here in the Archdiocese of Washington.

“As you gather today, we are all mindful of the contribution to our country that immigrants have made in the past and continue to make today. We are challenged by Jesus to welcome the stranger. Welcoming new members into our national family has always been a part of the American way of life. We not only applaud this generous spirit but hope it will be the foundation for any legislation that is directed toward immigrants in the United States.

“Our long history as a nation of people from every land has been enriched by the gifts, talents and ethnic heritage that immigrants have brought and continue to bring. We must always be mindful of and grateful for this blessing.

“As public policy addresses the question of immigration, it must do so with a keen awareness of the dignity of every person so that whatever results by way of law would support the development of each person, respect their dignity and gifts, and foster family values that are also of bedrock importance in our culture. Comprehensive reform of our immigration laws would help achieve these goals.

“Any public policy concerning immigrants should include a sense of compassion, justice and an awareness that so many of the immigrants are already long-standing members of our country.

“We must also understand that public policy impacts not only on individuals within the United States, but also those members of their families who live outside the country. As a nation, we would always want to support human dignity, social justice and the bonds of family life.

“May God bless all who are here today, all of the immigrants and workers across our country, and those who are responsible for the fashioning of public policy to mold a truly good and just society.”

Contact:
Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
301-853-4515
[email protected]