Bishops Ask Congress to Heed Francis' Message on Migrants

Archbishop Gomez Laments Flawed System, Undermining of Human Rights

Washington, D.C., (Zenit.org) | 1203 hits

Invoking Pope Francis' Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, called upon members of the U.S. House of Representatives to begin consideration of comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

In the Pope's message, released Tuesday in advance of the January 19, 2014, World Day of Migrants and Refugees, there is a call for a “change in attitude’ toward migrants and refugees around the world, moving away from attitudes of “defensiveness and fear, indifference and fear,” typical of a “throwaway culture.”

“Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity,” the Holy Father wrote.

Archbishop Gomez echoed the Holy Father’s remarks, stating that the current situation in the United States undermines the human rights and dignity of migrants.  

“Migrants have few rights in our economic system,” Archbishop Gomez said. “They are working for low wages in our restaurants and fields; our factories, gardens, homes and hotels. And these men and women have no security against sickness, disability or old age — and no protections against being exploited in the workplace.”

Calling on the House of Representatives to correct this situation, Archbishop Gomez added, “I urge our leaders in the House of Representatives to debate and pass a bill that gives these undocumented men and women a path to citizenship and full membership in our society.”

The U.S. Senate passed S. 744, comprehensive immigration reform legislation, June 27. The U.S. House of Representatives has yet to act on the Senate bill or its own version of immigration reform.

Pope Francis’ statement can be found at www.news.va/en/news/popes-message-for-word-day-of-migrants-and-refugee