Denver Prelate: Church Wants "Orderly Immigration"

Addresses Issue During National Migration Week

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DENVER, JAN. 9, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Church is in favor of "orderly immigration" and immigration reform, the archbishop of Denver is affirming during National Migration Week.



Archbishop Charles Chaput discussed the annual celebration, which ends Saturday, in an address published Wednesday on the archdiocese's Web site.

He noted that the immigration issue "was a hot topic before the elections, yet during the campaign season it was barely debated."

"I hope that it will become a matter of great and fervent discussion during the next congress," the prelate said. "This is a matter of justice to both U.S. citizens and to immigrants.

"Our Church stands on the side of orderly immigration and is in favor of comprehensive immigration reform so our borders are protected and all people are respected. Both of those principles are very important for a Catholic understanding of migration, which is ultimately rooted in the Christian belief that we are all migrants in search of our heavenly homeland."

The archbishop, himself of Native American heritage, noted how important immigration has been for the United States.

"Most of us are the children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren of immigrants," he said. "And so it has been a part of our country's richness that people come here with many gifts from many different places. […] It is important for us to recognize that immigration has made our country prosperous. I don't speak of economic prosperity but of the cultural wealth that our diversity brings.

"America is a country of immigrants. Our heritage and our Christian faith demand that we look for a just solution to the problems of our immigration system today."

Archbishop Chaput spoke out against reactions "of hostility" toward immigrants.

"We must understand that our country has a duty to protect its borders; a duty to welcome those who migrate legally," he contended, "and a responsibility to fairly address the inadequacies of immigration laws and policies that have allowed millions of unauthorized, yet hardworking, honest immigrants to risk living and working in the shadows of our society."