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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.”