Fear, uncertainty and terror are part of the immigrant experience in Los Angeles, Archbishop José H. Gomez said Feb. 17 during a panel on immigration at a Vatican-sponsored conference.
The fear has continued to spread since the election of President Donald Trump, he said, reporting that many children at archdiocesan Catholic schools are afraid they’ll go home one afternoon and find their parents have been deported.
The archbishop shared how he’d received a call from a pastor last week, reporting that Immigration and Customs Enforcement had been picking up undocumented immigrants at a local supermarket. The pastor canceled some church festivities so that his parishioners would not pick up groceries. While the report turned out to be false, the archbishop said, it illustrates the prevalence of anxiety in the community.
“The raids did not start with this president. The previous president deported more than anyone in American history, close to 3 million people,” the archbishop said. “And most of them were not violent criminals. And many of them were parents forced to leave their homes and their children. So we need to keep that perspective. What we really need is immigration reform.”
“We cannot get stuck in rhetorical actions that are angry reactions,” he said. “We have to be convinced that our cause is just and that God will help us in converting the hearts of our opponents — even the president of the United States.”
The archbishop also highlighted two concrete measures that could help immigrants in the near future — the Bridge Act and SB 54. The Bridge Act would grant allow those currently benefitting from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to remain in the United States. These immigrants — or “Dreamers” — were illegally brought to the United States when they were children. President Trump has expressed the possibility of compromising his otherwise strict immigration policy in such cases, recently saying he would treat these immigrants “with a lot of heart.”
California State Senator Kevin de Leon introduced the second measure, SB 54, to prevent local law enforcement from functioning as federal government agents. De Leon stressed that the bill would prevent local law enforcement from deporting undocumented immigrants.
“We need these bills to get passed. We need your help. We all need to work together,” the archbishop said. “We need to start there, piece by piece, until we fix every aspect of our immigration system. Our cause is the noble cause is of human dignity, that men and women are children of God, that life is sacred, no matter the color of your skin or your country of origin. A person is still a person, even if the person is without papers.”
The Feb. 16-19 conference is part of the Meeting of Popular Movements, which Pope Francis began in 2014 to bring Church and grassroots leaders together.
Full story from Angelus.
Respect needs to be earned. By Archbishop Gomez crossing the line, he becomes divisive and loses respect.
This archbishop holds out immigration as his top priority. He lauds his opinion as if it were Church law. It most certainly is not!
We do not have to agree with him and we are not selfish or racist if we disagree with his liberal open borders sentiments. I for one am sick of bishops and clergy who try to shame those of us who support the laws of this nation. You’ve got it wrong, Archbishop Gomez – breaking immigration laws and taking advantage of a nation’s generosity are the shameful things.
Yes, we must love the alien, the stranger without a home, and welcome such.
But, should we not also promote order and lawfulness in our immigration system? Should we not encourage an immigration system that is respected for its lawful procedures?
By analogy, when we all enter our homes, we close our doors and windows. When someone knocks, we greet them and invite them in, but we ask them to respect our home and our place of peace.
Why is our border any different? Why promote illegal crossings? Why encourage people to violate the law to violate our borders? Would not prudence suggest lawful immigration, and then perhaps a broad and expansive guest worker program to help those in need?
Today, too many clerics are political and…
Gomez has lost my respect. What is wrong with these bishops who can’t distinguish between illegal immigration and legal immigration? Illegal immigrants should live in fear and uncertainty because they are criminal trespassers in the United States.
Another bishop who lives comfortably off the backs of working people without earning his own living and who grandstands politically without running for office. His Religious Education Congress is this weekend, and McElroy is saying the “Immigrant and Refugee” Mass. How much of a mess will that all be?
Choose, CA bishops: leftist politics or the gospel. You cannot have it both ways. Leftism is a fake gospel.
Isn’t the Gospel a bit left anyway? Give what you have to the poor, shelter the homeless, feed the hungry, etc.
The Lord’s teachings about the merits and virtue of personal behavior in response to the neighbor we are confronted with directly when going about our daily lives is actually a rather conservative set of principles because it leaves to individuals, rather than to government, the work of exercising charity.
So the Gospel is not Left. Leftists twist the Gospel to appear Left by extrapolating exhortations to personal behavior into a mandate for endless big-government social welfare programs and the increased taxes to fund them.
Only to a Leftist…….
Even if the Archbishop himself has lost all credibility on a matter of prudential judgment like immigration, we Catholics are still obliged to respect him for the sake of the office that he holds by God’s inscrutable Will.
How to square immigration with the American people.
Do not sneak into my country, wait your turn.
Do not become a welfare parasite.
Do not commit crime.
Learn to speak English.
Integrate into the community.
Practice your religion, but do not impose it on others.
Become a citizen.
I’ve been cynically referring to Archbishop Gomez as a “single-issue cleric.” Unfortunately, I’m being proven correct. It’s impossible to have a reasoned discussion about Illegal aliens when we keep hearing, “We’re all descendants of immigrants,” and “We need comprehensive immigration reform.” We need to distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants. Rereading of Romans Chapter 13 is in order. Distorting Trump’s words and spreading horror stories about deportations also amounts to bearing false witness. Also, loving your neighbor and hospitality toward the stranger does not mean granting citizenship.
A more reasoned opinion can be found here: https://www.sandiegouniontribune…
Agreed! Thank you.
As a loving son of the Church, I give due reverence to these non-binding prudential judgments of my father in the faith Archbishop Gómez. Respectfully, I do not share them, however. What is binding on conscience here is the Catechism. Nothing that Mr. Trump has done runs afoul of the Catechism: We accept immigrants to the extent that we are able (#2241), and we make immigration rights subject to juridical conditions (#2241). The illegal immigrants, however, do run afoul of the Catechism and sin by disobeying the immigration laws of this country in the first place (#2241). Why this silence on the sinfulness of illegal immigration?
Archbishop Gomez, Please know that there is a difference between legal immigration and illegal immigration. One is law abiding, while the other is law breaking. Jesus never advocated breaking the law. He said that we should render unto Caesar that which is Caesars’ and to God that which belongs to God. The richer countries do have an obligation to help those from poorer countries, but every country has an obligation to maintain law and order for its citizens and those residing lawfully in the country. The United States also has large pockets of poverty and cannot afford to take in more immigrants until those already here have their basic needs met.
Finally Archbishop, Please clean up the cesspool of filth otherwise known as the…
I am an American citizen, retired and serving as a volunteer missionary in a country on the continent of Africa. Before being allowed to move here I had to fill out a lengthy application and provide letters of recommendation. All this and I was not planning to take on a job normally done by a local citizen. I have lived here now for seven full years and every year I have to file for a new one year VISA which costs several hundred dollars. My point in this is that I am obeying the laws of the country in which I want to serve. Anyone who wants to move to the United States should do the same – begin the process by respecting and obeying the laws of the country.
LEGAL VS ILLEGAL
If only we could deport Gomez Any ideas?. I would cheerfully exchange him for thousands (and thousands) of incoming illegal immigrants. Here’s why:
Hymie, I do not think Friedman was right about those who came into Ellis Island being able to just come in. For one thing they were checked for diseases and quarantined if they had any. The people were also deloused. I have seen pictures before about that. Also, I think they had to sign papers that they would not be a burden on the country and be self supporting. He did mention the latter I think in the second video, and there probably was no welfare at the time he stated. It was pretty much the same to get into European counties, such as Italy.
Also, what was it about the bracero program that people did not like?
1) St Milton–like Adam Smith–is always right. 2) When in doubt, see #1.
Sen. Kevin de Leon explained that half his family has false SS numbers. Identity theft is a huge problem in California and makes you deportable. Taking welfare payments such as FoodStamps also marks one for deportation.
Too bad that illegals have to live in fear and uncertainty, if they had not crept into my country illegally, they could live without fear.
By being illegal immigrants, means they are not here legally. They have not followed established lawful procedures that are defined by US due process of law. By side-stepping/disobeying US immigration laws, all put in place for good reason, these illegal immigrants show disregard and disrespect for our US laws, people, and country. Would any of us welcome strangers or even acquaintances into our own homes/yards where they completely disrespected our morals, values, family rules, and property? I doubt that Mr. Gomez would either. We are obligated to obeying the morals laws of our country, and so are the immigrants Mr. Gomez!