America’s Catholic bishops convey Church teaching without heed to popularity, and rightly so. Their recent call for federal agents to cease workplace raids of immigrants will likely stir a storm of commentary. So be it.
The immigration system is broken, a point on which supporters and opponents can agree. But a broken system cannot be fixed by breaking up families and forcing people to live in fear. The Church defends the dignity of immigrants and all members of the human family, even if no other voice in society will. The Bishops know that a reaction simply to “send back the illegals” ignores the impact on children left behind in this country to fend for themselves. Many of them have been born into U.S. citizenship.
Workplace raids are inhumane and unworthy of a country built on the gifts of immigration. One glimpse of the best of American values in the face of immigrants appears on page 28 of this issue. Readers see a man who, along with his wife and five children, is practicing his Catholic faith and learning more about the permanent diaconate. He is not seekign a handout but stretching out his hands in service of the Gospel and the Church.
Whether his family represents those who possess citizenship, documentation or neither, immigrants nonetheless deserve compassionate treatment. The Bishops’ call for them not to be hunted down, rounded up and separated from their families should be heeded by federal authorities and supported by the Catholic faithful.