To be clear, Catholic social teaching recognizes a country’s right and responsibility to manage its borders in accordance with the common good, and the U.S. bishops have been vocal proponents of immigration reform for many years. However, bills recently put forth in Congress, such as the USCCB-opposed Secure the Border Act (H.R. 2), which targets organizations serving newcomers, underscore both the partisan nature of the immigration debate and the potential for religious groups to be scapegoated for the consequences of public officials failing to achieve just, bipartisan solutions on immigration.
In particular, H.R. 2 would prevent faith-based organizations that serve newcomers from receiving any funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, including disaster relief and security-related grants. This is based on the belief expressed by several legislators that even offering basic assistance, such as food and water, to anyone, regardless of immigration status, “facilitates or encourages unlawful activity, including unlawful entry.”
Several chairmen of the USCCB recently stated in a letter to Congress: “Our immigration system is broken, as underscored by the current humanitarian situation at the U.S.-Mexico border and ongoing challenges faced by interior communities. Legislative solutions have been proposed, but achieving a comprehensive solution has repeatedly eluded Congress. However, as the last several decades have demonstrated, it is both ineffective and unjust to pursue an enforcement-only approach to immigration, while not addressing the inadequacies of our legal immigration system and the root causes that compel people to migrate.”
With some lawmakers demanding that H.R. 2 be enacted as a condition for passing bills that fund the federal government, complete this action alert to encourage members of Congress to work toward bipartisan immigration reform that furthers the common good, upholds religious freedom, and respects the God-given dignity of all.
More information about Catholic ministries serving newcomers can be found on the USCCB website.