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Column: The bad and good news on immigration

by Father Pat Murphy 

It’s back. What, you ask? I am talking about the topic of immigration, which has been back in the news recently. Consequently, I thought it would be an appropriate time to share with you what I see as the “bad news” and the “good news” about immigration.

In summary, the “bad news” can be summed by Bishop John Wester of Utah, who as the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration stated on April 27: “On behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I join with the bishops in Arizona in strongly opposing the enactment and implementation of Arizona SB 1070. This new law, although limited to the state of Arizona, could have an impact throughout the nation, in terms of how members of our immigrant communities are both perceived and treated.

“Our national leaders must educate the American public on the need to reform and show courage in making it happen. Until immigration reform is passed, other states will attempt to create and enforce immigration law with harsh and ineffective consequences.”

I would like to think that the politicians were listening, because on April 29 Bishop Wester shared the following “good news” regarding the possibility of comprehensive immigration reform: “The U.S. Catholic bishops have consistently spoken out on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform and have urged its enactment. Today’s introduction of an immigration framework in the U.S. Senate is an important first step in the process of achieving the enactment of a comprehensive measure. We urge members of both parties to begin a process toward introducing and enacting bipartisan legislation that affirms the role of law and basic human rights.”

This issue can no longer wait and should not be politicized or held hostage to ideology. Our immigration system is badly broken and is in need of immediate repair.

I encourage our readers to go to the Web site of the U.S. Catholic bishops and read these statements on immigration so that you can be fully informed about what our bishops are teaching us with regard to immigration.

Yes, it is a complicated issue. But I think the bottom line is quite simple: What we have been doing is not working and we need to find a new way.

In the meantime the question remains: What do we do with those who are already here illegally? It pains me to say it, but the answer for me is found in the very popular WWJD — that’s right, “What would Jesus do?”

I think we know what he would do, and we are called to do the same.

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Fr. Pat Murphy

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