INDIANAPOLIS—The chairmen of the U.S. Bishops' Working Group on Immigration, and the Committee on Migration, presented an oral report to the full body of bishops on the work done to advance collaboration in developing spiritual, pastoral and policy advocacy support for refugees and immigrants. The presentation took place at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Spring General Assembly in Indianapolis, June 14.
José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas,
respectively, spoke about the origins, activities and continued collaboration
of the working group, which was established following the November 2016 General
was a desire to express solidarity with and pastoral concern for those at risk,
but also a desire to avoid encouraging exaggerated fears," Archbishop Gomez
group members include: Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of
the Committee on Domestic Social Development; Auxiliary Bishop Nelson J. Perez
of Rockville Centre, New York, chairman of the Subcommittee on Hispanic
Affairs; Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of Yakima, Washington, chairman of the
Subcommittee on Pastoral Care of Migrants; and Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las
Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and
carried out by member-chairmen of the working group included statements
responding to executive orders on interior enforcement, sanctuary cities, and
refugee resettlement; and on pieces of legislation including the BRIDGE Act,
which would provide temporary relief from deportation to youth previously
protected through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
group has also facilitated diocesan resources such as policy reports, prayers,
educational materials, action alerts and pastoral accompaniment, and has held
frequent communications among the members to discuss concerns and priorities.
They have also shared episcopal guidance with outside partners such as Catholic
Relief Services; Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.; Center for Migration
Studies; and Catholic Charities USA.
this oral report concludes the formal work of the Working Group on Immigration,
the coalition of USCCB committees will continue collaborating as needed under
the leadership of the Committee on Migration.
short, it is to convey a comprehensive vision for immigration reform, to paint
a fuller picture of what justice means, and what mercy means, with respect to
migrants and refugees in our country today," said Bishop Vásquez. "Our purpose
will be to move beyond simple reaction to the various negative proposals we
have seen lately—and expect to see for some time to come, albeit at a slower
pace—and to proactively raise and advance the issues that we would prioritize."
Vasquez also highlighted the importance to seek initiatives based on the five
principles of the 2003 pastoral letter Strangers No Longer, which
Recognizing the continued urgency for comprehensive immigration reform, a humane refugee policy and a safe border, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has extended the bishops Working Group on Immigration. Activities carried out by member-chairmen of the working group included statements responding to executive orders on interior enforcement, sanctuary cities, and refugee resettlement; and on legislation including the BRIDGE Act, which would provide temporary relief from deportation to youth previously protected through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
More information on the work of the USCCB's Committee on Migration, recent statements and other resources are available at: www.justiceforimmigrants.org.
The U.S. bishops' Spring General
Assembly is livestreamed and available at: www.usccb.org/about/leadership/usccb-general-assembly/index.cfm.