Statements and Letters about Comprehensive Immigration Reform
If you are aware of any other statement featuring the issue of Comprehensive Immigration Reform and/or the Justice for Immigrants Campaign please submit its information to our national office by using the Contact Us form.
Bishop Kevin Vann blogging from the Diocese of Orange, CA: Meeting with U.S. Representative John Campbell of Irvine
May 9, 2013
St. Joseph was an immigrant. By necessity he had to abandon his home, taking Mary and the child Jesus to a foreign land. St. Joseph throughout his many trials trusted in God’s providence and faithfully provided for his family. The plight of Joseph and the Holy Family in the gospel according to Matthew is mirrored repeatedly in the lives of many immigrants and refugees who have come to the United States.
Op-Ed by Bishop Armando Ochoa in the Fresno Bee: Immigration reform needs clear path to citizenship
May 9, 2013
I join with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and clergy across all denominations calling on our representatives to act now so families can step out of the shadows and become full citizens of our region, our state and our country.
South Florida Sun Sentinel Op-Ed by Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami: Path to citizenship should be widened
May 5, 2013
Polls show that the large majority of Americans support a path to citizenship and that they want Congress to fix the broken immigration system. They do not want to revisit this issue anytime soon — they want it solved. They also want immigrants in the legal system sooner rather than later, so that they possess the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
Statement on Immigration Reform by the California Catholic Conference of Bishops
May 1, 2013
The U.S. Senate proposal is welcomed. As people of faith, we are compelled to care for the least among us in loving response to Jesus who says to us: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” We look forward to meeting with legislators and working to ensure that the final bill brings immigrants out from the shadows so that all of us together can make America stronger.
Even as we join with others in carefully reviewing the 844-page bill, we will continue and expand our efforts to enlist California Catholics—and others of good will—to advocate for this much needed reform of our national immigration laws.
Catholic Conference of Ohio: Statement on Immigration
April 23, 2013
We write to ask for your support for immediate reform of our nation’s immigration laws.
Arizona Republic Op-Ed: Catholic Bishops: Immigration reform is finally in reach
April 23, 2013
Now, it is critical to communicate with legislators and speak up about the legislation and how it can be amended to most effectively address the wide range of issues it seeks to resolve. We believe most Americans understand that our immigration system is broken. Here is our chance to fix it.
USCCB President Says ‘Now Is The Time’ To Reform Immigration System
April 22, 2013
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), said in a press conference April 22 that “now is the time” to fix the nation’s broken immigration system. Cardinal Dolan was joined at the press conference by Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, and Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chair of the USCCB Communications Committee.
“Let me say that now is the time to address this issue,” Cardinal Dolan said. “As we speak, persons are being deported and an untold number of families are being divided. Human beings continue to die in the American desert. This suffering must end.”
En Español | Listen to the press briefing | Read the transcript of the briefing
Statement by Cardinal Dolan | En Español
Statement by Archbishop Gomez | En Español
Statement by Bishop Wester | En Español
Survey Shows Strong Catholic Support For Immigration Reform
April 19, 2013
Nearly eighty percent of Catholic voters support earned citizenship.
Most Catholics support the bishops' call to respect human rights and dignity.
Catholics need to contact their legislators.
En Español | Read the survey summary | View the survey
Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles writing in The Tidings: A time for immigration reform
April 19, 2013
Is it fair for our country not to enforce its laws for many years, and then suddenly to start punishing people who broke these laws? I don’t think so. But that’s our policy right now.
And it’s a cruel policy. The problem is the people we are punishing have become our neighbors. Most of those we call “illegal” have been living here for five years or more — two-thirds have been here for at least a decade. Almost half are living in homes with a spouse and children.
Bishops’ Migration Chair Welcomes Introduction Of Immigration Proposal; Pledges To Work So Final Bill Upholds Basic Rights, Dignity
April 17, 2013
Archbishop Gomez commended the so-called “Gang of Eight” senators for their leadership on the issue. He also said that once it has completed its review of the voluminous bill, the USCCB may seek improvements upon the proposed legislation, consistent with principles for reform laid out for decades by the bishops’ conference.
by Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver: "Immigration and the Catholic Worldview"
April 4, 2013
Today, immigrants are too often viewed solely through a financial lens. They are viewed as workers, and reduced merely to their economic potential. They are treated as objects. But immigrants are members of families, and those families are essential to our social order. They have something to contribute to our national order, because they are human beings, endowed with real dignity. Immigrant families have always contributed to the richness of our culture—particularly the richness of American Catholic culture.
Bishop Michael F. Burbidge Op-Ed in The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC): Immigration laws need reform
March 28, 2013
During Lent, we focus on the theme of repentance and what it means to change our ways and do right by God. As we observe Good Friday today, we recognize the suffering so many people have endured as a result of our broken immigration system: deaths in the desert, years in detention awaiting an immigration hearing, children left without parents and a class of people marginalized to the shadows. It is time to stop the suffering and to prepare for that Easter moment of transformation to new life.
USCCB Subcommittee Chairman Announces Nearly $1 Million In Grants, Efforts For Comprehensive Immigration Reform
March 5, 2013
"These grants represent a distinctively Catholic contribution in promoting comprehensive immigration reform. They will strengthen the capacity of our institutions to help immigrant families come out from the shadows and participate more actively in American society," said Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, California, chairman of the U.S. bishops' CCHD subcommittee.
of Philadelphia: Justice, prudence and immigration reform
February 19, 2013
We become what we do, for good or for evil. If we act and speak like bigots, that’s what we become. If we act with justice, intelligence, common sense and mercy, then we become something quite different. We become the people and the nation God intended us to be.
Our country’s chronic immigration crisis is a test of our humanity. Whether we pass that test is entirely up to us. That’s why the Catholic community needs to engage the issue of immigration reform as prudently and unselfishly as possible — not tomorrow or next week, but now. The future of our country depends on it.
Testimony of Most Reverend José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles and Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Before the Senate Judiciary Committee On Comprehensive Immigration Reform
The Church’s work in assisting migrants stems from the belief that every person is created in God’s image. In the Old Testament, God calls upon his people to care for the alien because of their own alien experience: “So, you, too, must befriend the alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt” (Deut. 10:17-19) In the New Testament, the image of the migrant is grounded in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. In his own life and work, Jesus identified himself with newcomers and with other marginalized persons in a special way: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Mt. 25:35) Jesus himself was an itinerant preacher without a home of his own as well as a refugee fleeing the terror of Herod. (Mt. 2:15)
February 12, 2013
Christian Leaders Urge Fundamental Immigration Reform
February 6, 2013
The group, representing leadership from Catholic, Evangelical/Pentecostal, Historic Protestant, Orthodox, and Historic Black churches, agreed on these unified principles:
• An earned path to citizenship for the 11 million people in the U.S. without authorization
• The priority of family reunification in any immigration reform
• Protecting the integrity of our borders and protecting due process for immigrants and their families
• Improving refugee protection laws and asylum laws
• Reviewing international economic policies to address the root causes of unauthorized immigration.
Read More | En Español
Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City in the Deseret News:
My View: A Path to Citizenship
January 29, 2013
Participation in the program would not be easy or cheap. Rather, it requires that immigrants pay a fine for their illegal status, pay back taxes, learn English, and wait for several years before becoming eligible to apply for permanent residency and citizenship.
Immigrants who earn permanent residency and citizenship by meeting these requirements are not being forgiven for their offense. They are earning their right to remain in the United States.
USCCB's Chairman of Committee on Migration: Senate Immigration Framework Important First Step, Seeks Bipartisan Cooperation For Just, Humane Legislation
January 28, 2013
An important first step in process and tone, says Archbishop Gomez.
Promises bishops' support for system to protect human dignity, homeland simultaneously.
Plan gives hope to millions of fellow human beings.
Archbishop Wenski Op-Ed in the Miami Herald: "Path to citizenship best way to reform immigration."
January 16, 2013
If the administration and Congress are serious about fixing our broken immigration system, they should fix it correctly, and not create more problems. A path to citizenship for the undocumented should be the centerpiece of any immigration reform effort this year.
Speech by Bishop John C. Wester, Diocese of Salt Lake City, on the second night of the MRS-CLINIC national conference on immigration held in Atlanta
December 4, 2012
First, the Church must play a role in setting the terms of the upcoming debate in a positive and humane manner. As you are all aware, recent public debates about immigration have been characterized by divisive rhetoric and what I would call the de-humanization of the immigrant. From some in the debate, immigrants are not human beings, like you and I, they are (and I quote) “illegals.” The Church must continue to fight this rhetoric and remind our fellow Americans of the humanity of the immigrant, both through our personal stories and the language we use. It is the Church and the faith community that can counter the vitriol and inject civility and respect into the debate about immigration. Immigrants share our common values of community, hard work, family, and worship of God. They also share the aspirations and goals for their children
and families, as we all do. They should be treated with respect.
Keynote Speech by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of the Archdiocese of Atlanta to open the MRS-CLINIC national conference
December 3, 2012
From both a public policy and pastoral perspective, our Catholic approach to immigrant people, and to all people, is deeply rooted in the fundamental Scriptural and theological truth that all human beings are imago Dei – created in the image and likeness of God. (Gen. 1:26-27) Furthermore, as Christians, we firmly believe that all human beings have immense and irreversible dignity and worth since they have been loved and saved in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
USCCB Letter to U.S. Representatives regarding H.R. 6429 (STEM visas)
November 28, 2012
To be clear, USCCB is not opposed to an increase in STEM visas. We prefer to see Congress authorize additional visas for this purpose, however, rather than eliminate existing immigrant visa programs. Our nation should not limit itself in attracting newcomers who can help contribute to our economic and cultural growth. And it certainly should not eliminate the Diversity Visa program, which is one of the few avenues available for many would-be immigrants from some African and European countries to immigrate to the United States.
U.S. Bishops' Migration Chairman Urges President Obama and Congress to Enact Comprehensive Immigration reform
November 13, 2012
BALTIMORE— Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of USCCB's Committee on Migration, urged President Barack Obama and the newly elected Congress to work together to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Archbishop Gomez issued the statement during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Fall General Assembly, November 13 in Baltimore.
"I urge the President and Congress to seize the moment and begin the challenging process of fashioning a bipartisan agreement," Archbishop Gomez said. "Millions of persons remain in the shadows, without legal protection and marginalized from society. As a moral matter, this suffering must end."
Read More | En Español
Cardinal Dolan Congratulates President Obama on Re-Election
November 7, 2012
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, congratulated President Barack Obama, November 7, the day after his re-election as President of the United States.
Cardinal Dolan promised the prayers of the bishops saying that "The Catholic Bishops of the United States offer our prayers that God will give you strength and wisdom to meet the difficult challenges that face America."
He added that "In particular, we pray that you will exercise your office to pursue the common good, especially in care of the most vulnerable among us, including the unborn, the poor, and the immigrant. We will continue to stand in defense of life, marriage, and our first, most cherished liberty, religious freedom. We pray, too, that you will help restore a sense of civility to the public order, so our public conversations may be imbued with respect and charity toward everyone."
Read More | En Español
Cardinal Mahony Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times: "Yes to the Trust Act."
September 28, 2012
The Trust Act would defend those values while rebuilding trust between immigrants and police and easing the burden on local governments.
USCCB Statement On The Announcement of Deferred Action for DREAM Act-eligible youth
- USCCB/MRS' Q&A on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) | En Español
- DACA Community Education Information for Clergy and Parish Staff | En Español
- Talking Points on Deferred Action for DREAM-eligible Youth | En Español
- USCCB/MRS' Summary of the Announcement of Deferred Action for DREAM Eligible Youth
- Q&A on the DHS Announcement of Deferred Action for Certain Undocumented Youth | En Español
Arizona Catholic Bishops' Statement on Federal Court Lifting SB 1070 Injunction
September 19, 2012
With SB 1070 now in effect, it is imperative that racial profiling does not occur in its
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony blogpost from Los Angeles: Majority Support Young Immigrants
August 26, 2012
Several days ago the results of a recent poll gave heartening encouragement to all of us in favor of assisting younger undocumented adults and children to obtain legal status.
The USC Annenberg--L.A. Times poll showed that 61% of respondents favored granting a legal residency status following the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA]; 30% opposed the program; and 9% did not know or did not answer.
The Cardinal's Column: Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I. of Chicago
August 12, 2012
The government’s immigration policy seems schizophrenic. On the one hand, there is much hopeful rhetoric and even concrete gestures like allowing those young people raised here to finish college before they have to face again the threat of deportation; on the other hand, the number of people deported is greater than ever.
The legal reform of our immigration system is a politically charged issue, which is why there seems little political will to face the fact that 11 million people who are here without documents and are therefore outside the law are nevertheless woven into the fabric of our family and social life, our parishes and communities, our economy and public life. When an individual is separated from the family and community in which he has made his life, everyone suffers.
Bishops Greet Supreme Court Decision on Immigration with Hope, Caution
June 25, 2012
"While we are concerned with the Court's decision to lift the injunction on section 2 (B) of the law, we are encouraged that the Court did not rule it constitutional," Archbishop Gomez said. "As we articulated in our amicus brief, the implementation of this provision could lead to the separation of families and undermine the Church's ability to minister to the immigrant population."
"We stand in solidarity with our brother bishops in Arizona, as they prepare to respond to the implementation of this provision and its potential human consequences," Archbishop Gomez said.
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony blogpost from Los Angeles: Immigrants still at risk
June 25, 2012
How is "reasonable suspicion" to be interpreted? Color of skin? Primary language? Certain physical features? How long can a person be detained while state officers seek immigration status reports from the Federal Government?
This is at the heart of the challenge to S.B. 1070 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in our Amicus Curiae Brief.
U.S. Catholic Bishops Urge Nation To Continue Leading Efforts To Help Refugees
June 21, 2012
The Catholic Church in the United States does respond to the plight of the world’s refugees, in answer to the call of the Gospel to welcome the stranger. Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, assisted by diocesan Catholic Charities offices around the nation, resettles as many as 20,000 refugees a year in the U.S. The Catholic Church in the United States, through these agencies, represents the largest private refugee resettlement organization in the world. Catholic Relief Services provides support to refugee populations overseas. We help refugees of all religious traditions.
USCCB Statement On The Announcement of Deferred Action for DREAM eligible youth
June 15, 2012
On behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I welcome the announcement by President Obama today that, consistent with his executive authority, he will grant deferred action on a case-by-case basis to youth who entered the United States by age 15 and have not committed certain offenses. Many of these youth would qualify for immi-gration relief under the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
This important action will provide protection from removal and work authorization for a vulnerable group of immigrants who deserve to remain in our country and contribute their talents to our communities.
Read More | En Español
USCCB/MRS' Summary of the Announcement of Deferred Action for DREAM Eligible Youth.
Q&A on the DHS Announcement of Deferred Action for Certain Undocumented Youth | En Español
The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
Learn more about the legislation and Light a Candle for DREAM Act.
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony blogpost from Los Angeles: Help for Young Immigrants - A Good First Step!
June 15, 2012
We are all winners with this new policy! The young people are encouraged to finish their high school education, go to college, or join the military services.
Bishops Welcome President's Deferred Action On DREAM Eligible Youth, Urge Congressional Action on DREAM Act
June 15, 2012
“This important action will provide legal protection, and work authorization, to a vulnerable group of immigrants who are deserving of remaining in our country and contributing their talents to our communities,” said Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration. “These youth are bright, energetic, and eager to pursue their education and reach their full potential.”
En Español | Read the statement
The Christian Post: Catholic Church Supports Evangelical Statement on Immigration Reform
June 13, 2012
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced its support for the Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform. Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, archbishop of Los Angeles and chairman of USCCB's Committee on Migration, announced the group's support not long after the Evangelical Statement was unveiled at a press conference in Washington, D.C. yesterday. "We welcome today's statement by evangelical leaders in support of immigration reform. They, along with many others, recognize that our immigration system is broken and impacts basic human rights and dignity," said Gomez.
Address of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to the Bishops of the United States (Regions XIV-XV and the Eastern Rite) on their Ad Limina visit
May 18, 2012
The Catholic community in the United States continues, with
great generosity, to welcome waves of new immigrants, to
provide them with pastoral care and charitable assistance,
and to support ways of regularizing their situation, especially
with regard to the unification of families. A particular sign of
this is the long-standing commitment of the American Bishops
to immigration reform.
Archbishop Wenski Op-Ed in the Miami Herald: Why deny full American DREAM?
May 8, 2012
These young people were brought to this country by their parents — some as infants. They are totally at home in America. They speak English, and many have excelled in school. Our country has already invested in them through public education. As citizens they can contribute to the common good of the only country that most know. They think and act like Americans, why can’t we allow them to dream like Americans?
VIDEO: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, discusses immigration and the GOP in a May 2, 2012, interview with Chris Jansing on MSNBC.
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony blogpost from Los Angeles: Immigration and U.S. Supreme Court
April 26, 2012
But the Justices cannot be oblivious to the implications and practical effects of the Arizona law. In my opinion, they simply must analyze the implications on individuals and their families when they render their final decision.
The Catholic Church will continue to stand with all of our immigrant brothers and sisters, regardless of legal residency, and will continue our efforts to extend earned paths to legal residency for all categories of these people.
As Supreme Court Considers Arizona Law, Faith Leaders Call Upon President, Congress To Reassert Authority on Immigration Law
April 24, 2012
WASHINGTON—In letters sent April 24, on the eve of oral arguments to the Supreme Court on Arizona’s immigration law, 15 religious leaders urged President Barack Obama and the 112th Congress to “reassert your authority” and move to enact immigration reform legislation “as soon as possible.”
The national faith leaders expressed concern that, because of its inaction on this issue for several years, the federal government is implicitly transferring “unprecedented authority” to state and local governments to implement immigration policy, to the “detriment of our nation and our local communities.”
Read the letters to the President and to Congress | Read the USCCB testimony to the Senate Immigration Subcommittee | Read the USCCB amicus brief
Op-Ed by Archbishop José H. Gomez in the Washington Post regarding the Supreme Court and its consideration of Arizona's SB 1070
April 24, 2012
"Human dignity not up for debate."
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony blogpost from Los Angeles: Meeting with Pope Benedict XVI
April 21, 2012
My report to the Holy Father centered on the issue of immigration and the current phenomenon of world-wide migration. Some 212 million people are on the move around the world, most of them fleeing various threats and deprivations: wars, terrorism, famine, political unrest, and the search for a place of peace and opportunity for their families.
Minnesota Catholic Bishops Renew Their Call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
April 12, 2012
In the 1,300-word statement, “Unlocking the Gate in Our Hearts,” Minnesota’s Catholic bishops have joined their voice with their brother bishops around the country to encourage reform of the nation’s immigration laws. Due to the nation’s broken system, several states, most prominently Arizona and Alabama, have recently tried to address the problem by enacting their own policies. Minnesota has been considering similar enforcement measures. The bishops generally oppose these efforts.
Read more | Read the Minnesota Catholic Bishops' statement | En Español
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony blogpost from Los Angeles: New immigration rule makes sense
April 3, 2012
Under the new proposed process, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who would need a waiver of unlawful presence in order to obtain an immigrant visa could file a new form form before leaving the U.S. to obtain an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.
Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop Gomez Urge Congressional Leaders To Build Consensus On Immigration Reform
March 22, 2012
“Passage of immigration reform is more important now than ever, as state laws and local enforcement initiatives are filling the policy vacuum left by Congress,” the bishops wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Minority Leaders of both chambers. “This has created a patchwork of laws and policies throughout the country which has led to discord in our communities.”
En Español | Read the Letter
VIDEO: Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles reflecting on immigration in an
introduction to the USCCB document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the call to political responsibility issued by the U.S. bishops in 2007 and reissued last fall.
Video: Cardinal Roger M. Mahony on Fox News
March 5, 2012
"We all benefit by this relatively small amount of money helping these families, and helping them get up and out of poverty."
Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski of the Archdiocese of Baltimore: We need comprehensive immigration reform, not 'Secure Communities' program.
March 5, 2012
Programs such as Secure Communities, regardless of aim, are succeeding in spreading fear and division and in threatening the stability of the family. Moreover, the program is altering the relationship between federal immigration enforcement and local law enforcement.
The Catholic Church's concern for the welfare of migrants stems from its belief that immigration is ultimately a humanitarian issue because it impacts the basic human rights and dignity of the human person. The Church believes this dignity is undermined by this program's alleged channeling of immigrants into the criminal justice system through racial profiling and pre-textual arrests for the purpose of vetting them for their immigration status. Because Secure Communities is operated at the point of arrest, rather than post-conviction, it casts a wide net over virtually any immigrant who has come into contact with the criminal justice system.
Comments by Bishop Joseph Latino of the Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi prior to Catholic Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, February 29, 2012.
Surely public issues such as the welfare of children and immigration, as well as the myriad of other challenges facing our state have strong moral dimensions. Indeed the well-being of children should be at the forefront of all legislation. Current proposed immigration legislation will adversely affect children and families. As Catholics we must always defend the dignity of the human person and the dignity of the family.
Statement from the Bishops of the State of Mississippi on Immigration to Governor Phil Bryant and the Mississippi State Legislature
January 21, 2012
While we do not deny the legitimacy of concern for laws that are broken and for any behavior that threatens our national security, we, however, do not consider the search for employment, decent housing, and secure family units to be a threat to our society or our security.
Welcome address by Bishop John C. Wester at the USCCB Immigration Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah
January 11, 2012
I would like to welcome all of you to Utah and thank you for making the effort to come to this conference. This is a wonderful way to celebrate National Migration Week as we join with so many others throughout our country in giving witness to the tremendous contributions our immigrants make to our nation.
Archbishop Wenski's homily at the annual Migration Mass in Miami: "We are one family – brothers and sisters of one Father."
January 8, 2012
We must continue to advocate for a just and equitable reform of a broken immigration system that continues to separate families for unacceptable periods of time and that provides no path to citizenship for millions who work in jobs that otherwise would have gone unfilled.
We will defend the rights of refugees and asylum seekers for a safe haven from perse-cution and violence. And, because every child of God should feel at home in his Father’s house, as a Catholic community, we will continue to assure that — in our pastoral care and outreach to the newcomers among us — we will speak their Mother’s tongue.
If Catholics are to be a light to the nations, we must model what a reconciled world looks like to us. We have to show that diversity enriches the Church and does not divide her — for our communion in Christ is greater than anything that could ever divide us.
ABOUT THE JUSTICE FOR IMMIGRANTS CAMPAIGN: