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.
Current state of U.S. immigration `an offense against God,’ say bishops
November 29, 2013
Catholic News Service (courtesy of CatholicPhilly.com): SAN ANTONIO (CNS) — In a new pastoral letter “Families Beyond Borders,” the bishops of the border region of Texas, New Mexico and Mexico humanize the immigration debate by placing it in a moral context with specific illustrations of struggling children and families. Video | Read “Families Beyond Borders” | En Español: Familia Mas Alla De las Fronteras
Archbishop Jose Gomez writing in The Tidings: Our Lampedusas of the heart
November 8, 2013
Mostly I worry about the children and the families caught up in our broken system. Two-thirds of the undocumented persons in our country have been here for at least a decade. They are our neighbors and classmates. They are the people we sit next to in church on Sunday.
Citing "great moral urgency," USCCB President calls upon House of Representatives to pass immigration reform legislation
November 7, 2013
“As pastors, we [the bishops] witness each day the human consequences of a broken immigration system,” he wrote. “Families are separated through deportation, migrant workers are exploited in the workplace; and migrants die in the desert.”
Cardinal Dolan also wrote that keeping undocumented workers as a permanent underclass is a “stain on the soul of our nation.” Read the letter | Read more | En Español
Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee writing in his weekly column, the Herald of Hope: "Church is voice for the voiceless"
November 7, 2013
There is something very flawed with a law that separates families and demands that a
husband separate from his wife and sometimes children due to immigration laws.
Op-Ed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archdiocese of New York and President of the USCCB
October 17, 2013
Wall Street Journal: Helping the newcomer to our land feel at home is part of our mission, as Christ reminds us in Matthew 25 that "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Read More
At 'Justice for Immigrants' Mass, bishop calls Jesus 'divine immigrant'
October 17, 2013
Jesus was the "divine immigrant" who lived his life "traveling from place to place," Bishop O'Connell of Trenton told the congregation at a Mass. Read more and see video | Photos
Guest Column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch by Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington, VA and Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of Richmond, VA: Who is my neighbor?
October 13, 2013
We write as bishops whose own families immigrated to this country from Italy. We live in a commonwealth settled by immigrants from Europe, and now populated by people from every corner of the globe. As they always have, immigrants sit among us in our pews and our classrooms. We see them ahead of us in the grocery line, or behind us at traffic lights. Many of those we interact with every day, including our co-workers and employees, are immigrants. They live in our neighborhoods and pay taxes in our communities. They are our neighbors.
Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Diocese of Little Rock:
Government cannot deny the rights that come from God.
October 13, 2013
Other rights flow from these, including the right to immigrate if circumstances so require because the right to life includes the right of access to those things necessary for life even if these are not available in one’s place of origin, a right that our own ancestors exercised in choosing to come to the United States.
Columbia (Knights of Columbus' monthly publication): Homily by
Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio at the opening Mass of the Knights of Columbus’ 2013 annual international convention
‘Lights and Shadows’
Video on immigration by Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis
September 10, 2013
Bishop Joseph Bambera, Diocese of Scranton, for the Immigration Reform Mass
September 8, 2013
In July, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, made his first visit outside of Rome traveling to the tiny Sicilian island of Lampedusa. There he prayed for the thousands of migrants from Africa who have died over the years trying to reach the tiny island in unsafe and overcrowded boats.
He shared these words in his homily during the Mass that he celebrated, “These, our brothers and sisters, sought to leave difficult situations in order to find a little serenity and peace. They sought a better place for themselves and their families – but they found death. How many times do those who seek this not find understanding, do not find welcome, do not find solidarity! And their cry rises up to God.” … The Holy Father went on to say, “Lord, we beg forgiveness for our indifference to so many of our brothers and sisters. … We ask your pardon for those who are complacent and closed amid comforts which have deadened their hearts.” Later that day, the Pope tweeted, “We pray for a heart which will embrace immigrants. God will judge us upon how we have treated the most needy.”
Homily by Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock, Arkansas
September 8, 2013
When we reject a stranger we are rejecting Christ.
Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, Archdiocese of Boston: Letter on immigration
September 8, 2013
The Church's interest in the immigration question continues to be a combination of pastoral care and public advocacy. We seek to provide a welcome in our parishes, schools and social service agencies, and also to have a place in the debate about a fair and just public policy.
The Catholic social tradition and Catholic moral teaching are rooted in the sacredness of human life, the dignity of the human person, the protection of human rights and standards of social justice by which laws and policies are shaped. Each of these ideas stands behind the Church's position on immigration reform.
Washington State Catholic Conference Pastoral Letter on Immigration:
Immigration Reform: Seeking Truth in Charity
September 7, 2013
We hear stories like these every day, as we pastor immigrant families living in Washington, a state that has become home to an estimated 230,000 undocumented immigrants. The vast majority of immigrants come here because they are poor and desperately need work to support their families. But they also come because we need their labor. Washington State ranks in the top ten among states that rely on undocumented workers for their workforce. They harvest our produce and crops. They clean our hotel rooms and serve food in our restaurants. They care for our children, tend our lawns, and take on the manual labor we are unable or unwilling to do for ourselves.
Op-Ed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York: Immigration reform: A moral imperative
September 6, 2013
Every day, our parishes and charitable organizations encounter people struggling to make a new life for themselves and their families. We meet families who run the risk of being torn apart. We meet migrants who risked dangerous desert passages to get here. We meet young immigrants who want to get an education, find a job and raise a family like countless others before them.
Those who caricature these immigrants as “takers” couldn’t be more wrong.
Archbishop George Lucas writing from Omaha
September 6, 2013
Getting involved in immigration reform is about more than law, it's about faith.
Catholics Nationwide Push For Immigration Reform
September 6, 2013
Dioceses to hold Masses, pilgrimages, meetings with legislators through October.
Archbishop Gomez says 'now is the time' for Catholics to voice support.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York: With Faith and Memory, We Welcome Fair Immigration Reform
September 4, 2013
We Catholics have felt the sting of racial and religious slurs in the past, when Nativists and “Know-Nothings,” as they were called, shouted out that the arrival of “inferior stock” from Ireland, Poland, Italy, and central and southern Europe was “contaminating” America, and that Catholics were un-American. Now we hear some nastiness against our newcomers from Latin America and Asia.
Bishop Anthony Taylor writing in the Arkansas Catholic regarding an immigration bill: ‘A now-or-never moment.’
September 3, 2013
See Bishop Taylor's letter to Catholics in the Diocese of Little Rock | En Español
Iowa Catholic Conference Statement on Immigration Reform
August 14, 2013
We urge all Iowans to remember their history as immigrants as we work together towards a fair and compassionate resolution of this problem. We encourage members of the Catholic community to contact their members of Congress this month, especially in the House of Representatives, in support of immigration reform legislation consistent with the principles of justice.
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony blogpost from Los Angeles: Crucial Time to Contact House Members
August 9, 2013
Those opposed to immigration reform are working hard to defeat any meaningful reform. We must be even more diligent and proactive in our efforts on behalf of these brothers and sisters.
With God's grace, we can make a significant difference on behalf of the least brothers and sisters!
Charles Chaput of Philadelphia: Security, immigration reform and human dignity
August 7, 2013
But most undocumented immigrants in the United States – the vast majority — never commit a violent act, have no desire to undermine the common good and contribute productively to American prosperity.
Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles, writing in America Magazine:
Lessons from Pope Francis on caring for migrants.
August 6, 2013
Jesus Christ taught us by word and example that we are to see his face upon the faces of all in need, and we are to respond to those faces with love, an open heart and a ready generosity: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me” (Matt. 25:35).
That is the only clear and undistorted lens through which we as disciples of Jesus can properly view our brothers and sisters. When we attempt to tint or adjust that lens and see immigrants to the United States through the distortions of ignorant and mean-spirited negativity, our vision of Jesus has become blurred and we no longer see him clearly.
Message of His Holiness Pope Francis
for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2014
August 5, 2013
Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more. The sheer number of people migrating from one continent to another, or shifting places within their own countries and geographical areas, is striking. Contemporary movements of migration represent the largest movement of individuals, if not of peoples, in history. As the Church accompanies migrants and refugees on their journey, she seeks to understand the causes of migration, but she also works to overcome its negative effects, and to maximize its positive influence on the communities of origin, transit and destination.
Letter on Immigration Reform by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago
August 4, 2013
During these next several months we have the opportunity and moral obligation to take concrete actions, as part of our wider evangelization efforts on the issue of immigration, to address this human tragedy in the United States. I am committed to doing so. I recently wrote the attached op-ed on this topic, and I have asked my episcopal vicars to offer their support as well. I am writing now to ask for yours.
Catholic Church's Position on Immigration Reform
Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City regarding the recent remarks by Iowa Congressman Steve King
July 29, 2013
I am disappointed by Rep. King's remarks, which speak of migrants in a way that undermines their human dignity and the respect owed them as children of God.
USCCB Testimony on Undocumented Youth Submitted to the House Judiciary Committee - Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security
July 23, 2013
I ask that you provide the most generous relief possible for them, including a path to citizenship within a reasonable time period. I also stress the importance of providing that relief as part of broader comprehensive immigration reform that addresses the status of the rest of the 11 million undocumented persons residing in the United States, including – but not limited to – the parents of these children, many of whom are still providing care for their children.
A Statement of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts on Comprehensive Immigration Reform
July 15, 2013
In the Catholic community, welcoming the immigrant is central to our beliefs and lived out in our institutions. The principles of our moral teaching, convictions about personal dignity, human rights, and the unity of the human family are the foundations of our public advocacy for comprehensive reform.
Pastoral statement by
Most Reverend David M. O'Connell, C.M.,
Bishop of Trenton on Justice for Immigrants Sunday
July 8, 2013
As Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, I ask all Catholics and those who believe with us, to put aside any partisan differences to pray for all our immigrant sisters and brothers, particularly on Justice for Immigrants Sunday, July 14, 2013, that they too might know the "liberty and justice for all" that is the foundation of this land we love, as President Kennedy once again reminded us, asking God's "blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth, God's work must truly be our own."
Michigan Catholic Conference Applauds Sens. Levin and Stabenow for Immigration Vote
June 28, 2013
We now urge the Michigan congressional delegation to contribute to dialogue and work to enhance existing legislation in order to help finalize an acceptable national immigration solution.”
Read more from the Michigan Catholic Conference
USCCB Chairman commends U.S. Senate for passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation
June 28, 2013
Overall improves upon status quo
Bishops will seek more changes as process continues
House should act on bi-partisan comprehensive bill
Read more | En Español
Georgia Catholic Conference: Catholic Bishops Urge Senators Chambliss and Isakson to Support S. 744, Comprehensive Immigration Reform
June 21, 2013
Read the letter to Sen. Chambliss | Read the letter to Sen. Isakson
The Wisconsin Catholic Conference on S. 744, The
Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act
June 20, 2013
For the first time in nearly a generation, our nation has the opportunity to fix our broken immigration system into one that promotes human rights, legal behavior, family unity, and secure borders.
Senate Urged To Improve And Approve Immigration Reform Legislation | En Español
June 10, 2013
Statement by Archbishop Gomez | En Español
Statement by Bishop Wester | En Español
Statement by Bishop Soto | En Español
Op-Ed in the Las Cruces (NM) Sun-News by Bishop
Cantú: Stand up for family unity, pass immigration reform
June 11, 2013
My parents worked hard and sacrificed so my siblings and I could get an education and contribute to society. Immigrants come here today for the same reasons, but their chance to live the American dream is often denied since the number of visas to enter legally is not commensurate with the need for workers. It's time to fix a broken immigration system that separates families, traps millions of undocumented immigrants in the shadows, and betrays our nation's values.
Op-Ed in USA Today by Cardinal Timothy Dolan: "Catholic bishops: Fix unjust immigration system"
June 9, 2013
It's important that Congress craft legislation that balances the legitimate needs of security with our heritage of welcoming immigrants and the gifts they bring to our country.
A Statement by the Bishops of Florida in Support of Immigration Reform
June 5, 2013
Now is the time to act. We, the Catholic Bishops of Florida, ask our parishioners to contact their member of Congress and two United States Senators to ask them to support immigration reform.
USCCB Chair Applauds Passage of Immigration Reform Bill Out of Committee; Urges Full Senate to Begin Debate As Soon As Possible
May 23, 2013
Committee process and vote show strong bipartisan support
U.S. bishops will try to improve bill as process moves on
Path to citizenship, family immigration remain strong priorities
The Catholic Bishops of New Jersey Call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
May 22, 2013
Today, as our Church continues to minister to hundreds of thousands of immigrants, we, the Catholic Bishops of New Jersey, lend our voice to the growing call for our government to enact comprehensive immigration reform.
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.
Kansas Catholic Bishops' Statement on In-State-Tuition
March 20, 2013
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
February 12, 2013
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)
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.
ABOUT THE JUSTICE FOR IMMIGRANTS CAMPAIGN: