Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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by Sister Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican


In recent years, several groups and individuals are wondering “Where is comprehensive immigration reform going?  What is holding it back and blocking its progress? In April 2011, President Obama again pledged his support for the ongoing effort and promised to do all he can to make it a reality as soon as possible. When he pledged his support in the past, many other urgent issues such as natural disasters, three ongoing wars and other political issues diverted attention from the immigration issue. Meanwhile we need to pursue the cause with a passion and conviction that change is possible and that something can and must be done to make it a reality.


Some needed action toward this end includes:

·      Broadening of our assessment of the issue. It is more than a safe border issue, jobs being lost because of cheaper labor, and surely not a partisan politics issue. IT is a moral issue.


·      We need to clear up the misinformation about immigrants. They are not all criminals. Most are decent human beings seeking a means to support themselves and their families.


·      It should not become a partisan politics issue. We need agreement on where and how to secure our borders.


·      We know we have a broken system, families are torn apart, and jails are often full of undocumented.  We need to keep families together in whatever system is chosen to solve the problem.

Compassion and justice must be the basis of our search for comprehensive reform. To do this we need to listen with compassion to some of the families involved, and become allies of people on the move. We need to honor the sacredness of human life and work to protect the most vulnerable in our midst.


It is also an occasion to examine our White power and privilege and see how that hinders progress toward our goal. We need to name and face our own vulnerabilities as we struggle with this issue.


We can also work with employers who in the past have used this population to meet their needs. Do we rely on cheap labor to keep our economy going?  Do we also use them to clean our homes and offices and do other similar work.


The faith communities are needed to bring some hope and some sanity to this effort. Cynicism will not solve the problem. We need to hold out hope that some significant change can be made. We can also be available to provide information to families in our area. May of them live in fear and don’t know where to turn. Let us continue our efforts with courage, conviction and hope.


The US bishops have sent helpful information on “Justice for Immigrants: a journey of hope”   They recommend the following:

1.    Persons have the right to find opportunities in their homeland.

2.    Persons have the right to migrate to support themselves and their families.

3.    Sovereign nations have a right to control their borders.

4.    Refugees and asylum seekers should be afforded protection.

5.    The human rights and the human dignity of the undocumented migrants should be respected.


Let us continue our effort with courage, conviction and hope. .

(A good resource – National Immigration Forum (


Justice Preaching Archive

Just click on a title below to read the article.
- The latest titles are listed first. -

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• Care For the Environment •
• Care for the Earth •
• Caritas in Veritate •
• The Challenge of Discipleship •
• Comprehensive Immigration Reform •
• The Death Penalty Revisited •
• What Is Ecological Economics •
• Eliminating Global Poverty •
• Global Warming... Calling for an Urgent and Ethical Response •
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• War Is Not the Answer •
• Witnesses To Hope •

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