Statewide Immigration Sunday Minnesota is being held again on the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord, which is Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. This year’s observance is significant considering that 2013 may be one of the best opportunities for comprehensive immigration reform in more than a decade.
In 2009, the bishops of Minnesota inaugurated Immigration Sunday to encourage Catholics to reflect on our responsibility to welcome migrants and undocumented workers into our communities, and to educate ourselves about enacting comprehensive reform of our nation’s immigration laws that protects human dignity and the well-being of immigrant families.
In other words, we are presented with a two-fold challenge of faith and action: to first better recognize that “the reality of human solidarity, which is a benefit for us, also imposes a duty” (“Caritas in Veritate,” 43); and then, to ask ourselves how we, as individuals called to faithful citizenship, can be part of fixing this country’s broken immigration system in 2013.
2013 immigration reform
While solidarity with immigrants begins through spiritual communion, it is manifested by our public actions — from charitable services to public advocacy. And, the nation’s bishops are hopeful that comprehensive immigration reform could move forward in 2013.
In light of the significant bipartisan support for immigration reform emerging after this past election season, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, Archbishop José Gomez, issued a statement calling for the newly elected Congress to enact bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform. For this to happen, Catholics will need to make our voices heard on this issue.
As one commentator recently described it, the current U.S. immigration system is a “Frankenstein” of intervening fixes that are “internally inconsistent, impractical to administer and impossible to navigate rules” that hurt employers, workers, and families, here and abroad.
The Church’s public advocacy typically involves articulating the principles upon which sound public policy is based. In some instances, the Church will advocate for particular pieces of legislation or work to enact legislation with certain key elements. The bishops believe any comprehensive immigration reform package should recognize these principles:
- Persons have the right to seek economic opportunities in their homeland; conditions ought to be such that persons can work and support their families in dignity and safety;
- Persons have the right to migrate to support themselves and their families when they are unable to find work and therefore are unable to support their families at home;
- Sovereign nations have a right to protect and control their borders for the common good;
- Refugees and asylum seekers should be afforded protection; and
- The human rights and human dignity of all persons, including undocumented immigrants, should be respected.
We encourage you to read or re-read the full immigration statement from the bishops of Minnesota to better understand the Church’s teaching on immigration. It can be found on the mncc.org “Immigration Sunday MN” webpage.
Then, join MCC’s Catholic Advocacy Network (mncc.org) for updates on how to take action. It is vital that we communicate to our congressional representatives that comprehensive immigration reform is needed immediately.