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Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Thursday, September 21, 2017

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9/3/2016 3:14:00 PM
On immigration, we should follow Catholic bishops
CNS photo/Victor Aleman, Vida Nueva
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles blesses a girl during a special Mass celebrated July 17 in recognition of all immigrants at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.
CNS photo/Victor Aleman, Vida Nueva
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles blesses a girl during a special Mass celebrated July 17 in recognition of all immigrants at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.

Regarding “Report details immigrants’ economic contributions,” (Aug. 19, page 12):

The Partnership for the New American Economy and its objectives sound good. But as an agent of Archbishop Alexander Sample, I looked further into the organization before my office could consider supporting its efforts. What I found were some inconsistencies with the principles of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

• NAE wants to secure our borders and prevent illegal immigration through tougher enforcement and better use of technology. The USCCB is clear that any enforcement measures must be targeted, proportional and humane. Also, when persons cannot find employment in their country of origin to support themselves and their families, they have a right to find work elsewhere in order to survive.

• NAE wants to develop a simple and secure system for employers to verify employment eligibility and hold businesses that are not compliant, or abuse visa programs, accountable for their actions.

The USCCB states that we need to fix our broken immigration system, not make it worse by mandating an enforcement-only program that fails to meet its stated goal of detecting unauthorized workers and instead hurts American workers and over-burdens their employers.

• NAE wants to establish a path to legal status for the undocumented currently living in the United States with requirements such as registering with the federal government and learning English.

The USCCB is clear that, while a path to legal status can take many forms, when the path includes immigrants applying for the intermediate step of lawful permanent residence, it opposes requiring English mastery. USCCB also opposes requiring applicants for legal status to pay for English classes, considering the expenses they will already have incurred for paying fees and penalties.  

There are a handful of principles where NAE and USCCB agree, but because of the principles where they disagree, the office supports the USCCB.

Matt Cato
Office of Life, Justice & Peace
Campaign for Human Development
Archdiocese of Portland







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