Virginia's Catholic Bishops Say Illegal Immigrants Are Not 'Lawbreakers'

Having been cued by President Obama that his attention will now turn to immigration reform, some Catholic bishops are revving up their campaign to demand that Congress grant amnesty to at least 11 million illegal immigrants

In an op-ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch entitled “Who Is My Neighbor?” Virginia’s bishops criticized Americans who claim illegal immigrants are “lawbreakers.”

Bishops Francis DiLorenzo of Richmond and Paul Loverde of Arlington wrote, “Many regard the undocumented immigrants among us as lawbreakers, when instead we are all challenged to embrace them as fellow children of God, deserving of the same dignity that we ourselves enjoy.”

Unlike the model that welcomed our parents, grandparents or great-grandparents to these shores in the last century or before, current policy does not adequately or realistically address the need for visas. Living in this comparatively prosperous, peaceful nation, many Americans seem unaware of the desperate situations that lead people to enter or remain in the country illegally. Around the globe, people yearn for better lives, a chance to escape poverty, jobs to feed their families, reunion with their kin or life in a country free of war.

Arguing that “immigration reform will strengthen Virginia socially and economically,” the bishops claim that, regardless, a “path to citizenship” should be accomplished simply “because it is the right thing to do.”

As Breitbart News reported earlier in the month, Justice for Immigrants, the group that has run the campaign for amnesty for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), is associated with some member groups whose actions have not been aligned with Catholic doctrine in the areas of abortion and marriage.

In September, Justice for Immigrants ran a program entitled “Pilgrimages for Immigration Reform” in Virginia, during which at least in one Catholic parish--Blessed Sacrament in Harrisonburg--the priest held up postcards at the pulpit and urged parishioners to complete them and send them to their congressional representative, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, demanding that immigration reform be passed.

The organizer of the “pilgrimage” at Blessed Sacrament Church, Roxana Bendezu, was reported as admitting that, in her community in Virginia, “there are a lot of people who are unfortunately undocumented.”

Bendezu said “a pathway to citizenship” for illegal immigrants is the most pressing issue for the country, “even before securing the nation’s borders.”

Bendezu referred to attaining legal citizenship as only “a piece of paper.” 


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