SCOTUS Immigration Ruling a ‘Huge Disappointment’ Say U.S. Catholic Bishops

In a strongly worded statement, the chairman of the Committee on Migration of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has denounced Thursday’s Supreme Court decision that blocked the Obama administration’s executive action to shield more than 4 million illegal immigrants from deportation, calling it a “huge disappointment.”

The USCCB Chairman, auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of the Archdiocese of Seattle, said that the Court’s decision means that “millions of families will continue to live in fear of deportation and without the immediate ability to improve their lives through education and good jobs.”

With a tie vote of 4 to 4, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court injunction blocking the administration’s immigration policy with the one-page opinion stating: “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided court.”

Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, similarly described the court’s decision as “a sad ruling.” He said that President Obama’s immigration plan had been “the result of years of painstaking work and committed efforts by migrant advocates, grassroots organizations, some legislators and the faith community.”

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court in United States v. Texas eliminates those protections, shatters hopes for over 4 million migrants now at risk of deportation, and injects unnecessary fear and anxiety of separation of families across the United States,” said Bishop Cantú in a joint written statement with Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), a Catholic, praised the Court ruling as a triumph for separation of powers, showing that the President “is not permitted to write laws.”

“Today, Article I of the Constitution was vindicated. The Supreme Court’s ruling makes the president’s executive action on immigration null and void,” Ryan said in a statement. “The Constitution is clear: The president is not permitted to write laws—only Congress is. This is another major victory in our fight to restore the separation of powers.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood, which he cannot find in his country of origin.”

At the same time, the Church does not endorse an open-borders approach to immigration, but affirms states’ sovereign rights to protect and secure their borders as well as the responsibility of migrants to obey the laws of their host nations.

The Catechism continues:

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

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