The head of the U.S. Bishops Committee on Migration is urging Donald Trump to be welcoming to immigrants without sacrificing “our core values and security.”
In his statement, USCCB Migration Chairman Bishop Eusebio Elizondo offered Trump his support “for all efforts to work together to promote the common good, especially those to protect the most vulnerable among us.”
At the same time, Elizondo offered “a special word to migrant and refugee families living in the United States: be assured of our solidarity and continued accompaniment as you work for a better life.”
The bishop insisted especially on the need to protect “the integrity of the family” by not splitting up the family unit, stressing that the family is “the cornerstone of society.”
Elizondo said that that “behind every ‘statistic’ is a person who is a mother, father, son, daughter, sister or brother and has dignity as a child of God. We pray that as the new administration begins its role leading our country, it will recognize the contributions of refugees and immigrants to the overall prosperity and well-being of our nation.”
While working to promote humane policies that protect refugee and immigrants’ inherent dignity and keep families together, Elizondo said, it is also essential to “honor and respect the laws of this nation.”
In a recent press conference, Pope Francis underscored the difference between migrants and refugees, suggesting that they represent different problems. Immigration, he noted, ought to be “highly regulated.”
“Migrants should be treated according to certain rules, because migration is a right, but one which is highly regulated,” he said. “On the other hand, to be a refugee means coming from a terrible situation of war, anguish, hunger and the status of a refugee requires more care, more work.”
Pope Francis made allowances for European politicians who have completely closed their borders to immigrants, saying that politicians have a right to exercise prudence in such decisions.
“So what do I think of those who close their borders?” Francis asked. “I think that in theory no one should close their heart to a refugee, but those who govern must also exercise prudence. They should be very open to receiving them, but they should also calculate how they will be able to settle them, because a refugee must not only be welcomed, but also integrated.”
“And if a country is only able to integrate 20, let’s say, then it should only accept that many. If another can do more, let it do more,” he said.
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