In a statement last Friday in the New York Times, the top aide on immigration for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said that executive amnesty is President Barack Obama’s “last chance to make good on his promise to fix the system.”
Kevin Appleby, the director of migration policy at the Department of Migration and Refugee Services for the USCCB warned, “If he delays again, the immigration activists would – just politically speaking – jump the White House fence.”
In an op-ed last year for Religion News Service, Appleby blurred the lines between legal and illegal immigration when he wrote:
With each successive wave, the bishops defended the rights of newly arrived immigrants, arguing against nativist organizations that immigrants by and large added to the strength of our country by bringing unique skills, perspectives and traditionsÂ [sic] to our shores. These new arrivals, the bishops held, enriched our culture and way of life. Clearly they were right.
The same debates are playing out today, as immigrants from Latin America, Asia and Africa — the majority of them Catholic — are becoming part of U.S. society. And again, the Catholic Church stands in the forefront of defending their rights and dignity.
Casting blame on the United States for the fact that immigrants have come to the country illegally, Appleby wrote, “The U.S. has drawn them with a magnet of jobs and the opportunity to earn 10 times more in a day than in their native lands.”
Appleby portrayed illegal immigrants as “the future leaders of our communities, parishes and nation,” and criticized the U.S. for “alienating them and squandering their potential” and “shaking their faith in God.”
Speaking about Appleby and his role in the USCCB organization, an anonymous Catholic academic told Mark Stricherz writing at Aleteia, “From my perspective, he has been absolutely instrumental in conveying the Church’s position in a major policy debate that has been roiling the nation for a long time.”
“Appleby’s expertise is lobbying and translating the bishops’ prerogatives into concrete policy recommendations on immigration reform,” the Aleteia source said. “He’s not setting the policy himself… but mediating between the discourse and values of the bishops, and a political culture that’s grown less receptive to Catholic moral guidance.”
Some Catholic bishops have made last-minute efforts to urge Obama to follow through with his promise to use an executive order to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants in the United States.
As Breitbart News reported Friday, Arizona Bishop Gerald Kicanas, also urged President Obama to use executive action to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.
Similarly, Seattle Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, chairman of the USCCB migration committee, told Religion News Service that the electoral gains made by conservative Republican in the midterm election would likely further block amnesty efforts.
“[I]t would be derelict not to support administrative actions… which would provide immigrants and their families legal protection,” Elizondo said, adding that Republicans “might block any kind of initiative that the president might be taking.”