Washington, (CNA) – The Church must continue to push for immigration reform and to address the root causes that make people migrate to the United States, the head of the US bishops’ migration committee said Friday.
Bishop Mario Dorsonville, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, was presenting at the Virtual Assembly of the USCCB, in the final presentation of the June 18 public session.
“The present administration has identified immigration reform as a priority, and we hope he fulfills that commitment through bipartisan Congressional engagement,” he said.
Bishop Dorsonville noted that several bills have been passed since March, but that there was more work to be done.
“As a Church we recognize the inherent God-given dignity of every human person, regardless of immigration status, therefore we will continue to call for comprehensive immigration reform, consistent with the common good that preserves family unity, honors due process, respects the rule of law, recognizes the contribution of foreign-born workers, defends the vulnerable, and addresses the root causes of migration,” he said.
Bishop Dorsonville identified the root causes of migration as violence, corruption, a lack of opportunity, and climate change, among many other things.
“After this pandemic, today, more than ever, the Church becomes a Church of mercy,” said Bishop Dorsonville. “Let us see how we are continue to move from indifference to solidarity, guided by the words of our Holy Father Pope Francis in Fratelli tutti, where he exhorts us to be brothers and sisters, who bring a sense of love, faith, and hope, especially the presence of Jesus Christ, in the lives of those who most need it.”
He said that working alongside other organizations, including Catholic Charities and other nonprofits, would be able to make a “real immediate impact” in the United States.
“As we welcome the immigrants, we become a country with borders that have to be open,” he said. But merely opening borders, he said, would not fix the problem, and he urged the United States to “become an example for others to follow.”
“The government, the civil society, the Church in developed countries have a major role to play in this process,” he said.
“I know many of us have had the opportunity to see the suffering face of Jesus Christ in the life of the immigrants,” he said, noting that many of his brother bishops have visited detention centers and celebrated Masses for the detained immigrant population.
“We know that with the drama and the process they have to endure, and the heavy loads they have to carry out,” he said.
The Washington auxiliary bishop called for the other bishops to work harder to change immigration laws and policies.
“With this, I exhort you to continue to call the people who have the power in your churches to change the law,” said Bishop Dorsonville. “To pray for them, and especially, to be available to them.”
“I really think that this is a Christian initiative, where we have to continue to be open to respond to the human drama that is in front of each of us.”