Cardinal George today called for all to support comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform in a statement that served as the focal point of a press conference announcing a new campaign sponsored by Catholic religious.
Priests for Justice for Immigrants and Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants joined immigrant families and supporters at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago to unveil "Together as Brothers and Sisters."
Cardinal George in his statement urged the Catholic community and all people of faith and good will to unite in supporting the immigrant mothers, fathers, men, women and children among us.
"The discordant voices in today's society are many," Cardinal George writes. "Our voices of faith must rise above the crowd and speak out about the sanctity and dignity of the most vulnerable in our society. Our voices should echo the voice of Christ, our Shepherd, our Hope, our Peace. We are disciples of Jesus and must use the prophetic voice given us through baptism to address the injustices in our society."
Cardinal George underscored the call from "Together as Brothers and Sisters" for the following components in any new federal legislation:
- Provide a path to citizenship for undocumented persons in the country;
- Preserve family unity as a cornerstone of our national immigration system;
- Provide legal paths for low-skilled immigrant workers to come and work in the United States;
- Restore due process protections to our immigration enforcement policies; and
- Address the root causes (aka push factors) of migration, such as persecution and economic disparity.
Cardinal George stressed that reform can be put off no longer.
"Now is the time to fix a broken system, a system that for too long has divided and devastated families through massive deportations, subjected them to mistreatment and discrimination by employers and others, and cast a crippling pall of fear upon the immigrant community," he wrote.
"Together as Brothers and Sisters" and its upcoming activities are being coordinated by the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Immigrant Affairs & Immigration Education. "Like" the office's Facebook page to stay updated on events and activities.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is urging parishioners nationwide to send an electronic postcard urging immigration reform to their U.S. Senators and Representatives through its Justice for Immigrants website.