LA Archbishop calls for compromise and compassion in Senate immigration debate

Washington D.C., Feb 13, 2018 / 03:35 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- As the US Senate begins a debate on immigration, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles said that “Dreamers” should not be used as “bargaining chips” in the political process.

In a column published in Angelus, the archbishop wrote that although he’s “encouraged” the government is considering a path to citizenship for nearly 2 million undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, he thinks their future should not be “tied to broader, more complicated questions about how to fix our broken immigration system.”

“To me, it would be unconscionable to allow this moment to pass and risk the humanitarian nightmare of more than a million young people being deported and their families broken up. There is no political goal that could justify such an outcome,” Gomez wrote.

The Senate will debate several immigration reform proposals this week.

The plan supported by the Trump Administration ties funding for increased border security–including the construction of a wall–to the creation of a path for citizenship for “Dreamers,” as well as the elimination of the diversity visa lottery and restrictions on family-sponsored migration, commonly known as “chain migration.”

A bipartisan proposal offered last week does not include funding for a border wall, but would increase border security in other ways while creating a path to citizenship for “Dreamers.”

In his column, Archbishop Gomez called the current immigration system in the United States “broken,” and suggested three areas “essential to fixing our broken system:” securing the border, modernizing the visa process, and creating a way for the undocumented people living in the country to obtain legal status.

“I hope that members of Congress and advocates are willing to at least engage this plan in a spirit of seeking compromise and trying to extend compassion to those who have come here seeking a better life,” said Gomez.

The archbishop himself is an immigrant to the United States, having been born in Mexico and becoming a US citizen in 1995.

Gomez accused both major political parties of trying to exploit the immigration issue, and said that the only thing this has accomplished is “further dividing our nation and polarizing our politics.”

The archbishop offered a mixed review of President Donald Trump’s immigration proposal, saying that while he’s “encouraged” about a path for “Dreamers” to citizenship, “I disagree with the the area of visa reform.”

The Trump Administration’s proposal would limit family-sponsored migration to the spouse and minor children of an immigrant, and would not include grandparents, cousins, or any other relatives.

“Family-based immigration has served our country beautifully. Immigrant families have built vibrant neighborhoods, churches and civic institutions in every part of America.” Gomez wrote.

He continued, “(…)Family means more than just mother and father and sister and brother. It also means grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins.”

Gomez also argued that the United States shouldn’t shift to a singularly merit-based system, as the country needs a “realistic” system that allows in both skilled and unskilled workers.

“We have never had an immigration policy that only looks at people for the skills they have to offer or the economic contributions they can make,” he added.

The debate on immigration is scheduled to last for a week, and both sides of the aisle are scrambling to come up with a proposal that will garner the necessary 60 votes in order to pass the Senate. That proposal will then go to the House of Representatives and on to President Trump.

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  1. When illegal aliens came here they broke up their families. If we deport them those families are put back together. I call that a win-win not unconscionable. I reject you argument that family breakup is a one way street. What works in one direction works in the other. The family dislocation from deportation is the mirror image of the family dislocation of illegal entry. You are ok with one but not the other. That seems unfair to American citizens.

  2. Why doesn’t this Bishop want dreamers to return to Latin America and fix that dysfunctional area of it which is the north of it. Has the Bishop noticed that wherever Spain went including Phillipines, there is poverty unless countries imported many Europeans like Argentina and Chile. We need immigrants from Japan but they won’t come…..because they have a murder rate lower than 98% of Catholic countries….and about 14 times lower than that of the United States….point 33 per 100k versus 4.7 per 100,000. When will Bishop Gomez insist on more Japanese coming here so they can elevate our culture and couth and garden aesthetics and ceramic expertise and car making precision. When will he insist on Japanese illegals?

  3. Why -never any criticism of the conditions that prevail in countries that people want to escape from? Honestly, it just doesn’t make sense.

  4. As spiritual fathers, i would prefer that our bishops would focus more on the spiritual well being of Gods flock than their material well being. This applies to His sheep of the middle east as well. Yes, there is great suffering and sacrifice in most nations outside our own. But their greater danger lies in the spiritual warfare they will encouter once here; free artificial contraception, abortion, gay marriage etc, all accepted immoral evils that destroy ones soul. Our once great nation has fallen into moral decadence. God will assuridly place the majority of culpability on the silence of His Apostles successors; todays Bishops!

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