Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
The immigration debate has been raging on in our country for more than a year. In truth, the debate is decades old. As Catholics, our perspective has always been simple and non-partisan: to provide assistance to all those who seek refuge.
Currently, the most pressing issue relates to Dreamers, the 1.8 million young people who, through no fault of their own, were brought to the United States as children by their parents. They are much like Christ, whose family fled to Egypt with Him to escape persecution. For the majority, they know the United States as their only home.
These Dreamers have become woven into the fabric of our country and of our Church, and are, by every social and human measure, American. They are tax payers, contributors to our economy, veterans of our military, academic standouts in our universities, and leaders in our parishes. Yes, many of them call our Diocese and South Jersey home. They should not have to live their lives in constant fear of deportation. It is both our moral duty and in our nation’s best interests to protect Dreamers.
However, Congress has become deadlocked on what to do with these Dreamers. Because of that, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has asked us to phone our Congressional representatives on Monday, February 26th, to urge them to give Dreamers protection and a path to citizenship. A flyer is available in your parish bulletin and posted to the diocesan website where you will find the information you need, including the toll-free number to reach and share a message with our legislators. This is a time sensitive issue as those who currently possess limited legal protection will begin to see those protections expire on March 5.
The Catholic Church has long recognized the right of nations to secure their borders and control entry into their countries. At the same time, border security and interior immigration enforcement practices should be humane and proportionate; should make the country safer, but should not sacrifice the due process rights and human dignity of persons seeking protection.
The plight of these Dreamers is not a matter of politics, but a matter of human rights. Our actions should be an example of how we live our faith as Catholics.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend Dennis J. Sullivan, D.D
Bishop of Camden