Catholic Bishop discusses the morality of immigration reform

There is an uncomfortable dichotomy behind the political and economic reasons for immigration reform and moral immigration reform. Americans understand the importance of fixing the immigration system, but many feel more for the hardships these individuals-both documented and undocumented- face.  The influence these feelings backed by many Christian religious organizations can have on voters has the ability to sway the way Congress votes on immigration reform.

How Religion is influencing voters

For many conservative states and states with a predominantly religious population, while border security may be something the government advocates for, constituents believe the focus should be on protecting immigrants from being treated unjustly. According to an influential Roman Catholic Bishop, Joseph Tyson of Yakima, “Current U.S. immigration law is a “patchwork of contradictory and confusing law” that treats migrants, employers and many elements “unjustly” with “inconsistent enforcement.”  With employers using subjective judgment for workers employment eligibility I-9 forms without actually verifying legal status, the government in turn has the ability to be subjective about the employer’s decisions. The amount of discriminatory complaints has risen significantly within the past few years and continues to increase. “America risks losing its respect for truth because of the increasing disconnect between human law and right reason.”

Five principles that should be adopted

The path forward requires several changes in immigration reform, but these may be more beneficial by focusing on connecting with immigrants on a personal level rather than treating them as objects that need to be dealt with. (1) People everywhere should have the ability to find economic opportunity in their homeland no matter where they are from. (2) They should also have the right to migrate in order to support themselves and their families. These immigrant families do not want to rely on government aid, but they need to be provided with opportunities to be successful. (3) Nations should have the right to protect their borders. (4) Finally, undocumented immigrants should be treated as human beings with dignity and respect among all other things.

There are millions of people who lack legal status, but they should always be made welcome no matter where they decide to reside. It will be interesting to see whether the State of Missouri, which tends to have a more conservative and religious population compared to other states, decides to vote for legislators who treat immigrants as people rather than debating the political benefit that may result from voting a certain way.

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