Bishops Seek End to Immigration Enforcement Raids

Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, September 10, 2008

If federal immigration officials cannot create more “humane” conditions when making enforcement raids against undocumented immigrants, then “these enforcement raids should be abandoned,” said Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration.

The raids, conducted by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security, “reveal, sadly, the failure of a seriously flawed immigration system,” Bishop Wester said at a Sept. 10 press conference at the bishops’ headquarters in Washington.

“The humanitarian costs of these raids are immeasurable and unacceptable in a civilized society,” he added. “Our current policies do little to solve the problem of illegal immigration to this country—they simply appear to do so, often at the cost of family integrity and human dignity.”

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“Many Latino families are of mixed legal status and are fearful of being torn apart,” said Bishop James A. Tamayo of Laredo, Texas, who also was at the press conference. “As families are destroyed, so are their communities.”

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The press conference by the bishops came one day after Bishop Wester said the U.S. Catholic Church would join an interfaith effort to change U.S. immigration law. To prepare for that effort in the next Congress, it also would join the Tour of the Faithful, an educational effort during September and October to convince people of faith to support changes in U.S. immigration policy.

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