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Bishop criticizes congressman over remarks on immigrants

Catholic World News - July 30, 2013

An Iowa bishop has criticized a local congressman for remarks made about young illegal immigrants.

Speaking on illegal immigration, Rep. Steve King, a Catholic, had told Newsmax that “for everyone who’s a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

“I am disappointed by Rep. King's remarks, which speak of migrants in a way that undermines their human dignity and the respect owed them as children of God,” Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City said in a statement quoted by the Sioux City Journal. “While Catholics may disagree on the specific approach to reforming the immigration system, they should agree that the immigration debate should be conducted in a civil and humane manner.”

“His Excellency and I have had a number of constructive conversations regarding the dignity of every human person,” King responded. “Nothing I said undermined the dignity of ‘migrants.’ I spoke exclusively of drug smugglers not migrants. It is my job and oath to uphold the integrity of our immigration laws and protect the rule of law. I oppose granting a path to citizenship to drug smugglers and said so.”

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Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Jul. 31, 2013 8:28 AM ET USA

    tusconjay, you hit the nail on the head. I too wish our prelates were as passionate about publicly chastising or God forbid excommunicating pro-abortion Catholic politicians as they were about immigration, the death penalty, welfare, etc.

  • Posted by: unum - Jul. 30, 2013 9:03 PM ET USA

    To teach as Jesus did ... or, to criticize as politicians do? The bishop should teach his flock or resign and run for office!

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jul. 30, 2013 10:16 AM ET USA

    King made a very bad choice of words, thus making what might have been a valid point instead an incitement to ignorant prejudice and blind hatred. That said, I see no reason any country should allow foreign criminals to operate on its territory nor to grant foreign nationals privileges denied its own citizens. The problem with many who advocate 'reform' is that they are blind to very serious problems plaguing immigration. King should have said so and left at that without the caricatures.

  • Posted by: tucsonjay6028 - Jul. 30, 2013 9:34 AM ET USA

    Would that more bishops were as quick to "correct" politicians who are unapologetically pro-abortion. Oh well. I can dream, can't I?

  • Posted by: bruno - Jul. 30, 2013 9:09 AM ET USA

    Ostensibly about drug running, the congressman's comments were in fact directed at immigrants. Who compares calves to cantaloupes unless they are trying to conjure the image of poor Mexican farmers? This is the kind of code-speak we can live without.

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