Catholic World News

Archbishop opposes deportation of illegal immigrants convicted of crime

January 31, 2012

Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco has staked out his opposition to a US government program that the deportation of illegal immigrants who have been convicted of crimes.

“We cannot allow the pain of family separation and the fear amongst our communities to continue,” the archbishop told participants in a meeting held at the cathedral of St. Mary. In a sympathetic report on the meeting, L’Osservatore Romano made the unsupported observation: “Actually in many cases the police force stop immigrants on the basis of general suspicion without any reasons concerning public order.”

Immigration officials report that 110,000 convicted criminals have been deported under the program that Archbishop Niederauer opposes. Although critics of the program complain that it allows for summary deportation of illegal immigrants who are convicted of minor offenses, the statistics show that 39,000 of those deported were convicted of felonies.

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  • Posted by: unum - Feb. 01, 2012 10:09 AM ET USA

    Unfortunately, this is what passes for leadership in the American Catholic Church. The bishop's position contradicts Church teaching about the role of civil authorities, and the recommendation to let criminals run loose flies in the face of common sense. We still don't know who selects our leaders, but it is obvious that knowledgeable laity have no real voice in the selection process.

  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Feb. 01, 2012 8:07 AM ET USA

    Archbishop Niederaurer, what part of the words "convicted" and "illegal" don't you understand? I understand your concern if the illegal alien hadn't been convicted of a crime, yes keep families together and reform the system. However, once they commit crimes on top of being here illegally (a violation of administrative vs criminal law), deport them!

  • Posted by: Defender - Feb. 01, 2012 2:33 AM ET USA

    The archbishop can't even run his archdiocese and he wants to open illegal (versus legal) immigration to all, including felons? L'Osservatore Romano makes itself look foolish, as well, as it jumps into the fray - it would do well to return to a few years ago and comment when it had all the facts and maybe an American or two to explain things to the writers. Come to think of it, the archbishop could learn by doing the same.

  • Posted by: imanxufan9901 - Jan. 31, 2012 10:21 PM ET USA

    Is this a joke? What doesn't he understand about ILLEGAL?

  • Posted by: garedawg - Jan. 31, 2012 9:52 PM ET USA

    I guess if you don't want to be separated from your family, don't commit crimes.