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Immigration debate tests strength of American vision, Archbishop Gomez says

June 25, 2013

“Our national debate about immigration is a great struggle for the American spirit and the American soul,” Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles said in an address to the Catholic Media Conference in Denver.

Immigration reform is “the most pressing issue that we face in American public life,” the archbishop argued, saying that the current political debate will be a telling indication of the nation’s future. “How we respond to the challenge of illegal immigration will measure our national character and conscience in this generation,” he said.

Citing Chesterton’s remark that the United States is built on a vision of society, Archbishop Gomez said that the immigration debate forces questions as to whether Americans continue to welcome new arrivals and whether the society can assimilate new immigrants. “That’s what’s at stake in the immigration debate,” he said; “the future of the American dream.”


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  • Posted by: bruno - Jun. 25, 2013 8:36 PM ET USA

    While the archbishop might be overstating the importance of this issue, I think he has a point. There is a danger in oversimplifying our response to such a complex issue. As Christians, we have to welcome the refugee and the needy. Still, we need to, as a nation, be able to account for those traversing our borders. I tend to blame excessively restrictive quotas for much of the illegal border crossings. I'll stand shoulder to shoulder with St. Augustine, "If they are Christains, let them in!"

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Jun. 25, 2013 8:03 PM ET USA

    Bishop Gomez' vision is built on his idea of open borders. This is not about whether we welcome new arrivals. The U.S. welcomes more per capita than any other country. We welcome legal arrivals. With our present economy and a President bent on detroying it, to ask our society to assimilate 12 million and counting illegals is too much. This bill does nothing to stop illegal immigration due to all the exceptions and authority given to the Sec. of DHS.

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Jun. 25, 2013 6:03 PM ET USA

    I wish I could tell Archbishop Gomez that many Catholics make a valid distinction between the immigrants who come into our country in accordance with our laws, and those whose first act on our soil is to violate those laws. We welcome the former eagerly. We look on the latter with grave misgivings. It's the same distinction we make between the invited guest who comes in our front door, and the uninvited one who breaks in at the back.

  • Posted by: Defender - Jun. 25, 2013 1:37 PM ET USA

    "Immigration reform is 'the most pressing issue that we face in American public life'"? I think not, what about the huge numbers of unemployed (including those who have been without work for so long that the government doesn't count them anymore)? What have the bishops been doing (not just issuing statements) about jobs and job creation? Immigrants won't want to come if jobs don't exist. Tell me again, how much money does the USCCB (alone) receive each year and what does it really do with it?