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Archbishop Chaput: Being pro-life means working for immigration reform

June 15, 2009

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“The Catholic commitment to the dignity of the immigrant comes from exactly the same roots as our commitment to the dignity of the unborn child,” Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver said at a recent forum devoted to immigration reform. “Any Catholic who truly understands his or her faith knows that the right to life precedes and creates the foundation for every other human right. There’s no getting around the priority of that fundamental right to life. But being ‘prolife’ also means that we need to make laws and social policies that will care for those people already born that no one else will defend.”

Archbishop Chaput continued:

In the United States today, we employ a permanent underclass of human beings who build our roads, pick our fruit, clean our hotel rooms, and landscape our lawns. Most of these men and women, like millions of immigrants before them, abide by our laws and simply want a better life for their families. Many have children who are American citizens, or who have been in America so long that they don’t know any other homeland. But they live in a legal limbo. They’re vital to our economy, but they have few legal protections, and thousands of families have been separated by arrests and deportations.

We need to remember that how we treat the weak, the infirm, the elderly, the unborn child and the foreigner reflects on our own humanity. We become what we do, for good or for evil. The Catholic Church respects the law, including immigration law. We respect those men and women who have the difficult job of enforcing it. We do not encourage or help anyone to break the law. We believe Americans have a right to solvent public institutions, secure borders and orderly regulation of immigration.

But we can’t ignore people in need, and we won’t be quiet about laws that don’t work-- or that, in their “working,” create impossible contradictions and suffering.

 


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