Catholic World News

Bishop Slattery calls for secure borders, immigration reform

May 07, 2010

As Oklahoma legislators ponder legislation on immigration, Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa has issued a statement calling for secure borders and immigration reform.

“It is the clear teaching of the Catholic Church that sovereign nations have the right to control their borders; but the corollary of this teaching must also be upheld: when our nation’s demand for labor attracts a massive number of potential immigrants, the United States must do what it can to establish an orderly process whereby needed workers can enter the country in a legal, safe and dignified manner to obtain jobs or to reunite themselves with family members,” Bishop Slattery said in his statement.

He continued:

However in recent years, the federal government has neither protected the sovereignty of our borders, nor has it provided a realistic means for workers to enter the country legally. Instead it has allowed millions of immigrants to enter the country illegally for the sake of our economy; while leaving it to state and local governments to deal with the resultant chaos of millions of valuable workers who have no legal identity, no automobile insurance (and are unable to obtain it), no health coverage (with no funds to pay for it) and no means of acquiring legal residency …

Without detailing the deficiencies either of the new law in Arizona or of the proposed legislation in Oklahoma, let me propose five principles which might serve to guide our work in implementing comprehensive immigration reform:

  • First the Federal government must find a way to protect its borders;
  • Some way must be found to give the 11-12 million undocumented workers presently in the country some form of legal status. This need not include citizenship and should exclude anyone convicted of a felony;
  • The creation of various avenues for migrants to enter the country legally based on a formalized agreement between employers and the immigration office.
  • The restoration of due process protections for immigrants; and
  • A bi-partisan, non-political approach to the problem which avoids the political temptation of promoting immigration reform in such a way as to gain political advantage over one’s political opponents.
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    Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
    • Posted by: ltluca7192 - May. 07, 2010 8:28 PM ET USA

      It's finally time a Churchman agrees that immigration reform is necessary and not to legalize everyone. Illegal means illegal, not exactly law-abiding. Every illegal that is criminal should be deported and the honest illegal, who really wants to become a citizen, should have the opportunity after 5 years of being scrupulously clean and honest.,

    • Posted by: wtchurch5213 - May. 07, 2010 7:49 PM ET USA

      A reasonable, well presented framework for a solution to the problem. Thank you, Bishop Slattery.

    • Posted by: extremeCatholic - May. 07, 2010 7:18 PM ET USA

      I once asked a bishop a question he wasn't quite prepared for, and for which he had no answer. It was "We know which laws against illegal residency you don't support but are there _any_ immigration laws now on the books you can support?" And in particular, he also was opposed to deporting convicted felons.

    • Posted by: jeremiahjj - May. 07, 2010 6:50 PM ET USA

      The bishops in Colorado should consult more often with Oklahama's Bishop Slattery. Tulsa is only a day's drive from Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Denver. Perhaps the mountain bishops could travel together and hear each other's confessions along the way.