Immigration and US Catholic Bishops Statements

Article 5 in the series

Last week, we looked at what Catholic Social Teaching says about immigration, and this week we’ll look at a few statements from our US bishops on the issue. Please keep all immigrants and refugees in your prayers and contact Andrew Musgrave ( or 414-271-6577) with any questions.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops, in 2003, published a document – Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope – that guides the US Catholic Church’s response to policies affecting immigration; the principles mirror the teaching of the global Catholic Church. In addition, the document lists specific tenets that they argue must be included in every immigration policy:

  1. Global anti-poverty efforts: trade and economic considerations (among others) must be included, thereby addressing the forces that compel migrants to leave their homes.
  2. Broad-based legalization: all undocumented persons of any nationality should be given the opportunity to earn permanent residency and eventually citizenship.
  3. Temporary worker program: guarantees that wage levels and benefits are consistent, protects basic rights allowing for job flexibility and portability, permits people to bring spouses and children to join them, calls for a good-faith effort by companies to hire U.S. workers and incorporates enforcement of worker protections and more.
  4. Expanded opportunities to reunify families: families are the core of our society and culture and thus reunification must be the cornerstone of any US immigration policy.
  5. Restoration of Due Process: migrants must be treated fairly and justly, and it must be guaranteed that the persecuted are not forced back into the arms of their persecutors.
  6. Targeted, Proportional and Humane Enforcement: focus on those with criminal intent, do not impose unnecessary penalties, do not funnel migrants into the desert and respect the dignity of all.