Archbishop Gomez: Those with irregular immigration status 'do not cease to be our brothers and sisters.'

Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez issued the following statement today on the Supreme Court decision to review Texas v. the United States of America:

I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to take up the case of Texas v. United States of America.


I cannot speak to the constitutional questions in this case. I speak as a pastor. And as a pastor, I know that the situation is unjust and intolerable for millions of people who are forced to live in the shadows of our great country. Every day in our parishes and schools and neighborhoods, we see the rising human toll of our failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform, especially on families and children.

Nationwide, more than two million undocumented persons have been deported in the last eight years alone, including thousands who are mothers or fathers forced to leave behind their spouses and children. Millions more are living in constant fear that they too might be rounded up for deportation, that one day without warning they won’t be coming home for dinner and may never see their families again.

The executive actions at issue in this case are temporary and they are no substitute for the comprehensive immigration reform our country needs. But these actions would be a measure of mercy, providing peace of mind to nearly nine million people, including 4.5 million children.

People do not cease to be our brothers and sisters because they have an irregular immigration status. No matter how they got here, no matter how frustrated we are with our government, we cannot lose sight of their humanity — without losing our own.

Until lawmakers in Washington can find the humility and courage to set aside differences and seek a common solution, the Supreme Court may be our last best hope to restore humanity to our immigration policy.

Texas v. the United States of America is a lawsuit filed by the Texas Attorney General on behalf of 26 states challenging President Obama’s right to expand immigration programs to allow millions of undocumented individuals to remain in the United States and apply for a temporary work permit. In February 2015, Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Brownsville Division issued an injunction against President Obama's executive action, delaying their implementation throughout the country; in May that decision was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
J Cabaniss
2 years 9 months ago
We have become so accustomed to our bishops taking sides on political issues that their involvement in the issue-du-jour no longer raises a concern. That is unfortunate. There are several things objectionable about Bishop Gomez's comments, but I will address only two. In asserting that "I speak as a pastor" he is clearly implying that those who oppose his position are not merely taking an incorrect position, but one that is less than moral as well. He is setting up a moral distinction between his position and whoever opposes it. I cannot think of a more harmful way to frame the debate. In fact this precludes the possibility of a debate: how does one compromise with that which is immmoral? This distinguishes not between concepts, but between people, not between what approach will achieve the best overall result, but between those who are concerned, and those who - at best - don't care. The second concern is equally grave. After conceding that "I cannot speak to the constitutional questions in this case." he concludes by asserting "the Supreme Court may be our last best hope to restore humanity to our immigration policy." That is to say, he is indifferent to what the Constitutional issues are, he is only concerned that their ruling supports his position. To cede to the courts the right to decide matters of policy is to abandon the Constitution altogether. It says that what is important is implementing one's policies, and how that is accomplished is not the primary concern. I'm sure many will find this overly harsh, and I'm sure the bishop himself doesn't think this way. The conclusions, however, do seem to follow from what he himself has said. He should have been more circumspect.
Robert Hugelmeyer
2 years 9 months ago
Well said and with respect. The Bishop's Pastor reference allows him to focus on providing care and ignore the high probability of allowing terrorists to enter the country by posing as an immigrant.
Robert Hugelmeyer
2 years 9 months ago
Must be clearly vetted and found not to be connected to ISIS terrorism which at this point not possible. Therefor, pause from allowing anyone from Syria with the exception of vetted women and their children.
Vincent Gaglione
2 years 9 months ago

Finally, a clear statement from a Bishop of a large and significant Catholic diocese in the United States speaking out strongly on the moral dimension of the irrational fears and bigotry currently being purveyed in this country against undocumented immigrants and refugees from violence and terror. Why isn't it a joint statement from every Bishop in the United States? Both the Old and New Testaments speak clearly to our obligations to the stranger, to the poor, to the dispossessed. Those obligations are not conditional on our self-interests. That's what makes "Christians" Christians. The "Christian right" has been turned into a misnomer.

Henry George
2 years 9 months ago
If the 1 % would share some of their Billions we might not have this disaster in Immigration. However, they won't and they expect the rest of us to pick up the bill. Is it fair and just that a local community has to pick up the cost of caring for migrants who suddenly move into their community or are moved into their community by the Federal Government ? You know and I know that 10,000 migrants will not suddenly show up in Georgetown, or Dupont Circle, or Brentwood, of Pacific Heights or the Upper East or West Side...perhaps America House would like to take in 500 migrants this they will show up in rural communities and inner cities - the very places that can least afford to help them. Perhaps the Federal government will help out, perhaps it will not, but in the long run the poorest people in America will be expected to foot the bill and face the social consequences. Is it justice that the elite, to ease their consciences, expect the poorest in this country to bear the brunt of their "legal charity". We need massive Migrant Reform, Federal Funding of any education deemed required by the Supreme Court, Federal Funding of Medical needs and housing needs and all those funds should come from the Elites who open the doors to this country to the poorest of the poor - only so they can have: Nannies, Gardeners, Maids, Drivers who are not poor Americans - but rarely their hearts and never their pocketbooks.
John Walton
2 years 9 months ago
Why not fix the problem at its origin. Expand economic opportunity.


The latest from america

 10.17.2018 Pope Francis greets Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago before a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 16. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
“We take people where they are, walking with them, moving forward,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 20, 2018
Catherine Pakaluk, who currently teaches at the Catholic University of America and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, describes her tweet to Mr. Macron as “spirited” and “playful.”
Emma Winters October 19, 2018
A new proposal from the Department of Homeland Security could make it much more difficult for legal immigrants to get green cards in the United States. But even before its implementation, the proposal has led immigrants to avoid receiving public benefits.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 19, 2018
 Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, then nuncio to the United States, and then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, are seen in a combination photo during the beatification Mass of Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J., Oct. 4, 2014. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
In this third letter Archbishop Viganò no longer insists, as he did so forcefully in his first letter, that the restrictions that he claimed Benedict XVI had imposed on Archbishop McCarrick—one he alleges that Pope Francis later lifted—can be understood as “sanctions.”
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 19, 2018