“You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Exodus 22:21
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says that the nations will be judged, among other things, on how they welcome the strangers in their midst. “Come, O blessed of my father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you before the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matt 25:34-35
Christ spoke plainly: a nation’s failure to welcome the strangers in its midst separates that nation from God’s loving plan.
B - Strangers No Longer, the USCCB Position on Immigration
In Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope, the U.S. Catholic Bishops (USCCB) oppose "enforcement only" immigration policies and support a comprehensive immigration reform that includes the following elements:
1. Earned Legalization: An earned legalization program would allow foreign nationals of good moral character who are living in the United States to apply to adjust their status to obtain lawful permanent residence. Such a program would create an eventual path to citizenship, requiring applicants to complete and pass background checks, pay a fine, and establish eligibility for resident status to participate in the program. Such a program would help stabilize the workforce, promote family unity, and bring a large population "out of the shadows," as members of their communities.
2. Future Worker Program: A worker program to permit foreign‐born workers to enter the country safely and legally would help reduce illegal immigration and the loss of life in the American desert. Any program should include workplace protections, living wage levels, safeguards against the displacement of U.S. workers, and family unity.
3. Family‐based Immigration Reform: It currently takes years for family members to reunite through the family‐based legal immigration system. This leads to family breakdown and, in some cases, illegal immigration. Changes in family‐based immigration should be made to increase the number of family visas available and reduce family reunification waiting times.
4. Restoration of Due Process Rights: Restoration of the due process rights taken away by the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), such as the three and the ten year bars to reentry.
5. Addressing Root Causes: Congress should examine the root causes of migration, such as under‐development and poverty in countries of origin, and seek long‐term solutions. The antidote to the problem of illegal immigration is sustainable economic development in those countries. In an ideal world, migration would be a choice, not a necessity.
6. Enforcement: The U.S. Catholic Bishops accept the legitimate role of the U.S. government in intercepting unauthorized migrants who attempt to travel to the United States. The Bishops also believe that by increasing lawful means for migrants to enter, live, and work in the United States, law enforcement will be better able to focus upon those who truly threaten public safety: drug and human traffickers, smugglers, and would‐be terrorists. Any enforcement measures must be targeted, proportional, and humane
What would have happened to the Holy Family in their flight to Egypt… if there was a border fence?