Bishops Cantú, Elizondo, and Seitz on Supreme Court Immigration Ruling

Here is the statement on United States v. Texas from Hope Border Institute, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso:

In November 2014, when President Obama announced new actions to stave off deportation for an expanded group of migrants who came to this country as children and their parents, he recalled Scripture, which “tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger – we were strangers once, too.”

Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court in United States v. Texas eliminates those protections, shatters hopes for over 4 million migrants now at risk of deportation, and injects unnecessary fear and anxiety of separation of families across the United States.

President Obama’s announcement of DAPA and expanded DACA was the result of years of painstaking work and committed efforts by migrant advocates, grassroots organizations, some legislators and the faith community. The scandal of a broken system that criminalizes and scapegoats immigrants who fight for a better life for their children and families that contribute every day to our economy and communities is laid bare once again by the decision of the Supreme Court.

When Pope Francis visited our country and addressed Congress, he reminded lawmakers that “when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and errors of the past.” Today’s sad ruling reinforces our commitment to work for truly comprehensive, permanent immigration reform. We call on Congress to do the same.

Millennial writer Bethany Welch shared her thoughts:

“[The SCOTUS deadlock] points to a partisan divide that ignores families most in need of mercy and a reprieve from the threat of deportation,” said Bethany Welch, director of the Aquinas Center in South Philly. “Just this week, as a community of faith, the people of St. Thomas Aquinas bore witness to three stories of migrants and refugees whose lives have been transformed by mercy. One young man, who fled Indonesia because of violent discrimination he experienced as a deaf child, described how DACA has allowed him to live a full life here with his mother and brother, even after his father was deported.

As Catholics, we have stood together to tell our elected officials that we need policies that unify families and prioritize safety for the vulnerable,” Welch added. “We will not be dissuaded by this roadblock. We will continue to advocate for just policies and live with conviction the charge in sacred scripture to welcome the immigrant and the stranger.”

Finally, here is the statement of Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, chairman of the Committee on Migration of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

For over fifty years, USCCB Migration & Refugee Services has helped create a world where immigrants, migrants, refugees, and people on the move are treated with dignity, respect, welcome, and belonging. For over fifty years, Migration & Refugee Services has welcomed the newcomer —the immigrant—to this great country and helped them get on their feet, facilitating access to education, healthcare, language assistance, employment, and much more.

The Court’s decision today does not change that.

That said, the decision is a huge disappointment; it means millions of families will continue to live in fear of deportation and without the immediate ability to improve their lives through education and good jobs. However, in the wake of this opinion, we must also focus on the bigger picture: comprehensive immigration reform is necessary to fix our broken system. We need to bring people out of the shadows. We should not separate families. While today’s decision is a setback, we must not lose hope that reform is possible. It is both necessary and possible to safeguard our immigration system in a humane manner.

People do not cease to be our brothers and sisters just because they have an irregular immigration status. No matter how they got here, we cannot lose sight of their humanity — without losing our own. Let us pray for all of our immigrant brothers and sisters today.