Why does division exist regarding immigration within our Catholic community? It’s because of a lack of understanding of Scripture and Catholic social teaching.

We are not to mistreat aliens, but treat them equally.  We are to love them as ourselves (Lv 19:33-34). Jesus instructed us to “welcome the stranger” and by doing so we welcome him (Mt 25:35). 

Catholic social teaching states, “The dignity of the human person is the foundation of all the other principles and content of the Church’s social doctrine.” Dignity is afforded everyone — citizen, immigrant and refugee alike.

Immigration is addressed by applying three core principles. First, people have the right to migrate to sustain their lives and the lives of their families. Second, countries have the right to regulate their borders and control immigration. Third, that regulation must be applied with justice and mercy. By applying all three, human dignity is upheld and achievement of the common good is possible.

Immigration enforcement is also addressed by three principles. First, enforcement should focus on the dangerous and criminal elements. It should not rely on racial or ethnic profiling. Second, civil enforcement of immigration laws should remain in the hands of the federal government not be transferred further to local or state law enforcement authorities whose role is maintaining public safety and fighting crime. Third, enforcement should protect the human rights and dignity of the person.

As Archbishop Sample has said, “It does not matter to me from where you have come, when you came, or whether you have the proper documents or not. You are loved!” 

Let us move to together in dialogue based upon truth and love.

John Kingery

Beaverton