Take the Immigration Quiz

Question:  Why would someone travel hundreds of miles over parched deserts, leave their homeland and family, risk their lives at the hands of bandits, rapists and border guards, sneak into a country illegally to live under constant threat of deportation… only to earn less than minimum wage under hazardous work conditions? 

Immigration can be complicated, but the answer to this question is surprisingly simple.  There is only one reason why someone would do this.  The answer:  Because the alternative is worse.

Illegal immigration into the USA is a humanitarian issue.  Much of the immigration to the US—particularly from Latin America—is fueled by desperation.  War and stifling poverty compel many to look northward for hope.  The US Catholic Bishops understand the right of each nation to have borders to establish an ordered society.  However, they also remind us that the right to life trumps that.  The earth is full of God’s abundance, and people should be allowed free movement in order to provide for their families. 

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has declared Jan 8-14th as National Migration Week.  This year, they ask us to see the face of Christ in the migrant:  “We want to thank you [the immigrant] for the Christian values you manifest to us with your lives—your sacrifice for the well-being of your families, your determination and perseverance, your joy of life, your profound faith and fidelity despite your insecurity and many difficulties” (Letter of the Hispanic/Latino Bishops to Immigrants, Dec 12, 2011).  Indeed, migrant workers are not merely to be pitied or tolerated, but in the words of our bishops, they are to be looked up to as role models of the Christian faith!

The Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi has a long and proud history of reaching out to immigrants.  The time is ripe to wake from our slumber and rise up in splendor on behalf of them once again. There are widespread misunderstandings and potential laws on the horizon which threaten the safety, family unity and human rights of immigrants.  In the Franciscan tradition, there is also plenty of room for open debate as we confront difficult issues.

The Office of Justice and Peace would like to gather people to be part of the discussion for how we as a parish community might respond to these issues both simple and complex.  Will you join this dialogue?  Please contact frank.lesko@stfrancisraleigh.org or (919) 847-8205 x267 if you would like to be part of a parish effort to pray, study and act on the issue of immigration!

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