Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy continues to consider policy recommendations given in the Catholic Bishops of the United States publication Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope.
Knowing that immigration concerns are part of the Church’s teachings on social justice and growing in our awareness of the Bishops’ call to all of us to become knowledgeable and involved in the issue, we continue to consider the input given in Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope. In their writing the Bishops have included several policy recommendations. This month we will consider two of those areas.
Globalization and Economic Development
* Now is the time for both the United States and Mexico to confront the reality of globalization. Both governments have recognized and acted on the need to work together regarding economic interests through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It is now time to harmonize policies on the movement of people, particularly in a way that respects the human dignity of the migrant and recognizes the social consequences of globalization.
* The creation of employment opportunities in Mexico would help to reduce poverty and would mitigate the incentive for many migrants to look for employment in the United States. The implementation of economic policies in Mexico that create living wage jobs is vital, especially for citizens without advanced skills.
* The immigration system places per-country limits on visas for family members of U.S. legal permanent residents from Mexico. Spouses and parents thus face a difficult decision: either honor their moral commitment to family (a commitment to provide for their family and remain together as a family) and migrate to the United States without documentation, or wait in the system and face indefinite separation from loved ones. This is an unacceptable choice, and a policy which encourages undocumented migration. A new framework must be established that will give Mexican families more opportunities to be legally reunited with their loved ones in the United States.
We need to read and reread these proposals of policy. These are some of the most basic realities within the web of confusion often surrounding a discussion of immigration. Let’s pray that government leaders will listen to the clarity of Church leaders and act with justice.