Church Concerned Over U.S. Immigration Bill

Bishops Say It Would Violate Human Rights

Representatives of the Holy See and of the Catholic Church in Mexico
are opposing a U.S. bill on immigrants, considering it a violation of
human rights.

Hispanics demonstrated in a number of U.S. cities last weekend against the so-called Sensenbrenner bill on immigrants.

There are three options on which the U.S. Senate must decide.

The first is the Sensenbrenner bill, named after a congressman who
sponsored it. The bill involves building a 1,000-kilometer (620-mile)
wall on the Mexican border and classifying illegal immigrants as

The second is moderate amnesty. And the third, pushed by President George Bush, favors the regulation of labor but no amnesty.

The Catholic Church in the United States is exerting pressure so
that the human rights of immigrants and their families will be
respected, favoring an integral migratory reform.

On Sunday, the California Catholic Conference of Bishops appealed
for full migratory reform, which will include the legalization earned
by illegal workers with their effort, said the prelates in a
communiqué. Their statement came a day after a half-million people
demonstrated in Los Angeles.

Appeal to Fox

The bishops insist that immigration reform must include a program
for temporary workers and a policy of reunification with their

For his part, the president of the Mexican episcopal conference,
Bishop José Guadalupe Martín Rábago of Leon, called on President
Vicente Fox to appeal to his U.S. counterpart for respect for the human
rights of Mexicans working in the United States. Fox and Bush meet this
week in Cancun.

This is not the time “to build walls, but bridges that will allow
the integration of countries for mutual development, for the benefit of
the populations on either side,” Bishop Martín told a news conference

The same opinion was expressed by the chancellor of the Holy See’s
Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Argentine Bishop Marcelo Sánchez
Orondo, on a visit to Mexico to take part in a symposium on
international migration.

He said Rome is very concerned about the Sensenbrenner bill.

“Man is not born attached to a land; he is born with two legs to
walk,” Bishop Sánchez Orondo said. “All men have always walked, all
peoples have been migrants. The doors cannot be closed to them. It is
against the natural order, against the Christian order and all the more
so for those who work, as we all have the right to work.”

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