Voice of the Poor

Immigration Position Paper

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    Irene Frechette

    Spirituality, Empowerment, Mentoring, Advocacy, Inclusion, Collaboration, Social Capital

    Society of St. Vincent de Paul
    Tucson Diocesan Council
    June 2, 2016

    By Dan Torrington, Western Region Voice of the Poor Chair
    In 2004, the Society of St Vincent de Paul published a position paper on immigration. The paper spoke to the need to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church with regard to immigration reform in the United States. The paper called for compassionate and merciful end to the plight of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Twelve years later, in April 2016, the National Council of the Society approved an updated position paper, which you can read at:
    Since the Society first paper, the United Sates Congress has accomplished little with regard to immigration. Undocumented immigrants still reside and work in the United States without the benefit of any legal status. For the most part, they live undercover, careful not to attract attention to themselves. Their children go to school knowing that their parents will never come to a school event, less they draw unhelpful attention.
    A position paper that resides solely in a file cabinet has little value. A Vincentian position paper reflects the teaching of our Catholic Faith. Since the time of Jesus we have been told to go forth and preach the Gospel … the good news of Christ risen … a story of joy, mercy and forgiveness. Let us use our new immigration paper to improve the plight of undocumented immigrants. Read the paper. Become familiar with the issues and become an advocate for immigration reform
    The Society of St Vincent de Paul has approximately 160,000 members. Imagine the impact of 160,000 emails reaching the U.S. Senate, in a two-week period, all in support of immigration reform along the lines called for in the society’s position paper. On the average, each of the 50 U.S. Senators would get 3,200 emails. Such a volume of emails would be hard to ignore. What if the 160,000 Vincentians continued to send their Senators one email every month? What if the Vincentians invited other like-minded citizens to join their effort to encourage the Senate to act? What if Vincentians lobbied Senators in their in-state offices? What if the 50 state governors also received 3200 emails in support of immigration reform? If we get involved we can shape our nation’s policy regarding immigration. If we do not get involved nothing will happen.
    Vincentians can email U.S. Senators by going to the web site listed below:
    Send an email to your U.S. Senators today. Your words may be similar to Sheila Gilberts’ on the front of the Society’s up dated Immigration Position Paper.
    Dear Senator,
    Immigration Reform is long overdue. Its lack causes millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States to suffer senseless, grinding poverty. This situation is an affront to the American people’s sense of compassion and justice. Love of neighbor, the principles of the Christian and Catholic faith, and the rich tradition and noble history of our country as a land of opportunity and refuge for migrants lead me to this position. These are the tenets, which should guide our public policy on this important matter. Specifically immigration reform must include the following points:
    1. A compassionate and dignified path to citizenship for undocumented persons in the country.
    2. Family unity as a fundamental cornerstone of our national immigration system.
    3. A legal path for low-skilled immigrants to come and work in the United States.
    4. Due process protections for immigration enforcement policies
    5. Addressing the root causes of migration, such as persecution and economic disparity.
    No person leaves a land of familiarity for a strange new land unless compelled to do so by grave economic or social concerns. Let us share our abundance with those who have less. Let us be generous for the same measure by with which we measure will be used to measure out to us (Luke 6-38).
    Thank you for you kind attention.

    The Systemic Change Team of the Tucson Diocesan Council provided a significant contribution to the content of the updated national Position Paper on “Immigration”

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