The actions taken by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Postville on May 12 highlight once again the need for comprehensive immigration reform. Families have been disrupted; parents and children are filled with fear. Many are uncertain whether their loved ones will be arrested, imprisoned indefinitely, or deported.
This state of terror for families is evidence that our political system has not adequately addressed the demand for labor, the inadequacies of our present immigration policies and practices, and the broader economic challenges. Some of the weakest members among us are bearing the brunt of the suffering, while legislators and other leaders, as well as many of us in the general public, have failed to give this issue the priority that it deserves.
- To create legal avenues for workers and their families who wish to enter our country and work in a safe, legal, and orderly manner with their rights fully protected.
- To develop border protection policies that are consistent with humanitarian values and with the need to treat all individuals with respect.
- To allow authorities to carry out the critical task of identifying and preventing entry of terrorists and dangerous criminals, as well as pursuing the legitimate task of implementing American immigration policy.
- That relies primarily on punitive measures, rather than a long-term fix which would welcome hardworking people from impoverished nations to assist us in our labor needs, as well as offer the richness of their faith and culture to our society.
- That separates parents and children, places people in detention centers without good legal assistance, and makes very difficult the possibility of communicating with their loved ones.
Our religious and social response is based on the Judeo-Christian scriptures, which call believers to welcome the stranger among us, to treat the alien with respect and charity, and to provide pastoral and humanitarian assistance. While we do not condone illegal activity, we do give spiritual and moral support to suffering families.