Speaking for the U.S. bishops, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles told the House Judiciary Committee on Jan. 26 that the country should not return to a model of colonization enforcement based on workplace raids. Instead, he urged lawmakers to seek immigration reform that is both humane and just.
“Immigration is eventually a humanitarian issue, because it impacts the basic human rights and self-respect of the human person,” he explained in his written testimony. “The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops believes that the humanitarian costs of workplace raids are vast, and unacceptable in a cultured society.” Archbishop Gomez chairs the conference's Committee on relocation.
With their new mass in the House of Representatives, some Republicans are looking for a return to the immigration enforcement strategies of the Bush administration, which paying attention on arresting groups of unauthorized migrant workers. The Obama administration has actually deported greater numbers of prohibited immigrants, while shifting its enforcement focus onto employers that hire them.
Archbishop Gomez rejected any notion that the government should place its uppermost priority on rounding up those who have broken U.S. immigration laws. The workplace raids, he said, often had the effect of breaking up families, especially by separating children from their parents for important periods of time.