Compassion for immigrants

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A priest fighting for comprehensive immigration reform asks if we care enough to get it passed.

Guest blog by Father Larry Dowling

Does anyone care that recently three children had to watch their father arrested for not having documents, be shackled (hands, feet, and waist) and be taken away from their home by the authorities to be processed and deported back to a country that is only a distant memory from his youth?

Does anyone care that two young girls sit crying while their mother, guilty only of overstaying her visa, is shackled (hands, feet, and waist), is arrested and taken away from their home, unknown to their father who is at work, and that it is possible that they will never see her again?

Does anyone care that these stories are repeated hundreds of times each week in Chicago and in our country?

Does anyone care that soon in Arizona a mother will likely be stopped for "driving while brown" and humiliated in front of her children because although she is a citizen, she is not carrying proof of citizenship with her? And that this scenario will likely happen over and over again?

Does anyone care that men, women, and children who were starving in Mexico, Central America, and South America came to this country, leaving their families and familiar and friendly faces, not to freeload off of us but to work and make a living to support their families? Does anyone care that those being deported are being sent back to poverty, possibly to death?

Does anyone care that, if every man, woman, and child living here illegally were sent back to where they came from, our economy would totally collapse, and fruit and vegetable and poultry costs and the cost of other services they provide would skyrocket?

Does anyone care that the immigration policies of our government have failed us and have failed hard-working men and women who have contributed greatly to our economy and our tax base? Does anyone care that our country would actually be safer if legislators passed laws that set financial penalties for breaking the law and then gave those mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters here without documents a way to work toward citizenship over a seven-year period, learning English, passing citizenship exams, staying free of breaking the law?

I care, and many people of good faith care as well. The question is: Do we care enough to break the shackles of our own comfort and self-absorption to demand a change in the laws? Do we care enough to call, write, or e-mail our legislators to demand that they pass compassionate comprehensive immigration legislation? Do we care enough to reclaim our heritage as a nation that extends open arms to welcome and embrace the least of our brothers and sisters?

I want to believe we do.

 


Guest blogger Father Larry Dowling is the moderator of Priests for Justice for Immigrants and pastor of St. Agatha Church in Chicago.

 

Guest blog posts express the views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of U.S. Catholic, its editors, or the Claretians.