Immigration Reform Advocates Stepping Up Pressure On Obama: Cardinal Asks For End To Raids

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
Cardinal George - Photo: AP

Cardinal George - Photo: AP

It was not the first time a Catholic leader has called for changes to the nation’s immigration policies. But Saturday’s appeal by Cardinal Francis George, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was notable in that it was aimed directly at President Barack Obama and his promise of change.

“I stand with other faith leaders and all of you gathered here today and with every immigrant family in this nation to call on our government to end immigration raids and the separation of families,” George said at a Chicago church where a prayer forum was held to call for renewed debate on immigration reform. “Such reform would be a clear sign this administration is truly about change.”

The cardinal’s call came after a week in which, for the first time in office, President Obama spoke at length about immigration before a mainstream audience; and after he told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus he will address immigration reform soon, with some (unspecified) action to come in the next couple of months.

George’s statement may be a sign that immigration advocates are stepping up the pressure on the president to follow through on his campaign promises of an immigration policy that allows for the legalization of millions of undocumented immigrants.

An end to Immigration and Customs Enforcement work-site raids — a step the president can order without having to go through Congress– has been one of the principal requests from the pro-immigrant side since Mr. Obama took office. Advocates say the raids, and subsequent deportations, are inhumane and divide families.

While he has signed executive orders on other matters –including one Friday to extend temporary protected status to Liberian immigrants— Obama has not yet taken action on the raids. The Department of Homeland Security, under secretary Janet Napolitano, has ordered reviews of many of its policies and programs, but so far no major changes have emerged from those reviews.

At Saturday’s event, the Chicago Tribune reported, Cardinal George “sought to cast the issue in moral terms, calling it ‘a matter of conscience’ and an important step to creating a more peaceful society.”

“We cannot strengthen families when people live in fear from day to day,” he said.

The event was part of the 17-city pro-immigration tour that U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D.-Ill.) is conducting to push for reform and collect testimonials from families affected by deportations. Gutierrez, who leads the Hispanic Caucus’ immigration task force, is becoming one of the more outspoken figures in the issue.

When members of the Hispanic Caucus met with the president at the White House, the Illinois representative gave Obama “more than 5,500 petitions signed by U.S. citizens appealing to their President and elected officials for immigration reform that keeps families together,” according to a statement from the Congressman’s office.

After meeting Obama, Gutierrez delivered a “mixed review” of the meeting, according to The Washington Post. “I think we have to be very careful not to oversell what was accomplished,” he said.

Gutierrez has held events in ten cities and expects to reach ten more.

“No city in America has been spared the devastating effects of our broken system,” Gutierrez said in another statement. “As a nation —as citizens— we cannot wait any longer for fair and just immigration reform. I have traveled the country and heard from parents and children, husbands and wives who are being torn apart by a system that fundamentally disregards family values.”

Cardinal George is not the first Catholic leader to call for immigration changes since Obama won last November’s presidential election.

Late last year, Arkansas Bishop Anthony B. Taylor said that he believes “being able to immigrate to another country is an ‘intrinsic human right.’” Minnesota’s Catholic leaders declared Jan. 4 “Immigration Sunday,” and used the occasion to “share our hope for: newcomers journeying in search of greater opportunities for themselves and their families; communities enriched by the many contributions of newcomers; and advocates working for justice and reform.”

The U.S. Conference of Bishops that George presides over has long supported the legalization of undocumented immigrants. In January, a Vatican news service issued a report praising the American bishops for their opposition to “the ineffectiveness and violence” of U.S. immigration measures.

On Friday, according to The Associated Press, Cardinal George said the Catholic church doesn’t approve of people breaking the law, but it believes that everyone deserves respect.

He said stopping raids would show the administration’s sincerity to voters in the immigrant community.

“To separate families, wives from husbands, children from parents, is to diminish what God has joined.”

8 comments

  1. Cohen

    Obama: hear us loud and clear: the issue cannot be ignored any more and a comprehensive immigration reform must take place this year!!!Path to citizenship for millions of hard-working immigrants is a must: it is the humane thing to do!!!We are waiting, you have 8 more months!!!

  2. Bullfighter

    The Archdiocese of Chicago should be investigated for the way the use contributions from loyal Americans and where the money goes.

    Do they realize that “Latinos” and “immigrants” aren’t the only poor in Chicago or in the world for that matter? I guess not by the way they distribute funds from their collection plates.

    Take a look at the grants for the 2008 Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Why is all that money being funneled to Latino and immigrant projects while the word “white” was only mentioned once? It seems like someone should take a look around Chicagoland and wake up the Church as to the plight of real Americans and stop playing games with foreign affairs.

    Another interesting collection that bears investigating is the “Collection for the Churches in Latin America”. I noticed that it list the amount of Catholics in Mexico as being over 122 million. That’s a lot of Catholics but if I’m not mistaken, the population of Mexico is around 110 million.

    The United Nations rates countries with a Human Development Index number and Latin American countries are far from the poverty they wish to portray to Americans. The average Mexican lives almost a long as the average American. Between 1950 and 2005, the Mexican population has almost quadrupled. Too many people!! You can’t blame that on the United States whose population in that time period hasn’t even doubled.

    If you’re going to fabricate statistics, don’t make up something that is so easy to check on. We may be Americans, but we’re not stupid.

  3. Yesprop187

    I think the Cardinal should plug his bleading heart, stop supporting illegal activities and focus on fighting against illegal activities like drinking and driving, or child moelstation.

  4. Delaware Bob

    I can’t say the ILLEGAL ALIENS are completely to blame for the shape of our economy, but they are a BIG part of the problem. The ILLEGAL ALIENS send BILLIONS upon BILLIONS out of this Country every year, money we will NEVER see again. Does this help our economy?

    How about the BILLIONS the American taxpayers fork out for the ANCHOR BABIES, the schooling of them, the medical care and the list goes on, and on, and on.

    How about the MILLIONS upon MILLIONS paid to jail ILLEGAL ALIENS for the crimes, then the cost to deport them. Does this help our economy?

    Then you have these activist groups, the Catholic Church and the ACLU that want AMNESTY for these ILLEGAL ALIENS. It would be absolute suicide for this Country if AMNESTY were granted to the 20 million or so ILLEGAL ALIENS. We have more and more people out of work everyday and they want to add another 20 million to this Country? I say, “NO”!

    If AMNESTY were ever granted to these 20 million ILLEGAL ALIENS, you can bet big money that 3 years from now, there would be ANOTHER 3-5 million ILLEGAL ALIENS demonstrating on our soil for AMNESTY.

    An end MUST come to this illegal immigration. The perfect tool we have so far is E-Verify. It MUST be used by ALL businesses and Government Social Services. EVERY employee must be checked! If they are illegal, they are to be dismissed!

    I believe it is time for all 50 States to pass a State law, like Arizona, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina and a few others. It is time for these ILLEGAL ALIENS to go back to their home Country and get out of this Country. The problems they are causing will not go away until the ILLEGAL ALIENS are out of this Country. I think that is plain to see.

    If the Catholic Church really wants to help these ILLEGAL ALIENS, they could buy them a one way ticket back to their own Country where they belong. AMEN!

  5. Given the state of soaring unemployment and the seemingly insurmountable challenges of reducing our dependence on foreign oil and cutting our greenhouse gas emissions, the very last thing we need to be doing is importing more workers, more oil consumeers and more carbon emitters. Let’s have a moratorium on immigration until these other problems are fully contiained.

    Pete Murphy

    Author, “Five Short Blasts”

  6. i hope president obama remember that the hispanics were not the only ones that voted for him we all did. i am sick and tired of him already think that the hispanics are the only ones with problems. the hispanics votes only cannot put him back up there next time

  7. viola

    These very civil liberties, illegal alien advocates, always find ways to ignore all the wrongdoings of illegal aliens in America, they are just as bad as the illegal aliens in America, and try to PUSH FOR an amnesty in America, they tend to use illegal aliens children or families, to get their point across, when in reality American immigration laws should count!!

    There is no way any illegal immigrant, should be granted any kind of path to citizenship period, they are not helping America, by taking employment from Americans,there is no way their children should be granted American citizenship,this is scheme and scam that they use, it helps them to over populate them selves as an American Hispanic at a very fast pace!

    It helps them to use the American born children to get anything that they want in America, and just getting in the front of the lines to get it.WHILE AMERICANS IN THE BACK OF THE LINES IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY!

    And because the weakness of our American politicians, being so they leave AMERICAN BIRTHRIGHTS, WIDE OPEN TO THEM,THEY ARE ABLE TO HAVE THEIR CHILDREN BORN IN AMERICA BY THE MILLIONS WHENEVER THEY WANT,JUST OVER POPULATING AMERICA, OUR POLITICIAN ARE SO AFRAID TO STOP BIRTHRIGHTS TO ILLEGAL ALIENS, INSTEAD THEY CATER TO THIS, MAKING UP SORRY EXCUSES, LIKE THEY CAN’T HURT THEIR CHILDREN! AMERICA NEED BETTER STRONG POLITICIANS,POLITICIANS WHO WILL REALLY SECURED AMERICA, WHO WILL NOT ALLOW ANOTHER COUNTRY OF PEOPLE TO TAKE OVER AMERICA.

    AMERICA NEEDS STRONG POLITICIAN WHO KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING! WHO WOULD HAVE NEVER ALLOW THIS IN THE FIRST PLACE, WHO KNOWS HOW TO STOP IT NOW! WHO WOULD NOT BE SO CONCERN ABOUT HOW MANY YEARS AN ILLEGAL ALIEN LIVE IN AMERICA, IF THEY ARE ILLEGAL, THEY MUST GO, IF THEY WANT TO WORK IN AMERICA THEY MUST HAVE TEMPORARY GREEN CARDS, LEGAL GREEN CARDS, THESE CARDS MUST BE REALLY VERIFY AS LEGAL,AND AMERICA NEEDS TO KNOW WHO THESE ILLEGAL ALIENS REALLY ARE!

    IF THEIR CHILDREN GO TO SCHOOL HERE, IT SHOULD BE BECAUSE THEIR PERSON HAVE A TEMPORARY GREEN CARD TO WORK IN AMERICA! THERE CHILDREN BORN HERE SHOULD NOT BE GRANTED AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP ON THEIR ILLEGAL STATUS AT ALL! THEY SHOULD NOT BE EMPLOYED IN AMERICA UNLESS THEY HAVE LEGAL TEMPORARY WORK GREEN CARDS! IF THEIR CHILDREN WANT TO GO TO COLLEGE IN AMERICA, MAYBE THEY SHOULD COME THROUGH SOME KIND OF SPECIAL PROGRAM, LIKE SOME HONOR STUDENT, SOMEONE WITH GOOD GRADES, AND WITHIN LIMITATIONS OF COURSE, AMERICA CANNOT HAVE ALL OF MEXICO CHILDREN IN OUR SCHOOLS, OUR POLITICIANS HAVE GIVEN THEM AN INCH AND THEY HAD TAKEN MANY MILES. THEY AGGRESSIVELY HAD JUST TAKEN OVER AMERICA IN THEIR OWN SNEAKY WAYS!

    COLORING 12 OR 40 MILLION ILLEGAL ALIENS IN AMERICA BY GIVING THEM A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP WILL NOT MAKE IT RIGHT, IT WILL NOT HELP AMERICA, AMERICA ARE DEALING WITH VERY NASTY AGGRESSIVE PEOPLE, THEY ARE NOW SPITTING AND WALKING ALL OVER AMERICANS NOW AS IF THEY DO NOT EXIST IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY! THEY ARE ALSO SO VERY RUDE AND BOLD TO MARCH AND PROTEST THE STREET OF AMERICA AND DEMAND OUR POLITICIANS OF ALL THEIR WANTS AND NEEDS IN AMERICA, MY GOD THEY ARE WORSE THEN AMERICAN CITIZENS, WHEN IT COMES TO MARCHING AND PROTESTING!!! AND THERE ARE SO MANY WANTS AND NEEDS OF AMERICANS IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY!THIS INSANITY OF ILLEGAL ALIENS IN AMERICA NEEDS TO STOP! THEY SHOULD BE FORCE TO TAKE ALL OF THEIR MARCHING AND PROTESTING TO THEIR OWN COUNTRY STREETS, AND SCREAM AND HOLLER ALL THEIR DEMANDS OF ALL THEIR WANTS AND NEEDS ON THEIR OWN POLITICIANS!!

    ILLEGAL ALIENS JUST CANNOT STORM IN AMERICA AND DEMAND THE CHANGE OF AMERICAN CONSTITUTION, OUR LAWS, RULES, AND REGULATIONS FOR THEIR VERY OWN PURPOSE!THIS IS NOT RIGHT, IT IS TERRIBLY UNFAIR!

    TO STOP ALL THEIR NONSENSE AMERICA NEEDS STRONG POLITICIANS WHO KNOWS HOW TO REALLY PUT THEIR FOOT DOWN TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IN AMERICA! WHO KNOWS HOW TO SAY NO! NO! INSTEAD OF YES! YES! AND REALLY KNOWS HOW TO ENFORCE IMMIGRATION LAWS IN AMERICA, ENFORCE WORKPLACE ENFORCEMENT ON ILLEGAL ALIENS, AND EMPLOYERS, ENFORCE E-VERIFIY, STOP STATE GOVERNORS FROM HAVING SANCTUARY STATES FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS, STOP ALLOWING CIVIL LIBERTIES, ILLEGAL ALIENS ADVOCATES, FROM INTERFERING WITH AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWS!!!!

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