By Christopher White, The Tablet’s National Correspondent
NEW YORK – Bishop Joe Vásquez, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, has joined over 50 leading law enforcement officers, faith leaders, national security officials, and business professionals in an Independence Day statement calling for greater treatment and welcome of immigrants and refugees to America.
Launched by the National Immigration Forum, an organization whose mission is to promote “responsible federal immigration policies,” the statement, is an open online petition demanding an “American approach to immigration.”
Among the other leading signees to the petition are Russell Moore, president, Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; Shantanu Narayen, chairman and CEO of Adobe; and Logan Green, CEO and co-founder of Lyft.
“Immigrants and immigration strengthen these United States, as they have since our founding. How we treat immigrants, refugees and their families reflects our commitment to the values that define us as Americans,” reads the statement.
“As we celebrate our freedom with neighbors, families and friends from all over the world, we call on America’s leaders once again to encourage citizenship for those who are eligible and want to pledge full allegiance to our country and to allow all of us, American by birth or American by choice, to reach our fullest potential,” it continues.
Earlier this week a delegation of U.S. bishops traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border to focus on family unity following weeks of protest from Church leaders against the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, which led to the separation of more than 2,300 children from their parents until President Trump signed an executive order halting the policy in late June.
At a press conference on Monday, following the two-day pastoral visit, the delegation used the occasion to urge the administration to work diligently to reunite families and called on congressional leaders to work together toward comprehensive immigration reform.
Bishop Daniel Flores of the diocese of Brownsville, Texas, which hosted the USCCB delegation, said it is possible to “be a country of laws, without being a nation that lacks compassion.”