Bishop says US needs immigration reform, not enforcement

CitizenshipOn Wednesday Bishop Gerald Kicanas urged Congress to move forward with reforming the immigration system in the United States, but not via its current path of creating even tougher border security and criteria for immigrants seeking asylum or the move to send undocumented immigrant minors back to their home countries more quickly.

“These bills would not fix our immigration system,” the bishop, who is the head of Arizona’s diocese of Tucson, said at an immigration hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee’s Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee. “Rather, they would just make it less just and would undermine our moral authority domestically and globally.” The bishop was the only one of the four witnesses speaking at the hearing who was against the proposed immigration enforcement bills.

Kicanas argued that the bills would have a major negative effect on refugee and immigrant minors, saying that they are already among the most vulnerable people in society to have been adversely impacted by the current immigration laws in the United States. He noted that the idea of rolling back President Obama’s deferred action program would result in weakened protections for children who have been abandoned, abused and neglected, and see them kept in detention for unreasonably long periods.

Kicanas said that such legislation had been tried before in 2005 and caused great civil unrest. “As a nation, do we want to take the country down this road again?” he demanded.