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  Statement of Most Reverend R. Daniel Conlon Bishop of Joliet Regarding Immigration
07/01/2019

July 1, 2019

Statement of Most Reverend R. Daniel Conlon
Bishop of Joliet

Once again, I write to express my deep concern and anguish over the crisis on our southern border. The tragic situation toddler of Angie Valeria and her father, Oscar Martinez, who drowned while seeking safety in the United States from the dangers of their homeland in El Salvador, dramatize the need for our response. It is not their story alone, but the plight of the many others fleeing the violence and poverty of Central America. Members of our own diocesan curia have been volunteering at rescue missions in Texas and California and bring back to us first person accounts of the suffering of these peoples. Such stories are the cries of the poor, prayers to ear of God.

There is also a crisis in our government. Torn by partisan polarization, Congress and the administration have for years failed to enact comprehensive reform which would not only provide a humane response to those seeking asylum at our border but would also address the critical need of farmers and other businesses in our own country who are unable to secure the workers they need. Further, it is a matter of abiding by international law, law that the United States took the lead in establishing, which requires a just hearing of those who come to our border seeking asylum. As well, I encourage our government officials to address the underlying economic and social conditions that have led to the catastrophic destabilization of Central America – conditions which are forcing people to flee.

Above all, we as Americans need to look into our own hearts. We cannot ignore the very real human suffering. We are confronted with real human beings, not simply “illegals”. Yes, laws there must be.  But we have been given a greater law, indeed the greatest commandment, to “love your neighbor even as you love yourself.”

I encourage you, my brothers and sisters, to join me in contacting the President and our legislators, asking them to work to bring an end to this crisis, by enacting just and humane immigration policies.  In addition, join me in prayer for our neighbors who seek relief from their struggles.

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