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Immigration, a short thought

PETER O’CONNOR
Contributing Columnist
oconnor@lbknews.com

“When an alien resides with you in your land, do not molest him. You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you, have the same love for him as for yourself, foryou too were once aliens in the land of Egypt.  I, the Lord am your God.”    (Leviticus 19: 33 – 34)

This is the lead in:  A Statement by the Bishops of Florida in Support of Immigration Reform dated June 5, 2013.  It is signed by the  Catholic Bishops of Miami, Palm Beach, St. Petersburg,  Venice,  Orlando, St. Augustine, and Pensacola-Tallahassee and widely published.

Quoting the statement, “We, the Catholic Bishops of Florida, are deeply concerned about our nation’s immigration system.  We lament the loss of the many years our migrant brothers and sisters have waited for changes that would enable them to seek legal protection and support their families”

“While the Catholic Church acknowledges the right of countries to control their borders and enforce immigration laws, the common good is not served when the human dignity and rights of individuals are violated.  The Church teaches, the more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin.  Public Authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.  (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2241).”

You, my readers, might wonder where is he going with this.  We at this newspaper have great  latitude, indeed we have responsibility, to opine, to discuss the important issues of the day.  I am a lifelong Republican.  I am also, I hope, a man of compassion.  I take my responsibilities most seriously.  I feel compelled to opine from time to time on these issues of our day.  Immigration is one such issue.

In Florida, our economy is dependent upon manual labor for agriculture, for construction, for landscaping, for service industries.  Many of the good folks we see amongst us seek to escape persecution and economic disparity in their country of origin and have come to America for this employment.  We, and they, may have created a market for undocumented workers – who may face abuses by unscrupulous employers,  human smugglers and human traffickers.

The Bishops again, “As a moral matter, our country must not accept the toil and taxes of these children of God without offering them the protections of our laws, which they so willingly seek.”

The Bishops ask their parishioners to support immigration reform that:

• Provides a path to citizenship for undocumented persons in the  country;

• Preserves family unity by reducing backlogs and waiting times for family reunification;

• Protects vulnerable populations including refugees, asylum seekers and unaccompanied children;

•  Addresses the root causes of migration, such as persecution and economic disparity.”

Obviously this is a contentious issue in our country today.  Perhaps one might say that it should be an important issue in our community.  Our junior Senator has taken a leading role in this debate.  About three years  ago  when I was starting in this avocation, I covered and wrote about Senator Rubio.  I spoke highly of him then.  I salute his performance now.

 

 


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