Cardinal Joins Immigration Reform Marchers

Los Angeles Prelate Says Future of Country Is at Stake

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WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 22, 2010 ( The political climate in Washington D.C. on Sunday was overwhelmingly marked by the health care reform battle. But thousands of advocates fighting another cause also descended on the capital: those calling for immigration reform.

Cardinal Roger Mahony, the archbishop of Los Angeles, said in Friday’s edition of the Washington Post that immigration reform is «right and just.» He explained that he would be one of the reform advocates in Washington on Sunday.

«Public questions of how immigrants impact our economy and culture are appropriate and should be considered by our elected officials,» Cardinal Mahony wrote. «To date, these concerns have dominated our national immigration debate, but we should already know the answer. Our history has shown that immigrants have helped build this diverse nation into the greatest democracy and superpower in the world.

«The ultimate and determinative question for our country, much less discussed, is whether we should embrace or reject the immigrant heritage that has served us so well.»


The 74-year-old cardinal suggested that the «trend is disturbing» with the current immigration system.

He noted that «enforcement-only policies» pursued for two decades have not stopped illegal entry into the United States. Instead, in the last 10 years the nation spent more than $100 billion on enforcement and in the same period, the number of undocumented people in the United States rose from 7 million to 11 million.

He said the legal immigration system is «outmoded and inadequate to our future labor needs, especially when the economy recovers.»

And the «family-based immigration system, which has helped immigrant families remain together and thrive for decades, is unworkable and now keeps families apart,» the cardinal observed.

Proposing the cases of two young people hurt by the immigration system, Cardinal Mahony said, «Perhaps most troubling in all of this is how our immigration system has lessened us as a nation and stained our national character.»
 The prelate proposed that the rally in Washington «is not only about changing our national immigration laws, but about the future of our country. It is not as much about immigrants as about us, the American citizenry, and the type of society we want future generations to inherit.»

«We can return to our tradition as a nation of immigrants and welcome and invest in them,» Cardinal Mahony reflected, «or we can continue to turn inward to the detriment of our own interests.»

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