I listened with deep disappointment to the dehumanizing words used to describe our immigrant sisters and brothers. These men, women and children are neither numbers, nor criminal statistics, but flesh and blood people with their own stories and histories. Most are fleeing human misery and brutal violence that threatens their lives. False and fear-filled caricatures seek to provoke a sort of amnesia that would have this great nation deny our roots in immigrants and refugees.
Last June, Pope Francis said in an address at a conference on international migration: “We must move from considering others as threats to our comfort to valuing them as persons whose life experience and values can contribute greatly to the enrichment of our society.” Those coming to our borders seeking asylum or escaping crushing poverty are not pawns in a political debate, but rather the strangers and aliens our Scriptures constantly instruct us to welcome. As a Shepherd to God’s people in Northern New Jersey, I beg all our legislative leaders to come together for the common good. Work through your differences for the good of all. Lives literally depend upon it.