For the past several weeks, Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Chicago has been conducting a national tour promoting immigration reform, primarily speaking at Latino evangelical churches around the country. On Saturday, the tour came home to a prayer forum at a local Chicago Catholic church attended by more than 2,000 people. One of the key speakers was Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Cardinal George used the occasion to call on the Obama administration to stop immigration raids and urged passage of comprehensive immigration reform. In his remarks, the cardinal
"... sought to cast the issue in moral terms, calling it "a matter of conscience" and an important step to creating a more peaceful society. 'We cannot strengthen families when people live in fear from day to day,' he said."
The continuing raids around the country indeed a matter of conscience. We are taking parents from their children; we are separating families. This is not what in our tradition we should do. Protecting and supporting families and those relationships is crucial. The immigration system is totally broken and needs comprehensive reform, but it must be changed in ways that are compassionate, fair, just, and consistent with the biblical command to "welcome the stranger." While I applaud President Obama for repeating his commitment to immigration reform last week, I join Cardinal George in also urging an immediate end to raids.