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 Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, WisconsinApril 7, 2006 Issue 

Treat immigrants as Jesus would: Bishop

House bill would curtail the work of the Catholic Church

Here is a statement on immigration legislation from Green Bay Bp. David Zubik:

photo of Bishop David Zubik
David Zubik

As Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, I am proud and pleased to report that the diocese, through its Catholic Charities Immigration Services Program, has offered services to newcomers here in northeastern Wisconsin for over 15 years. Our commitment to this work stems from the Gospel mandate to serve the poor, the orphan, the widow, and the stranger among us and from the exhortations of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to "Welcome the Stranger Among Us."

Refugees and immigrants have been altering the face of parishes and communities across the country for many years. Not unlike the thousands of immigrants in the past who came to our country as Italians, Poles, Irish, Germans, immigrants and refugees from Latino and South East Asian countries as well as from other nations today come seeking basic human rights, often denied to them in their country of origin.

For refugees there is a well-founded fear for their safety if they return to their homelands. Offering a face of faith to newcomers and strangers in our midst is our call as Catholics. The Church of Green Bay has always reached out to those individuals and families in need of God's love and we will continue to do so in the future.

Related articles:

from April 9, 2006 issue:
April march supports rights
    Church joins in saying that all people who
    live in the United States have certain rights

Bishop urges congressional support
    (text of letter Bp. David Zubik recently sent
    to Wisconsin's senators and local representatives)

from March 31, 2006 issue:
Milwaukee protests HR-4437
    Day without Latinos shows effects of proposed
    border laws

from March 24, 2006 issue:
• Editorial -- Positive reform
    U.S. Senate and public should back McCain-
    Kennedy immigration bill, not Sensenbrenner

Our country has had a long-standing humanitarian tradition. House Bill 4437 on Border Protection is anti-immigrant and contrary to our country's practice of opening our doors to immigrants and contrary to the mandate of the Gospel. If passed it would curtail the work of Catholic Charities and many faith-based groups and make the services we offer in charity and justice a criminal offense.

In contrast, versions of a Senate Bill appear to be more hopeful and more in line with what the U.S. Bishops have proposed, that is to have undocumented immigrants who are working, living and contributing to our nation come forward, pay a fine and application fee, go through rigorous criminal background checks and security screenings, demonstrate that they have paid taxes and are learning English, and obtain a visa that could, over time, lead to legal and permanent residency. While we do not condone violating our nation's immigration laws, we do believe that the laws can and should be rewritten to reflect the principles on which this country was born - open to immigrants.

Moreover, as people of faith and in response to the example and charge of Jesus Himself in the Gospels, we are committed to helping families seeking better lives for their children and move them to become legal residents and become self-sufficient. While many may voice anti-immigrant sentiments, or feel that immigrants have not enriched the communities in which they live, as Church we invite refugees and immigrants to join our communities and faith life and treat them in ways that are as Christlike as are the actions of Jesus Himself in the Gospels.

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