Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Immigration reform, the Gosnell trial and the Boston tragedy

By Sister Mary Ann Walsh

The USCCB is gearing up for the immigration discussion surrounding the Senate’s look at the bipartisan proposal for immigration reform. This will affect 11 million people in our country. The Catholic Church has been clear where it stands on the issue.

In the bishops’ 2003 pastoral letter, “Strangers No Longer:  Together on the Journey of Hope,” they outlined several goals for immigration reform, which include:

•    A path to citizenship for the undocumented that is achievable, set within a reasonable time frame and includes the maximum number of persons;
•    The protection and enhancement of the family-based immigration system—based on the union of a husband and a wife and their children—including the reduction of backlogs and the shortening of waiting times;
•    A program which allows low-skilled migrant workers to enter and work in the United States legally and safely, includes appropriate wage and worker protections, allows for family unity, and provides workers the option to apply for permanent residency and eventual citizenship;
•    The restoration of due process protections for immigrants removed by the 1996 Illegal Immigrant Responsibility and Immigration Reform Act;
•    The adoption of policies which address the root causes, or push factors, of irregular migration, such as persecution and the absence of living wage jobs in sending communities.
•    The protection of other vulnerable populations, including refugees, asylum-seekers, and unaccompanied children.

Journalists Kirsten Powers (USA Today), Mollie Hemingway (getreligion.com) and Conor Friedersdorf deserve some kind of public service award for goading fellow members of the media to wake up to the horrific story in Philadelphia, where Dr. Kermit Gosnell is on trial for his chamber of horrors, aka, Women’s Health Society.  Note the grand jury report leading up to the trial if you can stomach it.

National media seem to have their eye open now. For example, Margaret Sullivan, the NYTimes public editor, wrote on her blog April 15, that “The murders of seven newborn babies, done so horrifically, would be no ordinary crime. Any suggestion, including mine on Friday, that this is just another murder trial is a miscalculation.” She added,

“Judged on news value alone, the Gosnell trial deserves more coverage than it’s had, in The Times and elsewhere.”

Boston Marathon
bombings yesterday remind all of the fragility of life and the need to work for peace. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said it well yesterday with this statement:

The tragic end to the Boston Marathon April 15 reminds us all that evil exists and that life is fragile.

The deaths and injuries of people gathered for the celebration on Patriots’ Day in Boston calls on all of us to pray for the souls of those killed the healing of those injured and the restoration of peace for all of us unsettled by the bombings at a world renowned sporting event.

Our special prayers are with the Archdiocese of Boston and the people there who are working in the aftermath of this crisis to address those wounded in so many ways by these events.

The growing culture of violence in our world and even in our country calls for both wise security measures by government officials and an examination by all of us to see what we can personally do to enhance peace and respect for one another in our world. 

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