On Immigrants and Refugees: Kat Kelley, El Programa Hispano Católico, and Matt Cato on Mater Dei Radio
The Gospel mandate to "welcome the stranger" requires Catholics to care for and stand with immigrants, both documented and undocumented, including immigrant children. Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, 2007, 8
What Does the Church Teach About Immigrants and Refugees?
"Welcoming the stranger and those in flight is not one option among many in the Christian life. It is the very form of Christianity itself." — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo
"Current immigration policy that criminalizes the mere attempt to immigrate and imprisons immigrants who have committed no crime or who have already served a just sentence for a crime is immoral. In the Bible, God promises that our judgment will be based on our treatment of the most vulnerable. Before God we cannot excuse inhumane treatment of certain persons by claiming that their lack of legal status deprives them of rights given by the Creator."
Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope, a pastoral letter concerning Immigration, from the Catholic Bishops of Mexico and the United States.
Three Basic Principles of Catholic Social Teaching on Immigration
First Principle: People have the right to migrate to sustain their lives and the lives of their families.
The native does not have superior rights over the immigrant. Before God all are equal; the earth was given by God to all. When a person cannot achieve a meaningful life in his or her own land, that person has the right to move.
Second Principle: A country has the right to regulate its borders and to control immigration.
The overriding principle of all Catholic social teaching is that individuals must make economic, political, and social decisions not out of shortsighted self-interest, but with regard for the common good. That means that a moral person cannot consider only what is good for his or her own self and family, but must act with the good of all people as his or her guiding principle.
Third Principle: A country must regulate its borders with justice and mercy.
The second principle of Catholic social teaching may seem to negate the first principle. However, principles one and two must be understood in the context of principle three. And all Catholic social teaching must be understood in light of the absolute equality of all people and the commitment to the common good.
A country’s regulation of borders and control of immigration must be governed by concern for all people and by mercy and justice. A nation may not simply decide that it wants to provide for its own people and no others. A sincere commitment to the needs of all must prevail.
More resources to help you understand what the Church teaches about migrant and refugee issues in light of the Gospel.