It’s been over a year since the United States Senate passed a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform bill. In the months that have passed since then, the House of Representatives has not yet seen fit to seriously discuss the initiative. The delay in processing this legislation has caused disapproval from countless demographics including, most recently, high-ranking officials of the Catholic church.
A great deal of the viewpoint being expressed by these individuals centers on the consequences these unresolved immigration policies are inflicting upon UACs, or ‘Unaccompanied Alien Children.‘ UACs are minors who set out to cross the border into America in search of a better life. Many of them embark on this journey to unite with parents or family members who are already stateside. The number of UACs entering the country has skyrocketed as of late, and is expected to reach 66,000 by the end of the calendar year. This number is more than four times how many UACs entered America as recently as 2012. These children often face considerable peril during their crossing, encountering the potential for great physical harm and entrusting their well-being to individuals they do not know.
This issue prompted a trip to the border town of Nogales, Arizona, this past spring for various church officials. Among them was Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston. O’Malley, explaining that his visit was meant to benefit the suffering children crossing the border, stated that they came to “be a neighbor and to find a neighbor in each of the people who risk their lives and at times lose their lives in the desert.”
Last week, masses were lead near Capitol Hill by Thomas Wenski, an archbishop from Miami. Wenski urged leaders to move quickly on the immigration reform bill before any more damage can be incurred.
“Our immigration system is a stain on the soul of our nation. As a moral matter, it must be changed,” Wenski said during his homily. “We must pray that our elected officials recognize this and have the courage to reform it.”