Immigration laws don’t take into account impact on separated families

      Last month the historic visit of Pope Francis to the United States was an incredible event for all those who attended and those of us who watched the massive media coverage.  On Sept. 1, a one-day pre-event was held at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center in Philadelphia. It was called “At Home Together: The Church and the Immigrant Family. 

      This event was sponsored by the Archdiocese and the World Meeting of Families, Villanova University, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

      Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput was the keynote speaker.  The archbishop focused his speech on the immigration policy’s impact on families. 

      Archbishop Chaput stated, “Some 75,000 families with U.S- citizen children are wounded every year by deportation, with one or both parents removed from American soil.” 

      Some of those children have been forced to follow their parents to countries they don’t know.  Others stay in this country without their parents.

      For the Catholic Church, immigration is about human beings and the impact our immigration policies have on the family.  Bad immigration laws disrupt families and communities.  The most damage starts with children. 

      Both the sending countries and the receiving countries have fault in their dilemma – sending countries, for not having sustainable work for their citizens, and receiving countries, where parents that are undocumented can be sent away from their citizen children.

      As people of faith, our faith obligates us to protect all families, migratory families also. In the United States and as we have seen through media reporting elsewhere in the world, immigration laws often don’t realize the social costs of separated families.

      Now with everything that we know, we are a civilization and we need to respect the rule of law.  But we need to take a hard look at revising and strengthening our laws in favor of the family.  In strengthening our laws, taking into account unifying families, we will have a healthier society. 

      We must all find our faith filled response to this issue.  For me, it is an everyday prayer.  I hope we can all find our way to pray with our pope for this issue to be resolved in a caring way.

     Adeline Torres is director of the Office of Intercultural Ministries. She may be contacted at 397-2125 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .