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Catholic bishops: Don’t treat illegal immigrants as criminals

December 12, 2011 |  2:03 pm

Archbishop-elect Jose H. Gomez, shown in 2005. Eric Gay / Associated Press

More than 30 Latino bishops of the U.S. Roman Catholic church, including Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, have released a joint letter directly addressing undocumented immigrants and renewing their pledge to work for immigration law reform.

The letter, which acknowledged the suffering illegal immigrants face in coming to the U.S. and noted the difficult jobs, low wages and deportation of family members that the immigrants may face, called them a "revitalizing force" for the United States.

"Instead of receiving our thanks, you are often treated as criminals because you have violated current immigration laws," the bishops wrote in the three-page letter released on an important day for Latino Catholics, the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The letter also acknowledged that many Catholics have not supported the church's work with regard to immigration reform.

"The lack of a just, humane and effective reform of immigration laws negatively affects the common good of the United States," they wrote. "We promise to keep working to bring about this change.”


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Photo: Jose H. Gomez in 2005. Credit: Eric Gay / Associated Press