Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the problem of immigration should not be dissected as an economic issue, but as a humanitarian one.
Bishop Kicanas made the remarks July 14 before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law.
"The current immigration law we have today fails to meet the moral test of dignity to the human person," said Bishop Kicanas, whose diocese runs along the whole of the Arizona-Mexico border.Referring to a tough new law passed April 23 in Arizona but not expected to take effect until July 29, he said it was "only providing a Band-Aid unless new federal laws are made."
He made a clear distinction between those coming to the United States to work and those coming to do the nation harm.
"From a moral perspective, we cannot accept the toil of immigrants without providing them protection," Bishop Kicanas said.
The testimony the bishop delivered made several points about what comprehensive immigration reform should include.