In his Thanksgiving message, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he is grateful for the gifts and contributions of immigrants and refugees in the United States.
"As we do every year, we will pause this coming Thursday to thank God for the many blessings we enjoy in the United States,” DiNardo said.
“My brother bishops and I, gathered last week in Baltimore, were attentive in a special way to those who are often excluded from this great abundance—the poor, the sick, the addicted, the unborn, the unemployed, and especially migrants and refugees.”
Following the lead of Pope Francis, as well as the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, the U.S. Bishops have been increasingly vocal about their concerns regarding immigration reform and policies, particularly those that harm families or endanger the safety of immigrants.
The U.S. bishops have expressed “a shared and ever-greater sense of alarm—and urgency to act—in the face of policies that seemed unthinkable only a short time ago,” DiNardo said.
These policies include the ending of DACA, which benefited hundreds of thousands of young people who entered the U.S. as migrants, as well as the ending of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for people of several Central American countries, who have sought refuge from violence and natural disasters in the United States.
Earlier this month, the U.S. bishops recommended that the government extend TPS status for tens of thousands of Haitians, who came to the United States after a 2010 earthquake devastated their country.
The bishops, who sent a delegation to assess Haiti’s capability to accept returned nationals, found that the country would not be capable of supporting tens of thousands of people who would be forced to return home. Earlier this week, the Trump administration announced that TPS status would end for Haitians in the United States by July 2019.
“One common feature of all these developments is their tendency to tear apart the family, the fundamental building block of our, or any, society,” DiNardo said.
“These threats to so many vulnerable immigrant and refugee families must end now. My brothers have urged me to speak out on their behalf to urge the immediate passage—and signature—of legislation that would alleviate these immediate threats to these families,” he added.
These current issues are symptomatic of a broken immigration system that has long been in need of comprehensive reform, a process which will take years but to which the bishops are committed, in order to ensure that the United States is “welcoming the most vulnerable, ensuring due process and humane treatment, protecting national security, and respecting the rule of law,” DiNardo said.
“So this year, I give thanks for the gift and contributions of immigrants and refugees to our great nation,” he said.
“I also pray that next year, families now under threat will not be broken and dispersed, but instead will be united in joy around their tables, giving thanks for all the blessings our nation has to offer.”