Hispanic bishops support immigration reform

As the political debate in Washington continues about immigration reform in the United States, the Catholic Church stands a clear ground.

They state in a letter released Monday, December 12, that the nation currently lacks humane and effective immigration laws.

Brownsville Diocese Bishop Emeritus Raymundo Pea said that it's impossible to deport the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants already here.

Bishop Daniel Flores said it TMs a humanitarian issue that requires the support of the church.

"Immigration is an issue that touches human lives and human families, Flores said. The church certainly has a right and certainly wishes to exercise it, to speak on those matters to help the consciousness of our own faithful but also to speak to the whole country."

Catholic charities case worker John Lopez said about 10 to 15 undocumented immigrants reach out to them looking for help each day.

He said the numbers continue to rise as many people head to the U.S. looking to escape their countries.

"(We get) people trying to see how (they can) adjust or how (they can) get residency, how (they can) escape the current situation in Mexico, Lopez said. A lot of times, we cannot give them the answer they are looking for."

On a special day for Catholics - the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe - Bishop Flores and 32 other Hispanic Bishops from around the country " including Pea - released a letter urging for immigration reform and delivering hope.

"It's a word of encouragement, but also a word of gratitude for the contribution they make to our society, for the labor and the work that is often for the good of the whole community," Flores said.

Both Flores and Pea said they don't encourage breaking the law, but add that as American citizens they have the responsibility to address these tough issues, and as church leaders an even greater responsibility.

"We have an obligation, that is in a certain way, larger and that is to serve our people, and the Church will continue to do that," Flores said.