Thursday, April 29, 2010


Just as the word “immigrant” has different meanings in today’s political climate, so too does the issue of “immigration reform.”

Immigrants are our neighbors, co-workers, students, and friends—and they contribute greatly to our nation and to our communities.

Instead of being side-tracked by heated rhetoric and political posturing, all of us should take the time to open our minds and hearts to hear the actual stories of the immigrants themselves. Who are they? Why are they here? How is our current immigration system failing them? How do their experiences impact our local communities and our nation?

I have begun a series of personal conversations with our immigrant brothers and sisters in and around Southern California. I have asked them to share their stories about how their lives have been impacted by having to live in the shadows of society because of an antiquated and broken immigration system.

Please listen carefully to their stories, look into their faces. The more we come to know immigrants as individual people like ourselves with the same longings and yearnings for themselves, their families, and our countries, the more we will understand the need to reform federal immigration laws to help bring these people along a path to legal recognition.

These stories are representative of the experiences of some 12 million undocumented immigrants living in our country today. We will be adding more stories in the coming weeks so that all of us can put a human face on these brothers and sisters—rather than reprimand them with judgmental rhetoric.

Visit our new website to see these immigrants and to listen to their stories:


This weekend, May 1 and 2, all Catholic Churches across the country are including special prayers for our immigrant brothers and sisters, and for immigration reform in Congress. The most powerful action we can take this weekend is lifting up our hearts and souls to God in prayer that all of us will welcome the strangers in our midst.

Visit this website for some good prayer suggestions and other ideas:


My good friend and colleague, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, has a splendid blog entry this week in which he sets forth his views on how we all must protect the rights of our immigrants and work steadily for legislative immigration reform. His blog can be found at: