Our Catholic Faith and the Immigration Issue

Action Alert: Ask DHS to Withdraw Rule that Would Harm Immigrant Families

The Department of Homeland Security is considering a rule change that will devastate many families in our community. This “public charge” rule expansion could particularly hurt pregnant women and children who are lawfully residing in the United States.

Archbishop Naumann  and his brother bishops are strongly encouraging individuals to learn about this issue and submit public comment by Monday, December 10th asking that the federal government to withdraw this disruptive rule change. 

On October 10, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed rule on the "public charge" eligibility requirement that the federal government considers when determining whether to admit an immigrant into the United States or allow an immigrant to adjust status and become a lawful permanent resident (receive a Green Card).

The public charge has always sought to ensure that arriving legal immigrants and nonimmigrants as well as those who adjusted their status were economically self-sufficient and not relying on government resources. For many years, the public charge analysis undertaken by the federal government focused on only use of certain government benefits, such as cash assistance. Through the proposed rule, however, the Administration is seeking to significantly expand the public benefits-and number of immigrants and nonimmigrants-considered in its public charge analysis.

Essentially this proposed rule is a wealth test, discounting the contributions of certain immigrants. It will negatively affect many immigrant families - making them face the terrible choice between accessing important health and welfare benefits and facing possible separation from loved ones.

Public comments on the proposed rule are due by December 10, 2018. USCCB/MRS will be submitting comments in conjunction with USCCB/DSD and Catholic Charities USA. We also ask you to submit your own comments to stand up for immigrant families and children. Read the proposed regulation here and learn more about public charge generally here.

Care for the stranger, the hungry, the sick, and the homeless are fundamental to our Catholic faith. The proposed rulemaking would have the effect of undermining access to critical public benefits for certain lawful immigrants and their families thereby damaging their ability to live their lives in dignity. Implementation of this rule would also undermine family unity, family stability, and presents threats to public health and life. We are, deeply concerned with the proposed rule, which we believe would undermine the fundamental life and dignity of persons that we are called to welcome and support. We are judged as a nation not by how we treat the powerful but how we care for the "least of these."

Take Action
DHS is accepting comments to the proposed rule until December 10, 2018. We ask that you submit your own unique comment to DHS, asking that the federal government withdraw this deeply concerning rule and maintain its existing public charge analysis.

It is important to send a unique message in order to show DHS the diversity of comments in opposition to the proposed rule.

Here are some talking points that you can modify to customize the comment you wish to submit. (We suggest you read through all of the comments and pick at least four.):

  • The proposed rule is inconsistent with my Catholic values of welcoming immigrants, promoting family unity, and valuing human life and dignity.
  • Families are a cornerstone of the Catholic faith. I am deeply concerned that the rule would deny many individuals a lawful means through which to reunify or remain with family in the U.S.
  • The effects of this rule would be felt not only by noncitizens, but also by their U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident family members.
  • DHS proposes to consider the size of the applicant's family when determining whether that individual is likely to become a public charge. It is the position of the Church that creating a penalty for caring for children or caring for the elderly is immoral.
  • Fear and confusion over the effects of this rule have already caused families, including those with U.S. citizen children, to withdraw from critical benefits programs for which they are eligible.
  • The proposed rule and its chilling effect on families' enrollment in benefits programs will also negatively impact the social safety net - requiring churches and other charitable organizations to meet much higher demands for assistance.
  • Rather than aid hardworking families in their quest for self-sufficiency, the proposed rule would result in a number obstacles to improved economic, health, and educational outcomes.

Please consider using your voice to submit an important comment!

To send your comment, click here to our Action Page and fill in your contact information (required to submit a comment on a federal form). You will then be prompted to add your personal story and included at least four of the above talking points in the space between the two paragraphs below and hit "Submit." If you received this message directly from Justice for Immigrants, your comment will be sent automatically to DHS.

Thank you!

Learn what Catholic Social Teachings says about the immigration issue and how we as Catholics can help by visiting Justice for Immigrants



Looking to Catch Up?

theSkimm has a good summary of all the past immigration news events to help you get current with the political events that are shaping the immigration and refugee debate.  It's called, No Excuses, Not to talk about immigration.  This secular site has some good information that should help you and your friends get up to speed.




Pope Francis has promulgated a change to the Catechism, which represents a development in Church teaching on the death penalty.

Compare and Contrast Church teaching on Death Penalty

New Catechism on Death Penalty as of 8/1/2018

2267 Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.

Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”,[1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.

OLD Catechism on Death Penalty
2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."


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What We Do

Provide resources and support for individuals and parishes active in social justice issues

Contact the OSJ for questions or support in applying Catholic Social teaching in our communities.

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Bill Scholl is available to speak with your parish, school, or Catholic group on promoting an understanding of the Church's Social Teachings.

The OSJ can help in developing curriculum for teaching Catholic Social Doctrine in your parish.

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The OSJ is an archdiocesan point of contact for political action in the light of the Gospel and teachings of the Magisterium.

The OSJ can help your parish in its ministries to the poor, imprisoned, or otherwise marginalized.

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The OSJ is the local archdiocesan contact for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and can help your parish group get more engaged in our Gospel call to solidarity.

Coordinate the local efforts of the Justice for Immigrants Campaign

The OSJ promotes comprehensive immigration reforms that respect the needs of families and our Nation's laws and is the local contact for the  U.S. Bishop's Justice for Immigrants campaign.

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The OSJ works with local community development groups in funding projects that help the poor improve their lives by affecting sustainable, systematic change through the U.S bishops' Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

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To lead and encourage Catholics of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas to grow in their friendship with Jesus Christ by working for a just society that is informed by the Church’s social teachings amidst the challenges of modern society.



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