Commentary:The Catholic Bishops of New Mexico call all residents of New Mexico to pray for refugees fleeing their war torn homes and communities. Our Lord, in a special way, holds the most vulnerable close to his heart and, in this time of tragic loss of innocent life, we too should hold the people of Syria and Iraq close to our hearts.
In the wake of the tragic events in Paris, Beirut and Mali, the Bishops of New Mexico join the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in calling the faithful to pray for refugees. Write a letter to President Obama urging him to expand U.S. resettlement efforts of Syrian refugees who are fleeing unspeakable atrocities and violence. Urge your members of congress to provide urgently needed development aid for refugee host countries.
We remind New Mexicans that refugees and immigrants are all human persons, made in the image of God, bearing inherent dignity and deserving our respect, care and protection by law from persecution. Locally, Catholic Charities in New Mexico has been resettling families, children, and adults from many different countries in cooperation with the United States Government.
Catholic Charities serves as a partner with the Federal Government who makes every effort to clear and verify the identities and backgrounds of refugees before resettlement in New Mexico.
Some leaders have tried to use the tragic events in Paris to influence the outcome of state legislation regarding driver’s licenses for immigrants. In the 2015 legislative session the New Mexican Catholic bishops supported a fair two-tier compromise that passed the New Mexico Senate with bipartisan support. We pray that this compromise will become law so all eligible residents can drive to complete the daily tasks of making a living, getting children to school, and participating in our communities.
We must remember that the vast majority of refugees are innocent, law-abiding people who are fleeing persecution and death. We must all, Federal Government, State Government, communities, and neighbors, work together to keep our homeland safe and at the same time, as the Gospel calls us, keep the most vulnerable safe.