It is ironic that the Supreme Court deadlock on the appeal of the injunction blocking President Obama’s 2014 deferred action executive order, was announced simultaneously with the publication of a study done by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Brookings Institution called “How Immigration and Concerns about Culture Changes Are Shaping the 2016 Election.” This study indicates how out of sync Washington is with American citizens on immigration Policy.
SCOTUS’ 4-4 split let the lower court ruling blocking the injunction stand and dashed the hopes of an estimated four million immigrants whose threat of deportation had been deferred by the executive order. They are men and women who have been in the U.S. since 2010, have not committed any serious crimes and have children who are American citizens.
This case reflects an anti-immigrant movement that is antithetical to the feelings of most Americans as illustrated by the Public Research Institute document. The Religion Institute found that “Close to six in 10 white Americans (57%) and more than seven in ten black (71%) and Hispanic Americans (75%) favor a policy that would offer illegal immigrants a chance to become citizens.” Among religious groups, “62 percent of Catholics, 61 percent of Protestants and 69 percent of black Protestants favor a citizenship path for immigrants and 49 percent of white evangelical Protestants favor allowing immigrants living here illegally to become citizens.”
Xenophobia appears to be a disease of Pennsylvania Ave. more than of Main Street where mercy is more abundant.
Pope Francis, on his visit to Washington, addressed Congress and cautioned against allowing immigration challenges to overwhelm us noting that, “We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation,” and “respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome.”
Let us pray for all those mothers and fathers and their children who now live in constant fear that their families will be torn apart.
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