DAILY CATHOLIC WEDNESDAY October 20, 1999 vol. 10, no. 200
NEWS & VIEWS
DALLAS DIOCESE DENOUNCES U.S. IMMIGRATION POLICY
Bishop Charles Graham Says Human Rights Are Violated
MEXICO CITY, OCT 18 (ZENIT).- The Bishop of Dallas, Texas, denounced the United States for its "intense campaign of arrests and massive deportations" of Mexicans who arrive in the country seeking a better life.
Because of this "very grave" situation, Bishop Charles Graham said that for several years the Curia he heads has exerted pressure on the Clinton Administration and supported the immigrants in obtaining their "green card" so that they can live and work there legally.
Interviewed during the 2nd Congress for New Evangelization 2000, which is taking place in Cuautitlan, Mexico, Bishop Graham said that virtually all U.S. dioceses have an office that offers immigrants legal assistance to get their documentation in order to work in the country.
"In Dallas we have an enormous office because we are trying to help without having to pay, or paying a minimum, to put all the papers in order so that the immigrant can get his green card or official residence in this country," Bishop Graham said. The U.S. Church is lobbying so that such large quantities of people will not be deported, obtain better paid jobs and improve their standard of life.
"We are trying to pressure the U.S. government to allow more people to reside, and not to throw them out when they have family [in the U.S.]. The U.S. Episcopal Conference has its Immigration Commission to help the government implement laws that will benefit immigrants," the Bishop said.
"We are trying to do something more for the immigrants who are crossing over," Bishop Graham affirmed. He also said that those immigrants who approach the Dallas diocese are given legal assistance to protect their human rights, but the Bishop gave no additional information.
Immigrants have the opportunity to talk to a lawyer in the U.S. At present,
many people are being arrested and sent back to Mexico, but the Dallas
diocese is trying to encourage people to take the opportunity to defend
themselves with the help of an American lawyer, the Bishop explained. He
also said that in 1987, the year of amnesty, the Dallas diocese helped
120,000 persons who arrived in his offices to obtain a "green card" to
reside and work in the U.S. legally.
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