In January 2003, the bishops of the United States and Mexico issued a joint pastoral letter, Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope, (“Strangers No Longer”) that presented a Catholic framework for responding to the ongoing migration in their respective countries. Strangers No Longer offered pastoral guidance to Catholics who encounter and engage migrants, including undocumented immigrants, migrant children, and refugees, who are living and working in their communities. The letter also suggested systematic reforms to U.S. migration policy and presented an alternative to the existing immigration paradigm.
In 2004, the Catholic bishops of the United States committed to immigration reform as a priority of the U.S. Catholic Church, and to creating a culture of welcome in which all migrants are treated with respect and dignity. A diverse group of Catholic organizations with national networks joined the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Justice for Immigrants Campaign (JFI) in an effort to unite and mobilize a growing network of Catholic institutions, individuals, and other persons of goodwill in support of immigration reform.Catholic social teaching provides the foundation for how the Church addresses issues related to migration. Reflecting on both Scripture and the Church’s moral teachings, the bishops’ on migration inform the approach to migration policy taken by Catholic institutions and Catholics generally. Understanding how the Church’s teaching tradition informs its position on migration will help Catholics and others of good will better understand how these principles can be and should be put into practice. The resources highlighted here will help you learn more about the Church’s social teachings as related to migration and how you can help to make positive change.