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 | Chieko Noguchi | USCCB

Amid Nationwide Worker Shortages, Bishop Seitz Reaffirms Church’s Closeness with Immigrant Workers Who ‘Labor for Us All’

While American employers continue to struggle with filling more than nine million open jobs and a growing number of communities look to immigration as the solution, Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso emphasized that it is often these much needed immigrant workers who are the most vulnerable members of our workforce.

As chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, he highlighted the vital role they fill in American communities:  

“Immigrant workers are integral to the life of our nation. They tend our fields, maintain our roads, and staff our hospitals. Through these and other acts, they labor for us all. Without their contributions, American communities would grind to a standstill. Not only are they working in some of the most arduous conditions but frequently with limited legal protections, and they are more susceptible to human trafficking and other forms of exploitation. Sadly, the risks faced by many immigrant workers were recently underscored by the Baltimore Key Bridge collapse, in which six immigrant workers tragically lost their lives.

“The Church, in her abiding love for every person as a son or daughter of God, gives special consideration to the poor, the marginalized, and the excluded. As a society, we judge ourselves—and will be judged—by our treatment of those who are least empowered to advocate for themselves because of social, economic, and political obstacles. The Church remains committed to securing rights and justice for those who labor humbly in the shadows, and we urge leaders to undertake much-needed reforms that recognize their essential contributions.

“As we rejoice in the Pascal Mystery this Easter, may every follower of Christ live with the knowledge that ‘our brothers and sisters are the prolongation of the incarnation for each of us’ (Evangelii Gaudium), and may that reality motivate us to a radical solidarity befitting our Savior who gave his life for the sake of us all.” 

Last week, Bishop Seitz sent a letter to Congress expressing support for further access to legal employment authorization for those with pending asylum claims. The letter references a recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which found refugees and asylees to have made a net fiscal impact of $123.8 billion to the American economy at both the federal and state levels over a fifteen-year period.