Catholic Conference of Ohio
Thursday, October 29, 2020

Issues - Catholic Conference of Ohio

Immigration Reform


The Gospel calls us to welcome immigrants with compassion and hopeful expectation. “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matt. 25:35). Ohio has a large number of Hispanic immigrant workers recruited by businesses to labor year round in Ohio industries. Many are undocumented.

The Catholic Conference of Ohio believes that current federal immigration law is unjust, unnecessarily restrictive and fails to properly balance the rights of immigrant workers and their families with the state’s right to control its borders. We support comprehensive reforms at the national level.

Ohio should show judicious restraint in pursuing state enforcement legislation, especially while federal courts review such initiatives that were enacted in other states.

Catholic Teaching

"God’s love transcends every human barrier, language, culture, and country border. The Gospel calls us to welcome immigrants with compassion and hopeful expectation. “ I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matt. 25:35). These words challenge each of us to see the dignity and sacredness of God that is reflected through people of all cultures and nations, regardless of legal status.

Pope John Paul II stated: “Who is my neighbor? The neighbor is every human being, without exception. It is not necessary to ask his nationality, or to which social or religious group he belongs. If he is in need, he must be helped...

We believe each person has opportunities to reach out in welcome to immigrant workers. Consider the following questions:

  • Are we as a society, as church, as employers, as consumers treating immigrants with dignity and justice?
  • Do my own attitudes toward immigrants reflect God’s love and concern for all persons?
  • How am I involved in reaching out to new immigrants in support of their pastoral and material needs?
  • What am I willing to do on behalf of the justice needs of immigrants?"

God’s Welcoming Presence: A Call To Stand In Solidarity With Ohio’s Immigrants, Ohio Catholic Bishops, February 2001

Migration Committee Chairman Opposes Proposed New Rule Seeking to Eliminate Protection for Asylum Seekers Fleeing Violence

Proposed asylum regulations will have devastating consequences

The new proposed rules would, among other changes: allow immigration judges to summarily deny applications before the asylum-seeker can see a judge; redefine the term “particular social group” in asylum law to effectively eliminate asylum for those fleeing domestic violence or gangs; and raise standards for initial asylum interviews. 

Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration wrote: “These proposed asylum regulations will have devastating consequences for those seeking protection in the United States who are fleeing domestic violence or persecution from gangs in their home countries..."

Bishops Welcome U.S. Supreme Court Decision On DACA

Decision Prevents Trump Administration from terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program

 Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the USCCB and Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’ Committee on Migration issued a statement that welcomed the decision to continue DACA, urged the Administration to reconsider terminating the program, called upon Congress to pass immigration reform, and reiterated the Church's love and concern for DACA families.


Governor DeWine Consents to the Continued Resettlement of Refugees in Ohio

Catholic Conference of Ohio Applauds Action

Gov. Mike DeWine has sent the Trump administration written consent permitting the continued resettlement of refugees in the state. In a Dec. 24 letter, Gov. DeWine told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that he authorizes refugees to be placed or resettled in Ohio. The letter was in response to a September executive order from President Donald Trump that says refugees should only be resettled in states and localities that want and agree to accept them.

The Catholic Conference of Ohio applauds Governor DeWine for issuing this letter and for his continued support of Ohio's refugee resettlement programs.

Dayton Daily News Story

Catholic Leaders Voice Concern Over New Asylum Rules

Helpless people, including families and children, will be unable to attain safety and freedom from violence and persecution in U.S.

The Federal Government announced rules that would allow the U.S. government to send asylum seekers to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador without the opportunity to access asylum in the United States.

Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and Chairman of the Committee on Migration for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Sean Callahan, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), issued a statement of concern in response.

Bishops Call for Support of the DACA Program

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program being Challenged in U.S. Supreme Court

 The USCCB, with other Catholic and evangelical partners, filed an amicus curiae brief supporting DACA. The brief argues that rescinding DACA without considering crucial facts underlying the program irreparably harms hundreds of thousands of families by placing them at imminent risk of separation, which violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and is thus unlawful.

A recent USCCB statement says: “DACA youth are leaders in our parishes and significant contributors to our economy and communities. They are hard-working young people who know the United States as their only home. We continue to urge Congress and the President to work together to find a permanent legislative solution to the plight of all DREAMers, including DACA beneficiaries..."

Action Alert Asking Senators to Support the Dream Act of 2019

Immigration Policies, Lack of Comprehensive Reform Remain a Deep Concern for the Catholic Church

Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr Issues Letter

My Dear Friends in Christ,

The Catholic Church globally, including this Archdiocese locally, has consistently and outspokenly urged all nations to protect the lives and dignities of migrants and to establish orderly immigration systems. For too long now, the crisis of migrants having to flee dire poverty and appalling violence around the world has sadly not improved. Nor, it seems, has many nations’ ability to respond in a compassionate and orderly fashion. There are so many social concerns that trouble the conscience of the Church right now, such as abortion, gun violence and the state of the environment to name a few. But I write again on this concern of immigration for two main reasons:

Catholic Conference Opposes Legislation Denying or Hindering Worker’s Compensation to Undocumented Workers

Harmful Provision Removed from the Worker's Compensation Budget Bill that would have Hindered Coverage

Over the past several years legislation has been debated and partially passed that would deny and/or hinder worker's compensation coverage for undocumented workers.  The Catholic Conference has continually opposed such changes.  Harmful provisions were removed from HB 80, the Worker's Compensation budget.

These provisions are expected to resurface as a separate legislative bill. 

Catholic Conference of Ohio Testimony on HB 80

Federal Immigration Policies Remain A Deep Concern

U.S.Conference of Bishops raise due process concerns

The Administration significantly expanded the use of a controversial fast-track removal or “expedited removal” process for migrants. This move by the Administration gives the Department of Homeland Security authority to remove migrants suspected of being undocumented from the United States while circumventing important due process protections. Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin, Texas, Chair of the of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

"I call on the Department of Homeland Security to reverse its decision to expand its policy of expedited removal. This action is yet another escalation of this Administration’s enforcement-only immigration approach, and it will have terrible human consequences. The new policy will allow for the deportation of many more individuals without providing them an opportunity to seek legal counsel and have a hearing before an immigration judge.

Even those migrants who have long-standing ties to the U.S. and have been in the country for more than the requisite two years required under the new policy may now be subjected to expedited removal if they are unable to prove such to the satisfaction of an individual immigration officer.

The implementation of this new policy will have unjust and unacceptable results and lead to more widespread family separation, stoking fear in our communities."

Conference Raises Concerns Over Amendment Hindering Worker's Compensation to Undocumented Workers

Worker's Compensation Bill Adds Provision Requiring a Claimant to Disclose their Legal Status

HB 80, the Worker's Compensation Bill, includes a provision that will hinder undocumented workers from making a worker's compensation claim. The Catholic Conference of Ohio testified against this provision.

"We are opposed to the amendment voted on the House floor that adds “immigrant status questions” to the claim forms. We believe that such additions are needlessly provocative, unclear as to implementation, and should be discussed as separate legislative policy rather than part of the Worker’s Compensation budget."   

President of U.S. Bishops’ and Chairman of Bishop’s Committee on Migration Respond to President’s Order to Fund Construction of Border Wall

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, issued the following joint statement:

“We are deeply concerned about the President’s action to fund the construction of a wall along the U.S./Mexico border, which circumvents the clear intent of Congress to limit funding of a wall. We oppose the use of these funds to further the construction of the wall. The wall first and foremost is a symbol of division and animosity between two friendly countries. We remain steadfast and resolute in the vision articulated by Pope Francis that at this time we need to be building bridges and not walls."


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