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We should treat immigrants with dignity and respect Print
Letters to the editor
Thursday, Oct. 04, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

To the editor:

I have seen a poster several different occasions over the years that says “I am a stranger and you welcomed me ­ [signed] Jesus”, where the word stranger is crossed out and replaced by the word “immigrant.” As a Catholic, I strongly believe that this is what my faith calls me to do: ­welcome the stranger, help those in need, and treat all with dignity and respect.

Thus, I am heartbroken to see how our nation has been treating immigrants, more so with the recent ICE arrests here in Wisconsin and the Madison area. According to ICE, only half of those arrested in Wisconsin had a previous criminal conviction. The other half, we are criminalizing simply for being here from another country. This is not acceptable, Christian treatment of our fellow human beings.

I know a lot of undocumented immigrants. Almost all who have told me their stories say they came here not because they really wanted to, but because conditions forced them to leave behind their homeland and families in search of a better life here. They came illegally because our system offers them no other option.

Between caps on the number of visas offered, the availability of work visas only for certain specialized fields and not for low-skilled labor, and extremely long wait times for many types of entry into the U.S. (think 10 years or more), the vast majority who come here undocumented had no way to legally enter the country.

What we need to keep our communities safe and resilient is not deportation efforts, but comprehensive, humane immigration reform that creates an orderly, fair, and vetted process for immigration and treats immigrants with the dignity every human deserves. This, I feel, is the way to live out our faith to welcome the stranger and treat all, both citizens and non-citizens, with dignity and respect.

Laura Green, Madison