"Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness" (Gen 1:26). This message is indeed very relevant to us today, as we look at the human condition around our world, and in particular the immigration issues pertaining to the Hispanic community in our country. Clearly the Genesis narrative highlights for us the sacredness and dignity of all humanity. Human life is sacred, and the vision of any society should be to strive eagerly to uphold the dignity of the human person. The Bible reveals God as “the maker of heaven and earth.” That is, of all creation with its diversity of peoples and races. (Gen 1:11-31). This diversity of peoples in the world, and in families, language and nations is willed by God and judged to be “good”. Our Hispanic brothers and sisters too are created in that divine image and likeness of God, and as such are to be treated equally with the utmost respect.
It is a dangerous mistake for those of one ethnicity to think that their rights and dignity are superior to that of others. Our brothers and sisters of the Hispanic community are gifts from God. It is through them that the body of Christ expresses joyfully the beauty of God’s creation. As a Nation under God, we are to be energized by God’s indiscriminate love, and embrace those who strive for equal opportunity, to dwell freely and to openly participate in the “American dream”. Because parts of the Hispanic community are terrorized by injustice, discriminatory laws, and inequality, their contribution to our nation’s welfare and economy cannot be ignored. In many instances their dignity is being severely violated.
Inequalities in all their forms are evil and contrary to the gospel of Christ. Our State leaders should exercise their consciences and encourage lawmakers to enact just laws to serve the common good and secure the dignity of the human person. Laws should provide immigrants with the proper security that upholds their basic human rights and dignity. Like those of us of Irish, German, Polish, and Italian descent, whose parents, grandparents, great-great parents, etc. came to this country seeking a better life, so too are those of Hispanic background. Like our ancestors, our Hispanic brothers and sisters ought to be given the same opportunity, paid their fair wage that meets their basic needs and be able to offer the best for their families. The principal responsibility of any leader is to promote life and enhance the dignity of the human person.
Those who are weak and marginalized deserve respect, especially those whose inherent dignity is denied based on discrimination or documentation. Regardless of the legal status of any human being, we cannot forget that every human being is worth the utmost dignity and respect. Their rights and dignity are to be safeguarded at all costs. To deny the very fundamental rights of any human being is to gravely sin against the Gospel of life. The inherent dignity of every human person must be preserved; because each individual is created in God’s own likeness and image. We must call upon our leaders to constantly seek ways to uphold the dignity of men and women of every race and way of life.
www.justiceforimmigrants.org - a site by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops promoting immigration reform.
www.cjd.org - Casa Juan Diego, a Catholic Worker House of Hospitality for undocumented immigrants.