Catholics Call on U.S. Rep. Royce to Tackle Immigration Reform

Hundreds gathered at St. Angela Merici Church in Brea Tuesday evening and marched to Royce's downtown office.

Catholics are calling on Rep. Ed Royce to tackle immigration reform.
Catholics are calling on Rep. Ed Royce to tackle immigration reform.
Hundreds of Catholics walked through Brea streets to rally in front of U.S. Rep. Ed Royce’s downtown office Tuesday evening, chanting, praying, and singing in a call for immigration reform.

Several local parishes from Walnut, Diamond Bar, Rowland Heights, and Hacienda Heights participated in the procession and rally that followed. 

Father Tony Astudillo of Walnut’s St. Lorenzo Ruiz Community Church said around 150 people from his parish signed up to participate.  Immigration reform is a stand of the church, so it makes sense that St. Lorenzo would answer the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ call for marchers.

“Immigration (reform) is not just about a political issue,” Astudillo said.  “It’s a basic human right and it’s about justice and peace, so it should be a very basic issue of the church.” 

Organizers of the march said that participants from parishes in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino counties came together to urge Royce to support solutions for the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally.

Ruben Barron, a consultant who works with Catholic Charities said that on Friday, 27 church leaders met with the Republican lawmaker for about an hour.  Royce told the group he would be willing to meet again on the issue, but was not receptive to moving forward with a comprehensive immigration reform plan at this time, Barron said. 

“The representative is very focused on border security and unfortunately, that’s his only focus,” Barron said. “He’s not interested in a path to citizenship.”

In June, the U.S. Senate approved a comprehensive immigration reform bill that included border security and citizenship measures, but when it was the House of Representatives’ turn, it stalled because lawmakers said that most of the Republicans in the caucus did not support the proposed legislation in its entirety. 

A “reasonable and attainable” path to citizenship is part of the plan the church leaders have proposed. 

Other elements for reform they are calling for include a provision for those brought to the United States as minors to gain legal status quickly so they can continue their education and enter the workforce, the reduction of immigration application backlogs, a temporary worker program that is safe and fair to immigrants and non-immigrants alike, restoration of due process protections for those going through the immigration justice system, the protection of refugees and unaccompanied immigrant children, and a way of dealing with the root causes of immigration. 

Father Edward Poettgen, with Catholic Charities, said immigration reform has long been part of the church’s mission. Ignoring the issue is harmful to society, he said.

“You wind up with a class system that’s very un-American,” Eoettgen said.  “You take advantage of people who don’t have full rights and responsibilities.”

Do you think U.S. immigration policy needs to be reformed?  Tell us in comments what you think lawmakers should do, if anything, about immigration reform.


Concerned Parent August 28, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Let's not mix politics by Mr Obama and democrats with religion. Every religion has it merits and should be left alone, IMO.
Jose Velasco August 28, 2013 at 04:58 PM
*Everyone is too tired/busy to go and protest and that's why nothing changes. *we all come from foreigners of some sort so don't hate immigration, however we have many economic problems and don't need any more mouths to feed right now, come back later. *I don't know about the church being "the most evil organization" that sounds like some illuminati conspiracy-however I do know that the POPE is more powerful than Obama when it comes to numbers "el papa" mobs deep
Vito Spago August 28, 2013 at 09:14 PM
Jose: Nobody hates IMMIGRATION. It is ILLEGAL immigration. Cant you get it through your thick skulls. Pro Illegal groups purposely try to cause this confusion. Yes, we were all immigrants at one time, but LEGAL immigrants. This talk is all about Law Breakers and giving them amnesty or rewards for breaking the law ahead of honest immigrants like most of us were.
Sam Ho August 29, 2013 at 07:07 PM
Ed Royce supports illegal immigration as well, as long as he is a direct beneficiary of it. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Orange-County-Congressman-Employed-Illegal-3032985.php Instead of protesting in front of his office, they should line up outside his house and ask to work for him. Then he'll write a letter to the INS asking for amnesty.
jmaloney25 August 31, 2013 at 01:41 PM
Not sure why the Father would say "Immigration reform is a stand of the Catholic Church."? My Parish has never mentioned it. Also I question the statement that “Immigration (reform) is not just about a political issue,” Astudillo said. “It’s a basic human right." Since when is it a basic human right to illegally enter another Country and become a citizen ahead of all the other people who entered legally? Wouldn't providing a pathway to citizenship to illegals ahead of those who enter legally simply encourage more illegals? I don't see how that would solve the problem.


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