Chaput, Polis push ‘mutual interest’ in immigration reform

In a case of the world’s strangest bedfellows, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis and Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput set aside their vast political differences to join forces Saturday to promote federal immigration reform at a Northglenn church Saturday.

Those competing world views weren’t lost on the Catholic News Agency’s awkwardly worded press release citing Polis as “openly homosexual and a supporter of abortion rights” in which the archbishop and Boulder congressman “would disagree ‘vigorously’ on ‘some very serious social issues.'”

No kidding.

The brief, one-page statement also inexplicably referenced abortion no less than four times though Polis and U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., who both support reproductive freedom, accompanied the controversial archbishop on the Northglenn leg of the nationwide immigration town hall series “Familias Unidas.”

Back on point, the archbishop made an impassioned plea for bipartisan support of comprehensive immigration reform as a “test of our humanity” to a standing-room only crowd of 600 people:

“The Catholic commitment to the dignity of the immigrant comes from exactly the same roots as our commitment to the dignity of the unborn child,” since being pro-life also means making laws and social policies that will care for “those people already born that no one else will defend.”

“In the United States today, we employ a permanent underclass of human beings who build our roads, pick our fruit, clean our hotel rooms, and landscape our lawns,” Archbishop Chaput remarked.

Stating that most immigrants are law-abiding and “simply want a better life for their families,” he noted that many have children who are American citizens or have been in America for most of their lives.

These people live in a “legal limbo,” he stated.

“They’re vital to our economy, but they have few legal protections, and thousands of families have been separated by arrests and deportations,” he reported.

“We need to remember that how we treat the weak, the infirm, the elderly, the unborn child and the foreigner reflects on our own humanity. We become what we do, for good or for evil.”

Archbishop Chaput insisted that the Catholic Church respects the law, including immigration law, and also respects those who enforce it.

“We do not encourage or help anyone to break the law. We believe Americans have a right to solvent public institutions, secure borders and orderly regulation of immigration.”

However, he said Catholics cannot ignore those in need and cannot be silent about laws that “don’t work” and also create “impossible contradictions and suffering.”

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Wendy Norris

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