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Minnesota Bishops Call for Immigration Changes

December 26, 2006

Winona, MN - Minnesota Catholic Bishops have issued an open letter about the recent workplace raids by federal officials here and in five other states. One of the signers is Bishop Bernard Harrington with the Archdiocese of Winona.

Just this month federal officials arrested over a thousand undocumented workers at Swift pork plants, charging they used stolen identification to get jobs. Last week, a Minneapolis federal grand jury indicted 15 people arrested in the Worthington raid on charges of ID theft.

Bishop Harrington explains the statement as a recommendation for reform of the country's employment-based immigration system and due process for all who are here.

"The Bishops are calling for a complete overhaul of the immigration policies of the United States, which would address people coming into our country as well as those that have been here, and include some kind of a program for legalization."

According to Bishop Harrington, the Church is distressed by the workplace raids.

"This attacks the dignity of work. These are our brothers and sisters who live among us and provide our food, support local businesses and communities, and who have the dignity of human beings. To have their families broken up, their breadwinners taken away and put in a position of poverty...there's something wrong with that system."

Bishop Harrington adds that the raids undermined progress the city was making in bridging racial and cultural differences.

Other signers of the statement include: Archbishop Harry Flynn and Bishop Richard Pates, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis; Bishop Victor Balke (Diocese of Crookston); Bishop Dennis Schnurr (Duluth); Bishop John Nienstedt (New Ulm) and Bishop John Kinney (St. Cloud). More information is available online at www.mncc.org.

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN