WASHINGTON, DC – Twenty Jesuit university presidents joined nearly seventy other Catholic higher education leaders and a long list of academics called for immigration reform in a public letter to Representatives John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi released on July 19, 2013. The release occurred in conjunction with a national press conference via telephone that included Jesuit Father Tom Greene, S.J., Assistant for Social and International Ministries at the U.S. Jesuit Conference. The letter sign-on was coordinated by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.
The letter noted that Catholic college and universities “have a proud history of providing opportunities to immigrants” and that collectively the represented institutions “educate more than 290,00 students.”
Speaking directly to Boehner and Pelosi the letter said:
“We hope that as you face intense political pressure from powerful interest groups, you will draw wisdom and moral courage from our shared faith tradition. Catholic teaching values the human dignity and worth of all immigrants, regardless of legal status. We remind you that no human being made in the image of God is illegal. The Vatican’s Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church warns against the exploitation of immigrant workers and says “immigrants are to be received as persons and helped, together with their families, to become a part of societal life.” We are part of an immigrant church in an immigrant nation.”
The letter closed with a request to “reject the false choices and divisive rhetoric that have too often characterized this debate.” Noting that ” protecting our borders and creating an earned path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in this country are not competing interests.”
Representatives Boehner and Pelosi are both Catholic. Boehner is one of 52 Congressional who earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from a Jesuit university, 11 in the Senate and 41 in the House of Representatives. Boehner is a graduate of Xavier University. According to the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities there are currently 14 Jesuit institutions represented by alumni/ae in the U.S. Congress. Georgetown University has the most alumni/ae with a total of 21, followed by Boston College with 7 and Fordham University with 5. The College of the Holy Cross has 4, Creighton University has 3 and Loyola University Chicago, Saint Peter’s University and University of Detroit Mercy all have two alumni/ae represented. The remaining schools with alumni/ae in Congress are Loyola University Maryland, Marquette University, Saint Joseph’s University, Santa Clara University, Wheeling Jesuit University and Xavier University.
The full letter and list of signees can be found here.