WHEREAS, the Knights of Columbus is an international lay Catholic organization with members and councils in the United States, Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, France, and South Korea; and
WHEREAS, the Knights of Columbus was founded by immigrants and sons of immigrants in the late 19th century during a time of fierce nativist resistance to the arrival and presence of Catholic immigrants in the United States; and
WHEREAS, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin”; and
WHEREAS, Catholic social teaching allows for nations to enforce reasonable limits on immigration and that “political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption”; and
WHEREAS, the Catechism states that immigrants “are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws, and to assist in carrying civic burdens”; and
WHEREAS, in June 2018 the President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops reiterated concerns of the U.S. bishops regarding the migration of families into the United States saying, “Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together. While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety”; and
WHEREAS, in July 2019, the Mexican Episcopal Conference released a statement on migrant dignity that reiterated “…a just immigration policy is necessary and urgent; a policy that on the one hand, guarantees an orderly, responsible and regulated free movement of people, and that looks after the legitimate interests of our nation;” and
WHEREAS in his Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis has stated that the proper attitude toward immigrants is to “stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children”; and
WHEREAS, on the occasion of the 2018 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, the Holy Father reminded us that those who immigrate to a new country should “know and respect the laws, the culture and the traditions of the countries that take them in,” and that those communities receiving migrants should “understand the hopes and potential of the newly arrived as well as their fears and vulnerabilities;” and
WHEREAS, the Knights of Columbus has answered the call of Pope Francis and national episcopal conferences by donating food, water, clothing, medicine, and other humanitarian support totaling over $272,000 to diocesan migrant shelters along the U.S.-Mexico border in Ciudad Juarez, Matamoros, and Piedras Negras.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that as Catholics and as Knights of Columbus we will always be guided by our principle of charity in efforts to respond both humanely and equitably in matters concerning immigration policy; and
FURTHER RESOLVED, that we reaffirm our commitment to the principles of Catholic social teaching that immigration policy should equitably balance the legitimate rights of persons to emigrate in order to seek better lives for themselves and their children, with the duty of governments to control migration into their countries so that immigration policy serves the common good.