WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Joe Biden’s executive orders aimed at rebuilding the U.S. immigration system, restoring due process and recognizing the dignity of newcomers illustrate his “commitment to prioritize assisting our immigrant and refugee brothers and sisters,” said the head of the U.S. bishops’ migration committee.
These orders “will help to ensure that immigrants and refugees are treated humanely and in accordance with their God-given dignity,” said Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville of Washington, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration.
The bishop’s Feb. 3 statement addressed the actions Biden took the previous day.
The president signed orders to address root causes of migration from Central America and expand opportunities for legal migration; create a task force to reunify families separated by policies of the Trump administration; and strengthen integration and inclusion efforts for new Americans.
The task force will be led by Alejandro Mayorkas, confirmed by the Senate Feb. 2 — and sworn in the same day — to serve as the next U.S. secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, which includes carrying out Biden’s immigration agenda. Mayorkas is the first immigrant as well as the first Latino appointed to the high-profile Cabinet position.
In his statement, Dorsonville said migration policies implemented by the Trump administration “have directly impacted and harmed immigrants’ and refugees’ lives, in many cases needlessly instilling fear and creating or perpetuating family separation.”
“The Catholic Church teaches that each person is created in the image and likeness of God and that we must uphold the inherent dignity of each person,” he said. “As a society, we must remain consistent in our openness and treatment of all persons, regardless of whether they were born in the United States or immigrated here.”
Dorsonville said the U.S. bishops “know that changes will take time but (we) applaud President Biden’s commitment to prioritize assisting our immigrant and refugee brothers and sisters. We also offer our assistance and cooperation on these urgent matters of human life and dignity.”