Greensburg bishop to Trump, lawmakers: Fix ‘broken’ U.S. immigration system
Bishop Edward C. Malesic of the Greensburg Catholic Diocese has appealed to Pennsylvania lawmakers and President Donald Trump to solve the nation’s immigration impasse.
In a letter dated July 12, Malesic expressed frustration with the continuing immigration “stranglehold” that is causing “tragic and inhumane consequences” for the United States.
“I am asking you to represent me and those people of goodwill and faith who share my beliefs to the best of your ability,” the bishop wrote, “to protect the vulnerable, to welcome the stranger, to secure our borders, to tend to the needs of immigrant children and families no matter their home of origin. …”
Malesic addressed the letter to U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, and Pat Toomey, R-Allentown, and three Pennsylvania Republican congressmen whose districts include parts of the diocese — John Joyce, Guy Reschenthaler and Glenn Thompson — and asked that it be forwarded to the president.
Malesic could not be reached for comment.
It is unclear what prompted the letter, although Malesic started it by referring to the recent Fourth of July celebration and the hopes that migrants and refugees put in the United States.
“Many of these people, a number of whom are children, are fleeing for their lives after experiencing terrorism and hardship in their home countries. They are looking for safety, shelter, comfort, and peace for themselves and their families. They are knocking at our door. Sadly, their knocks have gone unanswered. What’s worse? We have locked them out,” he wrote.
Malesic referred to Western Pennsylvania’s earlier history with immigrants from Europe, as well as the more recent experience with missionary priests from the Philippines and other countries. The four-county diocese has 18 international priests serving its parishes.
“We have excellent relations with (U.S. immigration authorities), but the bureaucratic red tape is often so thick that each successful working visa for a priest who has guaranteed work here manages to put a significant strain on the resources of two diocesan departments for months,” he said. “Often, the delays caused by our inefficient system of immigration prevent us from serving the needs of our parishes as best as we can with the help of these international priests.”
Malesic said he supports the maintenance of secure borders — “This is both a right and an obligation of every nation” — but that the immigration system is broken.
“I implore you to make good decisions about keeping us safe at our border,” he wrote, “and then make equally good decisions to open the path to legitimate immigration that allows us to grow as a country, so that we can continue to reap the benefits of good and hardworking people who have the desire to call our country their home too, just like my immigrant grandparents did many years ago.”
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .