Statement of Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on the city’s welcoming of migrants arriving on buses from Texas
Wednesday night, Chicago received two busloads of migrants, including asylum seekers, sent from Texas on buses chartered by Gov. Gregory Abbott. For weeks, the Texas governor has been sending migrant women, men, and children — including infants — to Washington, D.C., and New York City, reportedly in protest of President Joseph Biden’s immigration policies. Treating children of God as political pawns is unbecoming of any elected official, especially when it involves marginalized, suffering people. The Archdiocese of Chicago stands with local municipal and religious leaders who have pledged to support these new arrivals seeking better, safer lives. While the burden of supporting migrants has undeniably fallen disproportionately on border states, the issue would be better addressed by a strategy of national cooperation.
Welcoming the stranger, including the immigrant, is a fundamental moral imperative of Christianity. “No one must be excluded,” as Pope Francis put it in his message for this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees. “God’s plan is essentially inclusive and gives priority to those living on the existential peripheries,” the Holy Father continued. “Among them are many migrants and refugees, displaced persons, and victims of trafficking. The Kingdom of God is to be built with them, for without them it would not be the Kingdom that God wants.” Building the future with migrants and refugees, the pope emphasized, means recognizing the talents they bring from their native countries. They enrich our communities with these gifts.
This is our history as a nation of immigrants, the reason many who came to our shores were welcomed with, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
We Christians are called to welcome the stranger, the migrant, the refugee, because they, too are children of God, all of us members of the same family, the human family. After all, Jesus himself was a refugee, as Mary and Joseph were forced to flee their homeland because it had become too dangerous. When Christians choose to help our immigrant brothers and sisters, we are doing as Jesus taught — we are choosing to see in them the Holy Family, who only wanted to live. We are choosing life.
So to all immigrants and refugees, those who have recently arrived, as well as those who have made lives for themselves here, enriching their communities and indeed the whole nation, we welcome you, along with the opportunity to show you how God’s family cares for its own.