Immigrants and Refugees


A considerable number of refugees and immigrants to America are Catholic. The Church teaches that Catholics should treat strangers just as they would treat Jesus Himself.

War, poverty, famine and other conditions cause some people to leave their homes and seek peace, opportunity, and freedom in the United States of America.

All people have dignity and have the right to better their life and the lives of their family by migration if necessary.

More prosperous nations like the United States are morally compelled to welcome those who are running from violence or dangerous conditions. Immigrants and refugees should be treated with generosity and respect.

Soveriegn nations have the right and a duty to define, defend, and monitor their borders and protect their citizens. Immigrants are obligated to be productive, assimilate the culture, and follow the laws of their host country.

While political debates pit the laws of a nation and the rights of immigrants against each other, the Catholic Church focuses on immigration as a moral issue, seeking to integrate justice and mercy.

A church of immigrants:

Coming to America seeking a better life:

We cannot insist too much on the duty of giving foreigners a hospitable reception. It is a duty imposed by human solidarity and by Christian charity, and it is incumbent upon families and educational institutions in the host nations.

Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, March 26, 1967

Responding to immigration as people of faith:

Christian principles to help our brothers and sisters:

When an alien resides with you in your land, do not mistreat such a one. You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; you shall love the alien as yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt. I, the LORD, am your God.

Leviticus 19: 33-34

Ministering to immigrants spiritually and materially:

Welcoming refugees throughout salvation history:

The 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. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him. 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. 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.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 2241

The middle-ground of a polarized issue:

Balancing the rights and obligations of immigrants:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Top 10 reasons to be Catholic:

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