University Community Stands up for Humane Immigration Reform


University faculty, staff, and students joined forces the week of Sept. 23rd with Jesuit institutions nationwide in response to a “Fall Call for Humane Comprehensive Immigration Reform” from the Ignatian Solidarity Network. Events at Scranton were held on Wednesday, September 25, including a Mass and prayer service at Madonna della Strada Chapel, led by Rick Malloy, S.J., Vice President for Mission and Ministry at The University of Scranton.

In a sign that immigration reform is an issue close to his heart, Fr. Malloy authored an op-ed which ran in the Sunday, September 21 edition of The Times-Tribune. In the editorial, Fr. Malloy seeks to convince the broader Northeastern Pennsylvania community that immigration reform is not only a moral imperative but is good for everybody. He laments the uncivil tone that has characterized the conversation surrounding immigration and notes that “too few speaking about this issue begin with the idea that we are called by God to love our neighbor.”

Father Malloy goes on to point out that nearly all Americans are descended from immigrants and, in true Jesuit fashion, suggests an exercise in imaginative empathy.  He invites his readers to “Imagine having to…live the rest of your days in a place where you are never fully accepted.” Such is the reality, he argues, for so many of our immigrant “brothers and sisters.” Humane reform, he concludes, is an important step in building a world “of truth and justice [and] peace and love.”

On the day following the Mass and prayer service, the Office of Community Relations, in cooperation with University Ministries, encouraged students in the DeNaples Center to sign postcards to send to their U.S. Congressional representatives. These expressed support for comprehensive reform, including a pathway to citizenship that respects the human dignity of workers and the unity of families, fair enforcement of existing immigration law, and ongoing economic assistance to developing countries. Several dozen postcards were signed, and, according to Sasha-lee Vos, Student Government leader and Community and Government Relations intern, “students were very willing to send one to their representative to show their support for immigration reform.”

Last week’s initiative is part of an ongoing push by Catholic groups and institutions for reform of the immigration system. Jesuit institutions join with the U.S. Catholic Bishops, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and Faith in Public Life in urging legislators to repair a system they have called “morally indefensible.”