After raid, Ohio bishop says immigration system contributes to suffering

By Rhina Guidos

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The bishop of Cleveland said a recent immigration
raid at an Ohio gardening and landscape company “makes clear that our
current immigration system contributes to the human suffering of migrants and
the separation of families.”

In a June 6 statement from the Diocese of Cleveland, Bishop
Nelson J. Perez said he felt “a great sadness” for the families affected by the
raid and whose lives have been disrupted.

According to news reports, about 200 agents from U.S. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, surrounded two locations of Corso’s
Flower and Garden Center and arrested more than 100 workers in north-central Ohio June 5. A Washington Post story
June 6 said that “families of the arrested workers gathered at St. Paul
Catholic Church in Norwalk, Ohio, seeking answers as to the whereabouts of
their loved ones.”

On Facebook, the immigrant advocacy group Hola Ohio posted
photos June 6 of some of the children who had a parent or both parents taken in
the raid and who had gathered at St. Paul. In the Facebook post, Veronica
Dahlberg, the organization’s executive director, said families were “distraught,
crying, frightened, missing loved ones and at a loss for what to do.” Via
Twitter, she said some children remained in day care after the raid.

In the statement from the Cleveland Diocese, Bishop Perez said
he offered “prayers, and ask the prayers of all people of goodwill, that the
families affected will not be separated in the days and weeks to follow.”

He said the bishops of the Catholic Church have a duty to
point out the moral consequences of a broken system.

“The church is advocating for comprehensive and
compassionate reform of our immigration system so that persons are able to
obtain legal status in our country and enter the United States legally to work
and support their families,” he said. “Since this is a responsibility of our
Congress, I would encourage you to speak with your legislators advocating for
reform of our present system.”

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