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Brooklyn’s top Roman Catholic clergyman urges a world view on immigration

Bishop of Brooklyn Nicholas DiMarzio Wants U.S. to Adopt a ‘Global Perspective’ Toward Migrants and Refugees

October 28, 2016 By James Harney Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio, bishop of Brooklyn, delivered opening remarks and moderated a panel discussion on immigration studies at the Center for Migration Studies' 2016 Academic & Policy Symposium. Eagle photo by James Harney

The bishop of Brooklyn says the next president of the U.S. had better know what in the world, literally, is going on with immigration.

The Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio has led the Diocese of Brooklyn since 2003, but for much longer than that — in fact, ever since he was ordained a priest in 1970 — he has been a forceful voice on behalf of migrants and immigrants.

DiMarzio raised that voice again last Wednesday at the Center for Migration Studies’ 2016 Academic & Policy Symposium, held at 1 New York Plaza in Lower Manhattan.

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The theme of this year’s symposium was “Rethinking Immigration and Integration Policies from a Global Perspective,” a message the bishop drove home in his opening remarks to a roomful of scholars and attorneys deeply immersed in immigration studies and research.

“We need an immigration system that recognizes the reality of globalization,” DiMarzio told his audience. “It is … crucially important that migration policies be part of an integrated approach to the conditions that cause people to uproot.”

He noted that in 2005, he was a member of the Global Commission on International Migration, which “considered … the role of the press in inciting hostility against migrants and refugees, concerns over whether irregular migration is a threat to state sovereignty, and the … challenge of creating diverse, cohesive and participatory societies.

“As you know,” DiMarzio added, “many of these issues have been prominent in U.N. and state discussions in the interim, including in our current presidential race.”

That comment was a not-so-veiled reference to statements made on the campaign trail by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump.


Clinton has consistently said in stump speeches that the U.S. needs “comprehensive immigration reform with a path to full and equal citizenship,” and has pledged not to deport any illegal immigrants except violent criminals and terrorists.

Meanwhile, Trump has steadfastly promised to deport millions of illegal immigrants from the U.S. and vows, if elected, to institute immigration reform that “serves the interests and values of America.”

Trump’s statements stand in stark contrast to the sentiments expressed by participants on a panel moderated by DiMarzio titled: “Revisiting Past Blue Ribbon Commissions on Immigration, Their Assumptions, Findings and Recommendations, and What Has Changed in the Interim.”

That group of immigration specialists cited such suggestions as offering blanket Temporary Protected Status to undocumented immigrants that would allow a path to citizenship, a temporary admissions plan for immigrants who would perform low-skilled services that can’t be provided in the U.S. otherwise and a flexible immigration quota system that would shorten interminably long waits to apply for U.S. citizenship.

DiMarzio, who has frequently testified on issues affecting migrants and immigrants before committees of the U.S. House of Representatives, concluded that in the future, the U.S. immigration system should “seek to maximize the benefits of globalization to the communities of origin, and to the migrants themselves.”

 


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