The Catholic Church is consistent and forthright in support of migrants and refugees, calling on all the faithful to welcome and protect them.

In the Nativity story, the holy family became refugees when they fled to Egypt to escape Herod’s slaughter of the innocents.

In the Book of Exodus, the tribe of Israel flees Egypt and wanders in the desert for 40 years, refugees in search of the “Promised Land.”

In the past 200 years, there has been tremendous displacement and movement of people to America, which accepted millions of immigrants fleeing oppression in the 19th and 20th centuries. They came from Europe, including Italy, Ireland, Poland and Germany. Sometimes they faced resistance from those who feared their arrival or despised their religion. Most of today’s residents have stories of their ancestors seeking a better life for themselves and their children.

During his visit to the United States, Pope Francis spoke as a brother to people here. “We are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants,” he said.

U.S. bishops are following Catholic teaching and the example of the pope in welcoming migrants and refugees, in opposition to breaking up families.

U.S. senators and representatives should be encouraged to vote in support of the immigrants, some of whom have been here for many years, before it is too late.

Ronald Melendy, Auburn