PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It's a hot button issue, and now Bishop David Zubik is stepping into the immigration debate.
He is defending a local organization that is housing immigrant children while they await deportation hearings.
They are some 60,000 young immigrants from Central America looking for asylum or special status in the US.
And despite some criticism, the Holy Family institute in Emsworth will become a shelter for 20 of those kids at a time, to receive food, shelter, clothing and education. Today, Bishop David Zubik gave the institute his full support.
"It's absolutely the right thing to do," he said.
Holy Family will become a temporary home to refugees until the age of 12. From there, they will be placed with relative or foster families while they await deportation hearings, where their legal representative will make their case for asylum or special status.
Bishop Zubik says as a country of immigrants, we owe that to these kids.
"I would not be sitting here talking to you today if weren't for the fact that this country welcomed three of my four grandparents into this country," said Zubik. "And I think we just need to be careful that our vision doesn't become so narrow that we forget how we really got to be how we are here."
Even if some of the institute's neighbors say these kids are illegal immigrants and we should be taking care of our own.
"Don't we have enough kids here in Pennsylvania that need help," said one man. "Do you have to search to China, search to Haiti, have to search to South America to help our kids? I mean there are plenty of kids here in Pittsburgh."
"We have that obligation as a church, and I'm speaking for my own denomination, but also as a country to provide the same that was provided to us," said Zubik.
Whether legal or not, Bishop Zubic believes that these kids have a right under the law to make their case for asylum here in the Invested States.
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