LOS ANGELES --
Like his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, Los Angeles Catholic Archbishop Jose Gomez is outspoken on the issue of immigration. The native of Monterrey, Mexico, has a new book out that stresses the role immigrants have played in the building of America."The fact is our immigration system is broken," said Gomez. In his book, "Immigration and the Next America," Gomez talks about how different cultures came to this country and made it what it is today. "We need to reflect on who we are to be able to make the American dream a reality for the future," said Gomez. He says what this country is going through now has happened before back in the late 1800s when people from Eastern Europe came to the U.S., and he says there was a similar sentiment against the new immigrants. "Sometimes we are afraid. There is fear. Who are these people and why are they here? Once we get to know them, then everything becomes normal," said Gomez.
He says the immigration bill passed by the Senate is a good start and that there needs to be a pathway to citizenship.
"Because if not, then we will create an underclass and that's not what this country is all about," said Gomez.
Gomez believes countries have the right to protect their borders, but doesn't understand the idea of a border fence that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. He says it would be better to help other countries improve their economies.
"Immigration is a global fact. It's not going to change. People are going to keep moving, especially now with the means of transportation. So it seems to me the United States can help other countries to have better immigration systems," said Gomez.
This Sunday, Gomez will hold a special mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of The Angels to celebrate immigration. It will include hundreds of people from different nations who will tell their stories of America.