Bishops call for action on immigration

Clergy, religious leaders, organizations, institutions and individuals have succeeded in expressing their outrage over the Trump administration’s policy of separating children of refugees fleeing poverty and violence, and attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexican border. On June 20, the president signed an executive order halting the separation policy, which took upwards of 2,000 children from their parents and placed them in tent camps.

The Catholic bishops throughout the U.S. spoke out strongly against the policy, stating that refugee children most certainly belong to their parents rather than the government or any other institution, calling the act of stealing them away from their parents a grave sin – immoral and evil.

The brokenness of our immigration system is a reality we can all agree upon. Policies enacted to separate families are not who we are as a nation, and it’s certainly not what we ever want to become. Immigration reform is the “can that has been kicked down the road” by many previous presidents and Congresses. Now is the time to create laws which answer the need to protect and control our borders, on the one hand, and acknowledge the needs of very poor and desperate people who are fleeing situations of injustice and suffering, on the other.

With one voice, the U.S. bishops continue to call upon Congress to finally resolve the pressing issue of immigration by creating a legal and expedient path to citizenship for those seeking a better life for their families. In welcoming the immigrant, the Catholic Church continues the work of charity and justice, which has enriched our country with people who have come here from all over the world, seeking to live in a democracy and make their own contribution to the common good.

We pray for our country. We pray for our legislators who struggle with the task of reforming a dysfunctional immigration system. And we pray for a lasting change that will only come when we start with our own transformation.

– Bishop Donald J. Hying,

Roman Catholic Diocese of Gary

Thanks for making scholarships possible

The Michigan City Lions Club recently concluded a successful “Pennies For Scholarships” campaign in which labeled containers were placed at numerous businesses, encouraging customers and friends to make donate their extra pennies, coins or bills to help provide a sizable one-year, non-renewable scholarship to a graduating student from each Michigan City high school. Thanks to the public’s generosity, each scholarship was valued at $2,500.

The Michigan City Lions Club gives thanks to these businesses that allowed us to solicit pennies, and to the many donors in the community for being a part of this scholarship fund drive: DeVries Tire, Hi-Lo Gas & Service, East Side Market, Department of Child Services, Koontz Wagner, Sophia’s Restaurant, Phillip’s 66 (South Franklin), Lucky Stop Gas, Virks as (Franklin), Green’s Gas (Franklin), 801 Restaurant, Marathon (Beverly Shores), Mucho Mas Restaurant, Hokkaido Restaurant, Top Dog Restaurant, Virk’s Gas (212 & 512), Marathon (Johnson Road), Beverly Shores Grocery, Galveston Steak House, Michigan City Public Library, Michigan City Senior Center, Fiddlehead Restaurant, Carlisle Funeral Home, Gallop Gas & Service (U.S. 20), Citgo (20 and Cleveland), Springville Petro, Murphy Gas at Walmart, Marathon (South Franklin), Trail Creek Gas & Grocery, DJ’s Gas & Service, PS Petro (Michigan Blvd.).

– Roger Potratz, Pennies for Scholarships chairman, Michigan City

Estate and gift tax cuts crucial for farmers

Congress plans to unveil a second phase of tax cuts by the end of the summer, which would make many of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s benefits permanent.

America’s farmers should rejoice. Under the new tax code, the estate- and gift-tax exemption for farm owners passing on land and other assets to heirs doubled to roughly $11.2 million an individual and $22.4 million per married couple.

This drastically reduced the number of farm owners who owe estate and gift taxes, which allows us to improve estate planning to keep farm operations in the hard-working families that built them and provide for local communities. When we pay less in federal taxes, we can focus on hiring more farm workers, investing in new machinery and equipment, implementing new technology to improve our environmental stewardship, and expanding operations to increase production of homegrown food, fuel and fiber. While the estate- and gift-tax exemptions are currently set to expire in 2025, congressional Republicans are working to make them permanent.

Like many farm owners across the country, we hope that these changes will be implemented.

– Mark and Sarah Mathe,

Mathe Farms, Ida, Michigan

 

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