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Some thoughts on the immigration mess May 5, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic.
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As a Catholic, the immigration situation in this country is a very difficult one to deal with.  The new law in Arizona has generally been terribly misrepresented, by some within the Church and many without.  It’s very easy to condemn the actions of a state that is literally being overrun by immigrants, and I have been disappointed that some voices in the Church have allowed themselves to use ridiculous rhetoric to excoriate the citizens of Arizona or any other state that tries to address this issue. 

What does the Church say about immigration?  From the Catechism:

2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

So, the Church does not maintain that rich countries have an obligation to have open borders or to allow unlimited immigration.  I was very disappointed to hear Archbishop Dolan accuse Arizonans of being ‘anti-immigrant’ because of the law they passed, which does nothing more than seek to enforce existing federal law.  Cardinal Mahoney has gone off the rails on the issue.  Both men have misrepresented both the intent of the large majority of Americans (60%  support the Arizona law) as being ‘anti-immigration’ because they oppose unlimited and destructive illegal immigration.  I say it again, we are not required as Catholics to support unlimited immigration into our country or any other.  All nations have a right to set reasonable limits on immigration, and it is the solemn duty of any government to protect its citizens and its borders.  The federal government has not been doing either.

It’s very easy to sit in a comfortable chancery, in some cases thousands of miles from the problem, and cast judgement on the reasoned opinions of millions of your fellow citizens.  It’s very easy to ignore the problems that this influx of illegal immigration brings.  But the reality speaks for itself.  Ranchers are murderedRape is frequent.   Ranchers and others have to put up with their property being completly trashed by wave after wave of illegals walking through.  And we have a growing, militant group of illegals who threaten violence if they are not given not only citizen-ship on demand, but all the largesse of a rich society handed to them on a silver platter.  

Many people who want a major change in federal policy on illegal immigration seek the same thing – control the border.  Until the border is controlled, we can have no reasonable discussion on how to best address immigration in general.  It’s not helpful when leadership in the Church engages in demonization of those who have their lives turned upside down, who can’t even go out on their property for fear of being attacked, by illegal immigration.   This kind of rhetoric sure isn’t helping a situation that is not headed in any good direction: