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Bishop Vasa weighs in with a moderate voice on immigration May 18, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, Society.

I have read some good things about Bishop Robert Vasa of Bend, OR.  Some months ago, I did a post on his views on excommunication and the alternative magisterium it seems some of our priests and religious are trying to establish. 

Now, he has written a piece in his diocesan newspaper with a more moderate voice on immigration than we have heard recently from various cardinals and bishops.  In the closing paragraph, he states:

There is a form of injustice done to the American people when our borders are not respected but there is also a possibility that a grave injustice could be done to an undocumented worker if too harsh a solution is enacted. It is certainly not right for anyone to violate or seek to circumvent the immigration laws of this nation but unless we know all of the reasons and factors that led a person to the decision to come to this country or to remain illegally, I suggest that it is very dangerous for us to judge that person as a “criminal.” The issue of illegal residency in the United States is a most complex and troubling social reality. Very few of the slogans, pro or con, resonate with me. I do find, however, that thinking about real, identifiable people, concrete human persons and human families, makes it much easier to see that those who cross our borders or remain here illegally are not necessarily evil or wicked men or women but simply people with human aspirations and longings and dignity. Crossing a border illegally does not eliminate that person’s right to be treated as a brother or sister. Remaining in this country illegally does not eliminate that person’s human dignity.

I don’t fully agree with all Bishop Vasa says, but I respect his opinions, and I respect the fact that he did not call the people of Arizona “Nazi’s” or ‘modern day know-nothings’ for trying to gain some control over the rampant lawlessness they are enduring on their southern border.  I don’t think many people are talking about deporting the millions of illegal immigrants here presently – at least no one serious.  But at the same time, there seem to be few major voices who will recognize that the conditions on our southern border, with drug violence, military incursions, rape, kidnapping, and murder, are intolerable.  We can have a reasoned discussion about how to assimilate the millions of illegals – after the border situation is dealt with.  We can talk about how  many legal immigrants to allow a year – I’m sure most Americans would be ready to allow in an almost limitless number – after we get the border situation under control.  That must come first.  I don’t care if we build a fence, hire thousands more border agents, put up signs, or build a castle wall with a moat, there has to be some very reasonable method of providing for security along our southern border.  With the terrorist threats this nation lives with, and with Iran coming ever closer to possessing a nuclear weapons capability, leaving the border in its present chaos is a non-starter.  But that’s just my opinion.

In the meantime, perhaps we can follow the example of Bishop Vasa and Archbishop Chaput and tone down the rhetoric a bit.  Bishops and cardinals jumping up and down and using inflammatory rhetoric isn’t good for the immigration debate, or for the Church.

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