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May 10, 2005

Comments

Dan M

Church teaching cannot obligate a country to irresponsibly allow in vast numbers of immigrants, which cause social upheaval, budgetary deficiencies, and cultural confusion. Which is why the Pope recently stated that TURKEY should be PROHIBITED from entering the EU.

How is it licit for the Pope to seek to bar the entry of Muslims to Europe, whereas American Bishops seek to open our borders, during a time of war.

"Justice for immigrants..." Why aren't the Bishops demanding the imposition of Capitalism for the socialist havens these people are desperately trying to flee.

In fact, the bishops would better spend their time trying to modernize the economies and socities of just about all the countries south of the Rio Grande. Instead of grandstanding and urging the United States to open her borders.

News flash for the Bishops, WE ARE IN A WAR. Our enemy RELIES upon clandestine infiltration. And we have already been attacked BY ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS in our midst.

At this time, to suggest opening the door farther, is MORALLY reckless. Not to mention strategically brain dead.

A discreet number of immigrants, carefully vetted, and thoroughly checked is appropriate.

Anything beyond that, irresponsible.
First, lets win the war, THEN we can revisit the issue of immigration.

The Bishops ought to go read MEXIFORNIA, by Victor Davis Hanson.

The Church is falling apart, the seminaries are rife with Leftists, nobody wants to be a nun, and instead of addressing those desperate problems, the Bishops decide the time ripe for a "Justice for immigrants" campaign.

It's surreal. Nothing less than surreal.

Jimmy Huck

Dan M - Calm down, man. Just because there is a "war" on (and even that has moral questions attached to it for Catholics), doesn't mean our Christian obligations to work towards justice for those in need of it diminish. I say, what better time for the Bishops to come to the aid of a defenseless group than precisely when they are targeted and tarnished by nativist, hostile forces.

You advise the Bishops to read Mexifornia by Victor Davis Hansen.

I would like to advise you to read Economic Justice for All by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Mark

I'm sorry, but would someone please discuss THE MORAL OBLIGATIONS OF THE IMMIGRANTS, in addition to our moral obligations in the nations to which they wish to emigrate? Or is it a one-way street?

Except in those extreme instances of great oppression, genocide, etc., do not individuals, including immigrants, have a moral obligation to STAY in their native countries and work to improve the conditions there, rather than abandoning their fellow citizens to hardship, while they go to some other country, be it the United States or some European country? Don't immigrants also have an obligation to be their brother's keeper, to stay home and work to change their own governments and economic systems so that everyone prospers in their home countries, rather than go somewhere else to be a leech on some other country? Or are we the only ones who are so obligated?

There is absolutely no reason that countries like Mexico or Central American countries cannot be booming economic powerhouses, if only their most talented would STAY THERE and change things there, rather than come here and demand changes. And don't we have a moral obligation, instead of letting everyone in, to demand that these native countries change their systems and improve their conditions? We are doing a great disservice to immigrants and their fellow countrymen who stay home by not demanding that they all stay home and devote their energies to improving conditions there.

Dan M

Mark gets it.

Why not begin the discussion with the obligations they have to stay and better their country, instead of fleeing, and leaving it, well, a @#$%hole.

There is no compelling reason their countries are dumps. History has revealed the way out of poverty, CAPITALISM, not the whifty 3d way peddled by the Bishops.

The Bishops have started the dialogue accepting as a given the would be immigrants RIGHT to get into our country. They have no such entitlement. And initiating the discussion with a pervasive sense of aggrieved entitlement is hardly conducive to reaching an appropriate solution.

Jimmy, I read Centesimus Annus, it looks like the Bishops didn't. And I don't need any tutorial in economic matters from Bishops, who were never even taught the subject in the seminaries.

That's another subject that needs to be remedied, besides purging the seminaries of the Leftists and worse, initiate a GENUINE economic and business program. Get them reading Hayek, Friedmann, Von Mises. Instead of Liberation Theology, which many sadly haven't give up on.

The 3d way is DEAD. It was always illusory.

Dan M

Mark,

Another issue for discussion: whether Europeans are obligated to allow muslim immigration. Or are they permitted to entirely prohibit MUSLIM immigration, due to the social and cultural upheaval that would result.

I'd like to see the Bishops commence that discussion.

They would get it wrong. That's safe to say.

Western Europe might very well replicate the history of the Byzantine Empire.

DBI

I'm bothered by the manipulative and deliberate dishonesty in statements such as: "Citing reasons as broad as Catholic teaching about the right to migrate to improve one's life". This is a campaign to mislead. There has been an upsurge of articles and columns in our local diocesan paper on the subject - all circumventing the truth, all written by priests and sisters. One priest even misrepresented individual popes on the subject. He also cited "the right to migrate", saying the Catechism requires us to accept illegal entrants; he didn't say there is a right to migrate LEGALLY. The Catechism says: "Political authorities, for the sake of the common good...may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward the 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." CCC2241

Sonetka

Oh lord. Part of me is sympathetic - yes, illegals live horrible lives and they didn't come here because they were bored of living in the lap of luxury at home. On the other hand, doesn't Mexico have its own bishops? What about all the countries in South America - do their bishops have any thoughts on this subject? Why do the American bishops seem to feel that the US is the only country with any kind of responsibilities here?

I think part of what exasperates me in general on this issue is that people tend to act like we're the only country on the planet that has an illegal immigration problem, and furthermore that we're OMGVICIOUSANDAWFUL for saying things like "Uh, maybe tuition breaks for illegal immigrants aren't the best thing." (Try being in Russia, for example, without the proper paperwork - or rather, try putting your life back together after you get booted out of the country and stripped of any cash you might have in order to involve a lengthy jail term). The bishops - from the material, which isn't very specific - seem to be buying into this ooh-aren't-we-awful view. Frankly, they could make better use of their time. (And again, maybe talk to the South American bishops - just an idea).

Jimmy - whether agreed with or not, there is a war on. I mean, my brothers aren't getting shot at by figments of their imagination.

Sonetka

Sorry - "involve" should have been "avoid." Don't know where my vocabulary is tonight.

Joan M.

"Another issue for discussion: whether Europeans are obligated to allow muslim immigration."

Or whether Israel has a legitimate right, to be respected by the Bishops, to restrict non-Jewish immigration, in order to maintain its character as Jewish.

Mark

""Another issue for discussion: whether Europeans are obligated to allow muslim immigration."

Or whether Israel has a legitimate right, to be respected by the Bishops, to restrict non-Jewish immigration, in order to maintain its character as Jewish."

Not to go too off-topic, but I wonder if Christians have a right to migrate to the Holy Land and overwhelm the people there and demand to be accommodated. Or would they be called evil Crusaders who are obligated to stay home?

Jimmy Huck

I have a feeling, as a liberal Catholic, that I am about to get a revealing glimpse into the feelings of conservative, orthodox Catholics regarding their obedience to Church leadership on this social justice issue.

I will be watching not only to see who comments on this subject in conformity with our Catholic leadership, but also who keeps quiet.

I am grateful to Amy for posting on her blog a Catholic initiative that might well be classified a politically "liberal" one.

Will loyalty to Chuch leadership on this issue trump conservative political ideology?

Dan M

Joan,

agreed.

I completely concur, Israel has the right, {indeed the obligation} to remain JEWISH, to remain the ark of survival for the Jewish people.

For the life of me, I don't understand the flirtation with the PLO.

Christians are fleeing Bethlehem, and yet instead of denouncing Palestinian terror, they castigate the Israelis, who are fighting for their lives.

The position the Pope takes on Turkey entering the EU, and how strenuously he fights to keep the Muslims on the outside, will prove one of the more interesting decisions he makes in his Pontificate.

How can he simultaneously strive to restore a CATHOLIC core to Europe, while standing by while millions of Muslims pour over their borders.

mark j

uh oh, looks like the lidless eye is watching us all.

Dan M

The conference of American Bishops hardly speaks definitively on the issue. They don't have the authority.

The only authority they have on this matter, is the ability to go off and grandstand, to the adulation of Catholics like little Jimmy here.

That's it. No crisis of authority, no challenge to the Faithful.

Richard

Hello folks,

This is a hot button one, sure to inspire another long thread at Mistress Amy's.

It's a tough one because while many of us no doubt have concerns about immigration, it is also harder to thinkof many clearer applications of the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Down here in Naples (one of the wealthiest cities in the nation), there's a community several miles inland called Immokalee. It's desperately poor, mostly populated by Guatemalans, Mexians, Haitians, and Central Americans. Many live in shacks that cannot possibly pass code. Here at Ave Maria we organize Habitat for HUmanity to build houses out there on Saturdays, but it's really just like bailing water out of the Titanic.

I was told a sobering item: that for many in Central America, "Immokalee" is a magical totem of hope for many back in Central America. That's how bad it is, seemingly, back home.

Nonetheless, these immigrants work out in the tomato and orange fields working for peanuts and no benefits. The reality is inescapable: They're being exploited. Cesar Chavez, where are you when we need you?

And that's the problem with mass immigration such as we have: It's the worst of all worlds, because most in power look the other way when millions of illegal immigranst enter the country, because one party hopes to make them voters, and the other party has wealthy donors who like the cheap, cheap, cheap labor pool.

Meanwhile immigrants are uprooted from their homes, families and cultures to work for slave wages in United States, where they labor int he shadows of affluence and get looks of disdain if they're lucky. And those are the ones lucky enough not to die in the desert or of suffucation in the back of a coyote truck crammed with hundreds.

This country needs a serious, credible immigration policy. It does not have one.

ideally we would require businesses to prove citizenship or green card status and pay these people real wages, deduct for social security, and benefits and fine the daylights of them if they didn't. But then if they did that, the jobs would dry up. Their labor is only wanted if it's dirt cherap.

Jimmy Huck

"Jimmy - whether agreed with or not, there is a war on. I mean, my brothers aren't getting shot at by figments of their imagination."

Sonetka - I'm sorry that your brothers are being shot at. I imagine that they are also doing some shooting, too. This whole war is tragic and it goes against the whole idea of a culture of life. PJPII came out strongly against it. But the person who paints your house, washes the dirty dishes you eat off of in restaurants, or picks the strawberries you buy in the grocery store is not your enemy, but your friend. Why are you so averse to helping them live a life of dignity? Immigrants are not asking for a handout, but simply want a chance to work hard to scrape together a dignified life in the United States because it is the place where their labor is needed and where the options for realizing a dignified life lie. I just don't understand the hostility and fear.

Jimmy Huck

"ideally we would require businesses to prove citizenship or green card status and pay these people real wages, deduct for social security, and benefits and fine the daylights of them if they didn't. But then if they did that, the jobs would dry up. Their labor is only wanted if it's dirt cherap."

Let me tell you another little secret of exploitation that punishes immigrants and lets businesses off the hook. Most businesses do demand proof of ability to work in the US. They ask for social security cards. And illegal immigrants are happy to provide them with one, albeit a fake one, which the employer knows all-too-well that it is fake. But, hey, employers can't be expected to really make sure that all SS#s are legitimate now, can they? So, what happens? Immigrants work under a fake SS#, employers stay "legit" as long as they deduct and pay the appropriate payroll taxes to Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam collects these taxes, hordes them in the US Treasury Social Security Trust Fund, and keeps them to pay out to legal citizens via Social Security retirement payments. So, there is a clear redistribution of tax wealth going on here, and it is the illegal immigrant who is subsidizing the US citizen taxpayer (not the other way around). Illegal immigrants will NEVER collect on the taxes they pay into Social Security because, well, they are illegal! It is one of the biggest and most unjust exploitation scams of a helpless, hard-working group of people that I have ever seen.

Mark

Where is a liberation theologian when you need one???? If it is bad at home, change it! Throw off your oppressive government and create a new and more just society. Don't abandon your people and run away to another country.

Dan M

So if you desire that the border be maintained as a genuine border, you must be motivated by "hostility and fear."

This is just par for the course for a liberal. The decision he reaches is motivated by the heights of justice, and the demands of humanity. Thus any position contrary, must be motivated by bad faith, "hositlity," "fear" and irrationality.

It couldn't possibly be the case that those of us who desire their countries of orgins to be cleaned up, and become prosperous, are motivated by anything other than naked "hostility" and irrational "fear."

Caricatures masquerading as reasoned conclusions are an insufficient answer to our immigration problems.

Please read MEXIFORNIA.

There is more morality within that slender book, than in all of the grandstanding on this issue.

Sonetka

Jimmy - where did I say I was afraid of illegal immigrants and was averse to letting them live in dignity? I said that I dislike the implication that somehow the whole thing is the ENTIRE responsibility of the US, and from what I can see of what's released so far, the US Bishops sure as hell aren't calling on the countries that these people come from to maybe look into WHY their citizens are driven to cross a distant border so they can wash dishes and pick strawberries. As it is, it looks like it will be the usual exercise in wringing our hands ineffectually over how bad we are.

And yes, my brothers have shot and been shot at. I know what JPII said about the war (though I note he did not forbid Catholic soldiers to fight in it). It was just that by placing "war" in sneer quotes you did seem to be implying that it was somehow not a "real" war that had to be taken into consideration. Sanctioned by the UN or not, it's a war.

Dan M

There was a story of a woman, who was just brutally raped and killed by an immigrant, an illegal immigrant. It happened in New York I believe, the illegal took her phone, and started calling her close friends and family members boasting of what he did to the victim.

A full THIRD of those in our prisons today, are illegals.

An interesting little stat, don't you think. Jail space is at a premium, yet a full third of that space is taken up providing for foreigners.

Or is simply pointing that out another bit of evidence of "hostility" and "fear."

Since when is maintaining the border, a demonstration of hostility towards the dignity of would be immigrants.

That's a non-sequitur.

None of us need to be reminded of what Central Americans are going through. We know. And that's why we aspire towards a permanent solution, instead of this protracted misery of the present policy, which is allow im immigrants, who prop up failed states with remittances.

There is a better way.

Close the borders, exert pressure upon those states to remove all vestiges of socialism from their economies.
Put an end to corruption, and create a state of legal stablity, where laws are known, and companies have recourse to courts.

It's not rocket science, except for the Bishops, and the Left.

Neil

What are our responsibilities to migrants? I believe that many of the above comments are misleading.

I'm running rather short on time, so let me quote a few paragraphs from an article by William O'Neill, SJ and William Spohn ("Rights of Passage: The Ethics of Immigration and Refugee Policy," Theological Studies 59 [1998]):

"In modern Catholic social teaching, the legitimate sovereignty of states in regulating immigration serves the global common good. This means that states are morally bound to respect and promote the basic human rights of both citizen and resident alien, especially the most vulnerable. Persons are entitled to be treated in accordance with their equal dignity. Such respect justifies preferential attention to those whose basic rights are most systemically imperilled, such as refugees, migrants, and of these, women and children in particular, who are especially vulnerable to exploitation. Pacem in Terris thus affirms not only the commonly recognized right to emigrate, but the right to immigrate as well: 'when there are just reasons for it,' every human being has 'the right to emigrate to other countries and to take up residence there.' The loss of citizenship 'does not detract in any way from [one's] membership in the human family as a whole, nor from [one's] citizenship in the world community.' (n25) ...

"In addition, the Catholic Church recognizes persons' right to change nationality for social and economic as well as political reasons. In view of the 'common purpose of created things [and the mutually implicatory character of basic positive and negative rights], where a state which suffers from poverty combined with great population cannot supply such use of goods to its inhabitants . . . people possess a right to emigrate, to select a new home in foreign lands and to seek conditions of life worthy' of their common humanity (Instruction on the Pastoral Care of People Who Migrate no. 14). Paul VI thus urgued acceptance of 'a charter which will assure [persons'] right to emigrate, favor their integration, facilitate their professional advancement, and give them access to decent housing where their families can join them.' (Octogesima adveniens no. 17) ..."

We can say, then, that states must offer asylum to those whose political rights have been threatened, and also "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" (CCC 2241). Now, can one really say that the United States welcomes the foreigner to the extent that it is able, or are we grossly violating the "common purpose of created things"? Remember, St Thomas writes, "a rich man does not act unlawfully if he anticipates someone in taking possession of something which at first was common property, and gives others a share: but he sins if he excludes others indiscriminately" (ST II.II.q77a2).

O'Neill and Spohn remind us that welcoming the stranger is a practice of great spiritual importance, "since Leviticus reminds us, 'The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God' (Lev 19:34). Loving the resident alien thus becomes the reenactment of the Exodus story and the revelation of Israel's identity. So too, the Christian follows Jesus' exodus to the Father by becoming neighbor to the anawim in the way (hodos) of discipleship (Luke 10:33)."

I would like to end by quoting the late John Paul II (Annual Message for World Migration Day 1996), who spoke rather similarly:

"For Christians, the migrant is not merely an individual to be respected in accordance with the norms established by law, but a person whose presence challenges them and whose needs become an obligation for their responsibility. 'What have you done to your brother?' (Cf. Gen 4:9). The answer should not be limited to what is imposed by law, but should be made in the manner of solidarity. ... Man, particularly if he is weak, defenseless, driven to the margins of society, is a sacrament of Christ's presence (cf. Mt 25:40, 45)."

It would seem that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is acting in accordance with Catholic tradition. May God bless the Conference's efforts.

Thanks.

Neil

Dan M

Sonetka.

He raised a strawman, for that was easier for him to deal with.

You might like to read David Horowitz's THE POLITICS OF BAD FAITH.

If you had, you would know why Jimmy immediately branded those who desire to maintain a border as being those motivated by "hostility" and "fear."

It's a great book.

Richard

Hello Jimmy.

So, there is a clear redistribution of tax wealth going on here, and it is the illegal immigrant who is subsidizing the US citizen taxpayer (not the other way around). Illegal immigrants will NEVER collect on the taxes they pay into Social Security because, well, they are illegal! It is one of the biggest and most unjust exploitation scams of a helpless, hard-working group of people that I have ever seen.

We're in full agreement here.

Illegals get the shaft every way you can imagine.

Businesses just shrug about the whole thing because INS doesn't enforce it, doesn't have the resources to enforce it, and even when they do, the fines are paltry.

The border needs to be secured if for no other reason than to stop the prospect of immigrants dying in dangerous conditions crossing the desert or packed in trucks. But a real immigration policy would really zero in on making life heck for employers - and this includes nieghbor Joe next door who pays illegals to nanny his kids or mow his law or clean his pool - who exploit illegal labor.

I'm willing to pay a little more for oranges or tomatoes at the store if it means agricultural workers get paid a decent wage.

James Freeman

Or, could we argue that the Catholic bishops are, in effect, supporting the exploitation of BOTH illegal immigrants AND working-class Americans (and working-class *legal* immigrants). In other words, the undocumented are easy to exploit, and that drives down wages for everybody. See the linked Financial Times article:

http://news.ft.com/cms/s/c903949a-c176-11d9-943f-00000e2511c8.html

So much for Rerum Novarum, eh?

Dan M

"[W]elcoming the stranger," is that what the European should do, "welcome the [muslim] stranger."

Even if that risks sectarian strife.

Even if that means that Christian Europe might cease to exist.

Mark Shea

Jimmy:

Yes, indeed you will see ideology trump the teaching of the Church on this one.

I'm still puzzling on where the bishops were calling for illegal immigration.

Oh, never mind, Dan just knows that's that's what they mean. And he's not afraid to back it up with a heap of insults for the bishops for their stupid notion that rich nations have an obligation to help the poor. More socialist crap from Jesus of Nazareth.

Perhaps after the bishops implement Dan's ideas for transforming the Church into a Police State, they can then help to transform the US into a police state.

Sheesh!

Mark Shea

Dan:

As you have already made clear that the Catechism is to be rejected when it clashes with your ideology, I suppose it's just consistency for you to also spit on the biblical admonition to welcome the stranger when *that* clashes with your ideology.

It's so heartwarming to see Progressives and Reactionaries heap the same contempt on the Faith when it asks them to do things that make them uncomfortable. How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity.

Sonetka

Mark - I'm not with Dan at all on this one, but I still don't like what the bishops are doing. They seem to just be gearing up to another soft-serve guiltapalooza; I can't figure out what on earth they want people to actually, constructively *do*. And I get slightly spooked when they're wringing their hands about how horrible things are because "citizens are trying to enforce immigration law." I mean, why the hell can't they get this riled up about stuff like abortion?

Bill H

Which is why the Pope recently stated that TURKEY should be PROHIBITED from entering the EU.

And yet, oddly, he didn't raise the same objections to Poland, which, in terms of religion, per-capita GDP and land border sharingness, seems to be a much more relevant comparison to Mexico than Turkey.

Nancy

I went recently to San Diego, to visit family.

It is a lovely city, encircling Mission Bay, a beautiful inlet in the blue blue Pacific Ocean. One city, a visitor from outer space would say.

But there's this odd feature. At a certain point, seemingly arbitrary, suddenly the economic well-being of the inhabitants of this beautiful place takes a nose dive. That's at the interntional border, where San Diego becomes Tijuana.

So long as this is true, so long as life is as difficult as it can be in Mexico, just so long will there be illegal immigration across that border.

Notice that the border between the US and Canada, probably the longest unpatrolled border in the world, sees very few people illegally immigrating to the US. Why? Because life is quite pleasant in Canada, or so I hear. When life becomes quite pleasant for the ordinary person in Mexico and points south, we can look for this problem to evaporate.

Perhaps the Church - surely there are bishops in Mexico? - might give this some thought, instead of blaming us for this.

Robert Wooten

I was waiting for this topic to come up when I first heard rumblings of an immigration statement forthcoming from the Bishops. I don't want to get into arguments,and probably won't post on this topic again, but I ran across an article which I think offers food for thought on this subject. Check it out if you feel so inclined. I happen to agree with it. http://www.vdare.com/zmirak/catholic_church.htm

Robert

Steve Jackson

So now the US Bishops are telling us we need more immigration to have "cultural diversity"? In case the bishops don't know, the must "culturally diverse" places in the US tend to be the most pro-abortion, etc. Just look at the two majority minority states - California and Hawaii - both as liberal as you can imagine.

Ratzinger is right on the mark -- the "cultural diversity" that Moslems will provide to Europe is not going to help Europe's decline.

Also, the majority of our immigrants are Hispanics, who have much higher rates than Anglos of divorce, abortion, illegitimacy (40%) and the like. It's a complete myth that immigrants have better "family values" than the natives.

Immigrants also have high rates of welfare dependency, contrary to the claim that they are all coming here to work.

Jay Anderson

I will be watching not only to see who comments on this subject in conformity with our Catholic leadership, but also who keeps quiet.

Are you taking names? Going to report folks to the social justice office at the USCCB?

I had intended to be one of those who "keeps quiet" on this issue until I read Jimmy Huck's statement. I don't intend to post anything other than this response.

brent

Oh no! Jose and Maria are coming across the border to mow our lawns and ask us if we want fries with that, what are we going to do?

I know there are problems with our current immigration system but I think on the whole immigrants are good for the country. They have families, work jobs, and move into depressed areas. If they take they opportunities provided to them they can have a great life. Or maybe I feel that way because I am an evil conservative Republican who just wants cheap labor.

The fact that some people are less than thrilled with immigration is not the most pressing issue facing the Catholic church. Maybe the Bishops should take the money they are using on that campaign and the death penalty project and use the money to tell Catholics to stop sinning to help them find eternal peace.

WRY

It's so simple: immigrants are your brothers and sisters in Christ. They deserve food and shelter and a chance to make a living. They're Catholic Christians, moreover, for the large part. Why should any Catholic have a problem with their arrival? I just don't get it. And as for "cultural swamping" issue, I've seen this stuff on the front line as a police reporter who often visited Hispanic neighborhoods. I can assure you that the kids know English and are becoming quite American, thank you! But even if they didn't, I see nowhere in the Gospel where we are commanded to place some sort of "national culture" above the concept of justice. Isn't that what the story of the good samaritan is all about?
As for staying and changing the system - gimme a break! The people who sneak across borders are not the people who have power in their home country and couldn't change diddly-squat. That's like asking some homeless man to "stay on the street and change the system." Fat chance.
And there's this too: visit any construction site, anyplace at all where the hard work of America is being done, and you will see brown faces and hear spanish. They're building our country so we can sit in front of a computer and type!


Richard

Or, could we argue that the Catholic bishops are, in effect, supporting the exploitation of BOTH illegal immigrants AND working-class Americans (and working-class *legal* immigrants).

That's a good point as well.

It's a major factor in wage stagnation in the U.S. over the last two decades.

No complaints from U.S. businesses.

WRY

Nancy,
You're spot-on about the solution being an improvement in Mexican economic conditions. Until that happens I think we have the obligation to "help the stranger," but those who worry about immigration should focus on making sure we (i.e, America) has policies that will help build the Mexican economy. Not to mention that it is good economic sense for us to have a prosperous foreign market to the south rather than a poor one.

B Knotts

The argument from the bishops seems to be that the Catechism forbids the enforcement of immigration law.

I'm not sure I accept that premise.

We need to treat immigrants compassionately, yes. But there also need to be reasonable controls in place to restore some sort of order to the immigration process.

The law must be just, but the bishops don't seem to be pointing out any particularly unjust aspects of the law.

It doesn't seem to me that the immigration limits the U.S. consitute an "undue burden." Am I off base?

Christopher Rake

Catholics choose which teachings to obey. The bishops choose which laws to obey. There's a nice symmetry to it anyway.

B Knotts

Another related topic the bishops could mention is the racism in Mexico that in many cases contributes to the migration of workers, and keeps Mexico from becoming a more prosperous nation.

Tim F.

" They're Catholic Christians, moreover, for the large part." That would be a a smaller and smaller part. More likely Pentacostal or Bautista.

It's pretty clear the bishops are not 'for' illegal immigration. They are for all immigration being legal. Open borders is what they want. In my prudential opinion, they are full of it.

Mary

"And we have already been attacked BY ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS in our midst"

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Sept. 11th terrorists were here legally on student visas (some of them had expired, yes, but even after the attacks the INS approved renewed visas for them they'd applied for before the attacks).

"Except in those extreme instances of great oppression, genocide, etc., do not individuals, including immigrants, have a moral obligation to STAY in their native countries and work to improve the conditions there, rather than abandoning their fellow citizens to hardship"

OK, so I guess we shouldn't have allowed in the Irish during the Century of Immigration, or the Germans, or the Eastern Europeans? I mean, they were simplying starving and had no jobs - they should have stayed. Some of them came over illegally.

These people have a God-given right to a life free of conditions that are sins against humanity (extreme poverty being one of them). And in case you know nothing about Central and South American life, many of the countries are ruled by very violent men. They are being oppressed.

Sure, people who stay and who work for better conditions should be commended and supported. But when you have a wife and 3 or 4 kids to support, that's not what you're worried about. You're worried about feeding them, providing them shelter - and that means a steady job. And if you know anything about immigration history, you know immigrants create more jobs than they take - thus improving our economy as a whole.

As an American, I am a great supporter of capitalism myself, but surely everyone knows neither Pope John Paul II nor (apparently) Pope Benedict XVI (when he was Cardinal Ratzinger) has held up capitalism as an error-free economic system. There are problems with it.

Additionally, most of the immigrants we're talking about here are Catholics. Do we as Catholics have an obligation to our fellow Catholics to help them when they're being oppressed?

As Catholics, immigration is an issue where lots of reign is given for people to differ. But don't dismiss this proposal out of hand because the Republican Party out of hand. We are Catholics first, everything else second.

Mary

Woops. Second "out of hand" should be "may not like it."

S.F.

It's sad to see our shepherds turning themselves into just another special interest group. Despite the hysterics of Famous Blogger Catholic [TM], I think most Catholics, and I assume all here, welcome the immigrant and wish to practice the Biblical command to welcome the stranger. This does not mean that immigration is a free-for-all and it doesn't mean that immigration isn't threatful in some respects. But, oh, I forgot. I'm just a layperson. I'm not smart enough to think about these things. Sorry. How could I dare to think that Theodore McCarrick doesn't know more about it than any of us could. Please forgive me. Here's what I believe:

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.

annie t.

If the masses of Latin and South Americans coming into the US were practicing Muslims, I doubt the Church would be as concerned. The fact is that most of these people are Catholic and it is a good way to fill up their churches.

S.F.

One other thing. Regarding Victor Davis Hanson. Some may easily dismiss him without reading it. But his arguments are as much concerned with the raw deal the immigrants are getting under the current system also. But, hey, what's actually thinking about the problems, when accusing others of not caring is so much easier. Doesn't take as much time and you get that smug self-righteous feeling, too.

B Knotts

S.F.,

I think you've hit the nail on the head, regarding what it is about this that seems frankly offensive: it is the self-satisfied smugness with which any concerns over illegal immigration are dismissed.

Although, frankly, with the vague statements and unfinished web site, it's kind of hard to tell just what the USCCB position is.

A properly reformed and enforced system of immigration law protects everyone: citizen and immigrant alike.

Rick

It's a major factor in wage stagnation in the U.S. over the last two decades.

Yes.

There is a seeming tension between liberal immigration policy and the requirement of employers / authorities to ensure a just wage.

How are Catholics to pursue both simultaneously? Which takes precedence?

It is ironic that vigorous enactment and enforcement of just wage legislation would deter immigrants far more effectively than an aggressive Border Control.


Jimmy Huck

"He raised a strawman, for that was easier for him to deal with."

I raised a strawman? Moi? Newsflash for the dense: I didn't throw out the whole "we have a war going on" mantra. Now THAT is a straw man if I ever saw one.

Frank Banecker

The bishops continue to generate laughter, albiet, in this case, that of the bittersweet variety. In the middle of a pedophilia scandal, an ongoing vocation crises, and increasing homosexuality in the priesthood (see Donald Cozzens on that last point), the bishops find it compellingly necessary to opine about.....immigration policy? These guys put the "A" in assinine.

Why do people pour into America from Mexico? Because Mexico continues to wallow in socialistic decay. Mexico and its neighbors need economic reform, and it would behoove the bishops to insist on that, rather than to guilt-trip American Catholics into accepting a more liberal approach to immigration. I find it appalling that Cardinal McCarrick would actually say, "Anti-immigrant fervor on TV and radio shows, citizens attempting to enforce immigration laws, and, most disturbingly, the enactment of restrictive immigration laws are evidence of this negative public environment." Most distubingly, eh? I suppose the good Cardinal has never heard of terrorists using our current LACK of enforcement as a way to attack our country. What an unmitigated fool.

If the bishops want to busy themselves with "reform" then perhaps they can turn their attention to where it belongs: the Church itself. I suppose however, this is far too much to ask.

I can't wait for the ageing hippies running the Church to leave the stage. They are at last in the autumn of their decadance, and we are now witnessing the sad death throes of a rather pathetic generation of leadership. A statement on immigration policy?! By a group of luxuriating, out-of-touch-with-reality clerics?! You just can't make this stuff up.

c matt

Well, fact of the matter is, we have had illegal immigration from south of the border since Texas and California first became states. Jose and Juan did not pilot the planes that hit the towers.

The exploitation is double fisted - and both political parties favor it, albeit for different reasons (what makes you think the GOP is against it? Reagan/Bush I pushed amnesty in '86, and Bush II is pushing the same thing now). As for making things better in home countries, the US and its multinationals also have their fingers in many foreign pies, so its not just the locals they are fighting (Dole Fruit Co. for instance, has a vested interest in many foreign crop lands where cost to produce and environmental regulations are a bit more lax than in the US). To believe that the US policies have no influence on what happens with these foreign economies is naive at best. Thus, if you truly want to solve immigration problems, your policies have to take into account such effect.

Don't worry, at the rate US jobs are being outsourced, we'll all be moving to India soon.

Jimmy Huck

"Are you taking names? Going to report folks to the social justice office at the USCCB?"

Ha! That's a good one. I'm just an average Joe (well, Jim, to be more precise). Don't worry, you can ignore me without running the risk of being excommunicated or labelled un-Catholic. But, yes, I am indeed taking names. Only for myself, though, and just out of curiosity. Is there some sin in that?

Jimmy Huck

"I mean, why the hell can't they get this riled up about stuff like abortion?"

Sonetka - With all due respect, where have you been the past 20+ years. Not all riled up about abortion!?! I would say that what the Bishops had to say about John Kerry and those (un)Catholics who thought to vote for him had infinitely much more to do with Kerry's position on abortion than on Kerry's stance regarding illegal immigration policy. And don't forget PJPII's successful and focused campaign on behalf of the "Culture of Life." I'd say the Catholic Church and the US Bishops have been much more riled up about abortion than about illegal immigration. It is a jaw-dropping stunner that you would believe the reverse.

Peggy

The bishops needs something better to do like fix up the liturgy or advocate openly for the lives of people like Terri Schiavo.

Illegal immigration has created social disharmony, crime and violence [google MS 13 in Northern Va]. It has lowered wages for unskilled laborers--citizens. Almost every week I am behind Latinos in the supermarket line with numerous welfare or WIC checks to cash. I've never seen anything like it. I have no problem with legal immigration and immigrants demonstrating an ability to provide for themselves and their family once in the US.

J B

"Why do people pour into America from Mexico? Because Mexico continues to wallow in socialistic decay."

This is a gross misrepresentation (or misunderstanding) of (a) the reigning political dynamics in Mexico, and (b) the causes of migration.

Regarding (a): Vicente Fox, president since 2000, is a member of the conservative, pro-business party (the PAN) in Mexico. Prior to Fox, the center-right PRI oversaw a decade of intense deregulation and privatization -two pet causes of pro-capitalists. In Mexico, socialism is the exception, not the rule --and has been for quite a while.

Regarding (b): What has happened in Mexico in the age of NAFTA? Small farmers were squeezed out by agribusiness and land was (is) increasingly "privatized", i.e., concentrated in the hands of multinational corporations. Creating an ever-larger class of landless, powerless people is not a winning recipe for reducing migration to the U.S. Unrestrained capitalist reforms --because they tend to reinforce patterns of social and economic inequality, and encourage economic ties between the two countries-- *induces* migration, regardless of whether or not it's declared to be legal by the state. The flow of money, goods and services across borders produces (or strengthens) a concomitant flow of people.

Mark

Again, I'm reading a lot of comments, as I have for years, regarding OUR moral obligations toward immigrants. I accept those obligations, especially from those places that are truly oppressive. I've long advocated an open door policy for those people from Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, communist Europe and China, and places like Rwanda, where genocide occurs. With respect to those places, anyone and everyone is welcome as far as I am concerned, and we will shelter them.

But almost no one, here or elsewhere, ever discusses the MORAL OBLIGATIONS OF THE IMMIGRANTS THEMSELVES. Surely they too have some obligations in this regard? Surely they are not morally free to do whatever they want, while we are the only ones with obligations?

Again, I would think that if there were hardships and economic misfortune in MY country, that my moral obligation would be to STAY THERE and work to change and improve my own country, before abandoning my people to go somewhere else. How are things ever going to improve in Mexico, Central America, and elsewhere if all their good people are running to other countries?

To be sure, THERE ARE hardships in my country, including what is, for all intents and purposes, genocide. Over 40 million human beings have been butchered over the last 30 years, and a few weeks ago, our judiciary starved and dehydrated a woman to death. So, should I flee such an oppressive country for somewhere else, where I can find a job that some person native to that country might otherwise have taken, and leave my home country to wallow in its moral decay? Or should I stay home and work to change things and make a more just society?

If we have failed in our moral obligations toward immigrants, it would seem that the governments and societies of these home countries have failed in their moral obligations to their emigrants. It is the governments and people of their home countries that, first and foremost, have an obligation to provide basic economic sustinence, etc. And, in most cases, it would seen that immigrants have a moral obligation to stay home.

Jimmy Huck

"Because Mexico continues to wallow in socialistic decay."

I just can't let this canard about Mexican "socialism" continue.

It is clear that you who hold this opinion know absolutely NOTHING, and I mean ZERO, about Mexico's political and economic system. I have never heard the term "socialist" used with such reckless disregard for truth.

mark j

hey, there's no problem with abortionistas receiving communion every Sunday, but if you want the government to enforce immigration laws then you're a real sinner.

Laurrie

Sonetka - I'm sorry that your brothers are being shot at. I imagine that they are also doing some shooting, too.

Jimmy Huck---Oh, no you didn't say that! You need to step back. (Please tell me how many people our soldiers have blown up since the (official)end of the war in Iraq. And how many people has the enemy blown to smithereens?)

Thomas

"It's so simple: immigrants are your brothers and sisters in Christ. They deserve food and shelter and a chance to make a living. They're Catholic Christians, moreover, for the large part. Why should any Catholic have a problem with their arrival?" -- WRY

Amen, brother!

"Regarding Victor Davis Hanson. Some may easily dismiss him without reading it. But his arguments are as much concerned with the raw deal the immigrants are getting under the current system also." -- S.F.

You're right. Hanson also says that as long as the current unofficial immigration policy works, Americans are happy to accept it. We just don't want to deal with immigration in any rational or official way. We're in denial, and our denial hurts the 8 to 10 million illegal immigrants in this country.

Frankly, I'm all for blanket amnesty and for significantly raising the immigration quotas from Mexico and the rest of Latin America. That would be a big step toward a more just and equitable system.

Benedetto

It is interesting to look at the actual USCCB Press Release:

Catholic Bishops Launch Immigration Reform Campaign

WASHINGTON (May 10, 2005)—Saying the nation’s immigration system is “broken and badly needs repair,” U.S. Catholic bishops and leaders of a diverse group of Catholic organizations today announced the official launch of Justice for Immigrants: A Journey of Hope. The Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform.

Comprehensive immigration reform—including a broad legalization program—is the goal of the national campaign. Catholic organizations which have come together to launch the campaign intend to mobilize a growing network of Catholic institutions and individuals in support of its goals. The campaign also marks a new effort to educate and galvanize Catholics on the need for “justice for immigrants.”

Speaking at a news conference held at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick said the goals of this multi-year campaign are four-fold:

# To educate Catholics and others of good will about the benefits of immigration and the benefits to the nation;

# To strengthen public opinion about the positive contributions of immigrants;

# To advocate for just immigration laws which promote legal status and legal pathways for migrant workers and their families;

# To organize Catholic legal service networks to assist immigrants to access the benefits of reforms.

One of the goals of the campaign is to try to change laws “so that immigrants can support their families in dignity, families can remain united, and the human rights of all are respected,” Cardinal McCarrick stated.

“However, before we can change our laws we must also change attitudes, including those of many of our own flock,” the Cardinal said.

...

“We acknowledge that the current negative environment towards immigrants is due, in part, to the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001, which have had a profound impact on our nation,” the Cardinal said. “Let us not give into the temptation to scapegoat all immigrants who come to our land—and who contribute their God-given talent to our communities—because of the actions of a few. It is my belief, and that of my brother bishops, that our nation can meet the challenge of ensuring national security without closing America’s door to the oppressed and downtrodden,” Cardinal McCarrick said.

The Cardinal said the Catholic Church has a deep stake in immigration reform because, like the nation itself, it is ethnically, socially and culturally diverse. “Regardless of race, heritage, or national origin, we are one family under God,” he said.

Another participant at the news conference, Bishop James A. Tamayo of the Diocese of Laredo said his area on the U.S.-Mexico border provides daily witness to the consequences of a broken immigration system.

“Our experience on the border is far from the vision of the Kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimed: many who seek to migrate are suffering, and, in some cases, tragically dying; communities are divided; and racist and xenophobic attitudes remain,” he said.

Words like "reform" and "xenophobic" are not found either in the CNS article or on the Website.

DBI

Richard,
"It's a tough one because while many of us no doubt have concerns about immigration".
It isn't about "immigration" (which is the legitimate exercise of border control, recognized down through the centuries by the Church, despite quotations taken out of context by Neil); it is about a nation - any nation except Israel - being sovereign. Thus, it is about breaking down the cohesiveness and identity of national populations that are in the way. In the way of what? George Orwell saw it coming.

Laurrie

Oops. Meant to italicize the Jimmy Huck quote above. Sorry.

Jimmy Huck

Mark - You have a funny sense of moral obligation. If your family were starving, your moral obligation would be to feed them. And if you had to risk life and limb to get a job in another country to do so, that is what you would be morally obligated to do. Do you really think people want to leave their hometowns and home countries to find work to feed their families? Do you think the illegal immigrant sits around and thinks, heck, I'll just up and leave my family and subject myself to the risks to life and limb just for the fun of it. Mark, these people are starving and desperate, and what do you tell them: stay put and if you or your children die of malnutrition or its attendent diseases, so be it. We have so much in this rich country of ours to share, and you would have people, innocent children no less, starve rather than allow them to share just a little bit in our (or should I say God's) bounty in exchange for their hard work.

Mark Shea

I have to remember this "The poor owe it to the rich to stay in their "Sh--hole" countries and improve them" logic (a very convenient logic for the comfy suburbanite) the next time somebody complains about how awful their public school or parish is. Up till now, my advice has been "If you don't like it, find a different school. Or homeschool. Or go to a parish where they don't teach crap." But now I'm enlightened. It turns out you are *obligated* to send your child to a crappy school and sit through stupid homilies, just as potential immigrants are obligated to stay in poverty.

Jimmy Huck

Laurrie - Yes, I did say that. Did I say something untrue? Is there something about recognizing the simple fact that people who carry guns in war shoot and kill each other that bothers you? It's a simple, tragic, fact. Now, if you think I'm passing judgment on soldiers who shoot to kill, you would be most mistaken. I wouldn't presume to play God and judge the morality of a soldier who kills in war. I'm just recognizing that shooting in war goes both ways and that, sadly, human beings created in the image of God are killed in the process. It's messy and sad and tragic. But it's a fact. Face it.

Laurrie

1. I live in a neighborhood where the houses sell for $200-$300k. My neighbors just bought and moved in. They are Mexican-born, moved here from CA. The husband speaks English; I have tried to be friendly with the wife, but she only speaks Spanish. The kids are on the free-lunch program at school!!!!!
2. My family and I come into contact with many of the wealthy Mexicans who live here. They speak Spanish at school, at the mall, at the grocery store. They live here and use the resources of our country, but their attitude seems to me to be that they are tourists on a lengthy visit. They don't participate in our community by voting or being involved in the neighborhoods.
3. I have not seen these people (wealthy, Spanish-speaking Mexicans) at the Catholic churches in our area. I think most of them are non-Catholic or non-religious. They are not supporting our parishes financially.
4. "Jimmy Huck", why don't you grow a spine and use your real name?
4.

Yann The Frenchman

Is there a pastoral or doctrinal reason for the bishops to conflate both illegal and legal immigration into the words "immigrants" (Cf. WaPo article mentioned by Benedetto). Based on my personal experience, any legal immigrant (i.e., not temporary workers, which is a different category) can provide for a family, etc. Furthermore, prevailing wages in each state (and even different regions of the state) are applicable to legal immigrants (the employer has to prove that the salary is commensurate to what be paid to a U.S. citizen).

So do the bishops mean that we need to help the illegal immigrants (which sounds obvious since they are there and in direct need of our help - i.e., a perfect Good Samaritan application) or that we need to increase immigration by lowering the standard for in the immigration laws (which is also obvious, just in term of needed population growth, since abortion eliminates millions of native born US citizens ...)?

In either case, I just wished the documents issued by the bishops were more accurate in their wording because I find it a bit galling on their part to put in the same bag those who went through all the hoops of immigration laws with the euphemistically "undocumented" immigrants.

Mark

Mr. Huck, I will forgive your personal attack, and suggest that you read again that I say that I accept our obligations toward immigrants. Nowhere do I suggest that we "in this rich country of ours" allow the starvation of innocent children. I would have them live and prosper in their own homelands. I would have all Mexicans, Central Americans, South Americans, Africans, and others living in free and prosperous countries.

The only way that will ever happen is if the people of those countries stay and work to change and improve conditions there. The people of Georgia and the Ukraine and Lebanon and Iraq and Afghanistan and (hopefully soon) Iran and many other places are doing just that.

I know what our obligations are. Will someone please acknowledge the obligations of immigrants?

Laurrie

Jimmy Huck: Way to avoid answering my question. This war isn't about shooting people, for the most part. It's about American soldiers and Iraqi police and civilians being blown to bits by insurgents. The point is this: you insult our soldiers when you put quotes around the word war. And you do it intentionally. If you don't know anyone on the ground over there, many of us do. As I said, you need to STEP BACK.

Suibhne

Peggy touches on -- to my mind -- the two things that (for lack of a better term) "pro-immigration" folks seem to ignore: social disharmony and crime.

I lived in Southern California and Arizona for several years, and now live in Northern Virginia; I am very familiar with the effects of illegal immigration and wide open legal immigration.

One of the oft-repeated inanities out there is that illegals do the jobs that Americans won't do. No: Americans won't do the jobs that illegals do for an immorally low wage. This underground economy takes jobs away from Americans and gives them to illegals who are "just trying to make a living" and who will work for next to nothing. People want to cry about the unjust wages being paid to illegal immigrants. What about the jobs they are taking away from law-abiding Americans? What about the crooked businessmen that encourage this underground economy? This is social justice?

Crime is rampant wherever there are large "settlements" of illegal immigrants. California is experiencing escalating crime, illegitimacy and the appearance of third world diseases not seen in this country for decades. As Peggy notes, the Salvadoran gang gang MS-13 has set up shop here in No. Virginia and has moved into the suburbs. These animals use machetes to mutilate their enemies. Their modus operandi is to go to large areas of illegal settlement and recruit members. They are having great success here in No. Virginia.

I'm not against immigration per se, but the current blind eye turned away from this issue by BOTH political parties is monstrously corrupt. I defy anyone to drive through certain sections of Los Angeles and not tell me that we are not being invaded. Many, many Mexicans believe that California is theirs and they have come to take it back. Recently, an hispanic radio station in Los Angeles posted a billboard that read, "Los Angeles, Mexico" with California crossed out. The Democrats don't care because they can get more welfare-roll voters and the Republicans don't care because they'll get the campaign contributions from the businesses reaping the benefits of their exploitation of illegals (and faithlessness to their former American employees).

This nation needs to look honestly at the issue of immigration - both legal and illegal - and find a solution. Our government's abdication on this issue is scandalous.

Mark

And Mr. Shea, the poor DO NOT "owe it to the rich to stay in their 'Sh--hole' countries and improve them." The poor in those countries owe it to the poor in those countries, i.e. their neighbors, to work to improve things there.

And, no, you are NOT "*obligated* to send your child to a crappy school and sit through stupid homilies." You are obligated to fix the problems and improve that crappy school into a better school, so that, while you may have saved yourself by leaving, your neighbors are not forced to endure it.

Jimmy Huck

J B - I missed your excellent reply on the charge of Mexican socialism. You said it much, much more eloquently and with good information. Thanks.

Suibhne

Correction: I defy anyone to drive through certain sections of Los Angeles and (remove "not") tell me that we are not being invaded.

c matt

Almost every week I am behind Latinos in the supermarket line with numerous welfare or WIC checks to cash.

And naturally, b/c they are Latinos, they must be illegal, right? Folks seem to forget some "Latino's" roots in states like Texas and California go further back than the "Anglo's".

Sonetka

Jimmy - oh sure, they've made statements against abortion. Have they decided to start an entire campaign? Have they done more than waffle about "I wouldn't feel comfortable" when the likes of Ted Kennedy come up for Communion? Under other circumstances I wouldn't get terribly worked up; I'm not exactly drooling at the prospect of politicos getting tossed out on their ears. But they've certainly never suggested that it's *nearly* as pressing an issue as illegal immigration suddenly is.

Laurrie - thank you.

Suibhne

Mark (Shea):

I agree that comments to the effect of: "Fix your own country." are not helpful here; poor Mexicans aren't about to overthrow their corrupt government and economy.

Nevertheless, I am not obliged to allow them to come here, illegally, and destroy the social fabric and economy of my own country.

While I would agree that Christians have a higher and more universal responsibility in these matters, following the example of the saints and missionaries, Saint Paul, followed by Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas, makes it clear that a good Christian is required to see to his primary obligations. Augustine observes that given finite time and resources, we are obliged to care for family, neighbors, and friends first. From there, we "move out" to the regional and national spheres. I don't recall the quotation exactly, but Mother Teresa refused an American woman who wanted to join her in India. She told her to help the poor where she lived.

I'm amazed at how many can get all worked up about the poor in Mexico but fail to see that we need to help the poor around the corner first. Now that is being blinded by ideology.

Jimmy Huck

"'Jimmy Huck', why don't you grow a spine and use your real name?"

What do you mean? Really, Jimmy Huck is my name. Well, technically, my formal legal name is James D. Huck, Jr. - but I don't think anyone would fault me for going by "Jimmy Huck." And you can google me and find out more about me and my relatively mundane life than you would probably care to know. Funny, I am much less Anonymous than you are, Laurrie. I have nothing to hide.

But I wonder ... what makes you think that I am (1) spineless and (2) not "Jimmy Huck"?

Why are you so defensive about the reality of war? How could I be insulting soldiers by referring to what they do? They are trained to kill. They fight other soldiers who are trained to kill. There is no mystery here. How is putting quotations around the word "war" insulting? Quotations are used for many things, one of which is for emphasis, another of which is to cite the words of others. And sometimes, quotation marks are used simply as part of writing-style habit. I'm sorry if I offended you in any way by my use of quotation marks; but I do think you are overreacting.

Jimmy Huck

Listen, folks, this dialogue is going in directions that are ultimately unhelpful and are actually creeping towards the hurtful. I recognize that I am a responsible party to this. So, with my apologies to all for my part in this, and for having let my passions get the better of me, I ask for forgiveness and declare that I will put my comments on this thread to rest.

Mark Shea

Suibhne:

Could someone here please tell me where the bishops were calling for illegal immigration?

Anthony

"Why are you so defensive about the reality of war? How could I be insulting soldiers by referring to what they do? They are trained to kill. They fight other soldiers who are trained to kill. There is no mystery here."

Jimmy, I'm a soldier and I am insulted. Your understanding of soldiers is rather limited if this is all that you think we do. The environments that we operate in are far too complex for automaton like "kill, kill, kill" behavior to be acceptable. I have found that it is those who have not had any military training who are more prone to "kill 'em all" behavior (i.e. insurgents) than those who do wear a uniform. As for the "reality of war"; conflict is not a one size fits all garment. The war being waged in Afghanistan is far different from the one being waged in Iraq, which is different from the one being waged in the Phillipines, etc., etc.

What is insulting is that you "refer to what we do" in a very general way with very little understanding of it.

Laurrie

Jimmy Huck: Sorry about your name. Really.

I admit I may overreact a bit when it comes to defending the good name of our soldiers. I believe I may be more in touch with the reality of war than you are. And the liberals who oppose this war do tend to have a couple of physical anomalies in common: bleeding hearts and the absence of a spine.

Anthony

On the subject of illegal immigration, I have crossed swords on several occassions with a priest and a couple of decaons who, in homilies, consistently refer to illegals as undocumented immigrants and demand that we have a responsibility as Catholics to support and embrace them.

Yann The Frenchman

Mark Shea,

Maybe the way the WaPo phrases the bishops objective as a "Comprehensive immigration reform—including a broad legalization program—is the goal of the national campaign". Perhaps broad legalization could suggest a support for illegal immigration ... What do you think?

Mark Shea

If it is bad at home, change it! Throw off your oppressive government and create a new and more just society. Don't abandon your people and run away to another country.

Sound advice! I think Roosevelt gave it to a shipful of Jews who selfishly fled Hitler's Germany and tried to come to the states. Happily, they were sent back. They improved their country by donating their gold fillings to the economy. And what about those Russian emigres selfishly fleeing the commies. Or East Germans selfishly tunneling under the wall. Where is their civic spirit?

Get lost you tired, you poor!
You huddled masses yearning to breathe free!
Keep your wretched refuse on your own damned teeming shore!
I lock and bolt the Golden Door
(Don't you realize we're at War?)

J B

For what it's worth, let me offer a concrete example of migration, based on my experience last year in a migrant sending community in Guanajuato, Mex.

In this semi-rural town, no one was dying of hunger or illness. But their living conditions were far from ideal - e.g. no paved roads, no indoor plumbing, water sources contaminated by local mining companies. (BTW, the ones who are starving, i.e., the worst off in a country like Mexico, are simply too poor and don't have the means to migrate. In general, migrants come from a socioeconomic level just above the worst off.)

Increasing numbers were making the trip north, in response to two factors. First, wages in the U.S. --even those of undocumented workers-- are simply much better than those available working in the local economy. (The newer cement/brick houses, replacing thatched mud structures, would have been impossible dreams if not for migrants' remittances.) Second, the town's traditional dependence on subsistence agriculture was being threatened by the government, which was in the process of constructing a new four-lane tollway right through townspeople's lands. This north-south tollway will facilitate the transport of goods towards the U.S. Residents won't have to worry about being able to afford the tolls to get to the nearest city (where many of them work), though, because there are no plans to even link the tollway to the town -leaving people to wonder how they will be able to travel since the existing road is set to be destroyed. At the same time, the government is compensating local landowners with far less than their land is worth.

Migrants face a decision of either making their way in a weak, unstable labor market at home (which, given the more powerful interests that work to keep things the way they are, is beyond their ability to change), or entering the unstable but much more promising market of undocumented labor in the U.S.

Where was the Church in all this? Doing its best, in light of the shortage of priests, to minister to the residents left behind --mostly women and young children-- and remind migrants, when they are at home, of their obligations to their families and to their faith. (Most migrants do remember, actually. So much so that a few years ago they pooled their money and sent it home to renovate the town church.)

Yes, migrants do have some control over deciding to go to the U.S. But I don't agree with placing the moral obligation to change the system on those who are struggling just to make it in that system.

mb

I have read VD Hansen and think he's a fine scholar. That said, I can't see that there is any way to stop illegal immigration until Mexico, and then CA, (I mean Cent Amer, not Calif.) have more industry and better jobs. Better jobs in Mexico has consequences too - just ask auto workers in Ohio how they feel about plants moving to Juarez (and some of those plants are now moving to China.) This is a very painful time of adjustment. But these immigrants are willing to take the chance that they might die, in (for instance) crossing the desert in AZ - and still they come, putting their lives on the line, because they have families they love and want to care for. When you have people who are living in such bad circs that they are willing to take a chance on something so dangerous, you can't stop them. Until opportunities are more even, they will move to jobs here. There is no way to stop peole who are willing to risk death.

Mark

Mr. Shea, again, please read all of what I have said, not selective excerpts that are twisted into something that no one has suggested. I repeat myself, "regarding OUR moral obligations toward immigrants, I accept those obligations, especially from those places that are truly oppressive. I've long advocated an open door policy for those people from Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, communist Europe and China, and places like Rwanda, where genocide occurs. With respect to those places, anyone and everyone is welcome as far as I am concerned, and we will shelter them."

Actually, the sound advice I give is not what Roosevelt advocated, but what Washington, Adams, Jefferson, et al. advocated -- "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. . . . when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

Mark Shea

Mark:

I'm glad you advocate an Open Door policy for victims of certain forms of oppression. I apologize for having missed that.

Partly I'm responding to Dan hysterics yesterday. And to the mysterious notion everybody seems to have that the bishops are advocating illegal immigration. It looks to me like they are advocating generosity, much as JPII did.

Suibhne

Mark Shea:

No, the bishops are not calling outright for illegal immigration. Nevertheless, I think we are naïve if we do not realize that the staff of the Conference and chanceries (staff on which the bishops have a very long leash) are chock full of supporters for greater leniency in American immigration law and de facto illegal immigration. I suspect that many bishops think the same way.

You'd have to be living under a rock not to know how big an issue illegal immigration is these days. I read McCarrick's statements and the beginnings of the website and see the same tired sloganeering, with no effort to make a distinction between illegal and legal immigration. This only obfuscates and irritates. If I saw an effort to make a distinction, I might be willing to grant them the benefit of the doubt, but I see none.

My guess is that this effort will push for greater leniency or outright amnesty. Making immigration "more legal" won't solve the problems we're experiencing in this country. It will only exacerbate them.

Tom

"We are also launching the Justice for Immigrants campaign because the U.S. Bishops are united in the view that the status quo is unacceptable and that comprehensive immigration reform is needed," Bishop Tamayo said. "We can no longer accept a situation in which some public officials and members of our communities scapegoat immigrants at the same time our nation benefits from their labor. We can no longer tolerate the death of human beings in the desert."

What moral recklessness! How wrong-headed can you get?

Yann The Frenchman

Mark Shea

"Bishop Tamayo said. "We can no longer accept a situation in which some public officials and members of our communities scapegoat immigrants at the same time our nation benefits from their labor. We can no longer tolerate the death of human beings in the desert."

This is what is frustrating about the bishop's statement: equating legal immigrants to those who die in the desert... and thus gives the impression that bishops call for illegal immigration (through sweeping legalization)

Yann The Frenchman

(The quote is from Tom on the previous post, not from Mark Shea)

Neil

I haven't really been keeping up with this thread, but I see that someone named DBI has claimed that I've taken quotations "out of context" and failed to grasp that the "legitimate exercise of border control" has been "recognized down through the centuries by the Church."

I would be grateful to know, with exact citations, which quotations that I've taken out of context. I would also be grateful to be provided with exact citations of the Church's recognition of DBI's construal of "legitimate exercise of border control ... down the centuries." I am not a theologian, but I do try to make sure that my posts are accurate.

Thanks.

Neil

Madmax


Our descendants will look back with astonishment
to a time when people were not free to live wherever
they wished - as much as we look back with astonishment at
the fact that human beings were bough and sold like cattle
by our ancestors.

For those who preach Mises, Hayek et al - in the world of Mises
and Hayek, individuals have liberty to live where they want - just
reminding you of that in case you accidentally forgot that.

Jay Anderson

"Folks seem to forget some 'Latino's' roots in states like Texas and California go further back than the 'Anglo's'."

I haven't forgotten that. My ancestor, for whom Anderson County in East Texas is named, immigrated to Texas in 1819. For those unfamiliar with Texas history, that's 2 full years before the Mexican government opened up Texas to Anglo immigrants.

In other words, my ancestor has the distinction of being an illegal immigrant from the United States to Mexico.

By the way, Espanol was the official language in Texas and California for almost 300 years before the first Anglos settled there - by comparison, the U.S. is only 230 years old.

(Jimmy Huck, if you're still keeping score, this doesn't place me on either side of this debate. I'm still "keep[ing] quiet".)

Mark Shea

Tom:

I share your shock and outrage at feckless bishops who think it's a bad thing for people to die in the desert. If they be like to die they had better do it and help decrease the surplus population. When will bishops get over their leftist preferences for the poor and desperate and start supporting solid citizens?

Frank Banecker

Jimmy Huck and J B--

And I suppose the nationalization of Mexico's major industry, that of petroleum, by Cardenas could not be described as "socialistic"?

Look, perhaps I was imprecise in my language, and yes, there have been free market reforms under Fox. But the point remains the same: the economy of Mexico, and it's adjacent states, is what must be improved. THAT is what will solve the immigration problem. Mexico's leadership must be dedicated to making their country a place that people want to emigrate to, not one that their own citizens want to leave because the economy is so bad. Since the bishops want to point out the mote in American eyes regarding immigration, rather than deal with the beam in their own eye with regard to clerical corruption, then maybe they can rustle up enough energy to wag their finger at the economic leadership in Mexico and demand they improve the situation for their own people.

Jay Anderson

"I share your shock and outrage at feckless bishops who think it's a bad thing for people to die in the desert. If they be like to die they had better do it and help decrease the surplus population. When will bishops get over their leftist preferences for the poor and desperate and start supporting solid citizens?"

Okay, I was going to continue with my "keep quiet" approach, but now I've got to say something. I tend to be sympathetic to the plight of Mexican immigrants, both legal and undocumented, but this post is somewhat over the top.

Did everybody get what Mark is saying? So, if someone disagrees with the exact position taken by the Bishops on this immigration isue, he is just like Ebenezer Scrooge and needs the Ghost of Christmas Shea to point out the error of his ways lest one wind up with a Marley-esque fate.

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