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December 13, 2006


Ed the Roman

Aside from the employers not being sanctioned, I don't object.


Actually, I imagine that there would have been fewer workers at hand given the feastday.

All that said, our immigration policy should be focusing on employers first.


I seriously doubt that most people at the INS were aware that it was the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.


Is there any possibility that the raids were scheduled deliberately by someone thinking they were doing the Mexican community a favor?that they would not net as large a number of people because of those who would be celebrating the holy day instead of going to work or school?
Although virtually none of the public activities scheduled by the Catholic churches in the area for Our Lady of Guadalupe fell during school hours, there was enormous absentee-ism yesterday.

And with Ed, I question why the employers got off scott free.


Shame on you, fellow Catholics!
I distictly remember, the Holy Father, John Paul II asking us to 'welcome the immigrant' when he attended World Youth Day in Colorado in 1993!Yes, they should have papers, and we should fight to help them obtain them, as there are obviously plentiful jobs for them here in the US.

Our employment is at an all-time high, and these people will help to support a sagging Social Securtiy System impoverished by abortion, and American Catholics refusal to obey Humane Vitae!
Dr. Charles Rice, who has his own show on EWTN on Natural Law entitled, "The Good Code", in his pro-life book, "The Winning Side" ends the book by saying that if the American Catholic Chruch ends up being majority Hispanic, (which will occur by 2030) then it's just what we deserve for ignoring Humanae Vitae.
Not that family-oriented, pro-life, Marian Hispanics in the Church are a punishement, but just like the abundance of faithful African priests who are being sent to Eurppe and the US to fill our declining priestly numbers,they are a reminder that we belong to a Universal, that is catholic Catholic Church, and these people are our brothers.


When people are stealing the identities of legal citizens, which was the case here, I have no sympathy for them. This is a huge problem, and causes lots of complications for the victims. Additionally, some of those arrested had existing criminal warrants.

Regarding the feast day of Our lady of Guadalupe,I would not expect the average Federal agent to be familiar with that.


A follow-up from today's edition of the Rocky Mountain News:

In Grand Island, schools Superintendent Steve Joel, fearful of stranded children, said schools would stay open all night and "someone will be there to take care of them."

The worry about the effects of the raid extended even to local law enforcement, with Grand Island Police Chief Steve Lamken refusing to allow his personnel to take part in the sweep.

"This is our community," Lamken said. "When this is all over, we're still here taking care of our community. And if I have a significant part of my population that's fearful and won't call us, then that's not good for our community."

(My emphasis.)

From this little corner of the the blogosphere, thanks for the words of reason, Chief.


Ditto about the employers not being charged - that really is the root of the problem and it's ridiculous for the INS to not do anything about it.

That being said I am sickened at how this article treats the enforcement of immigration laws as anti-Catholic. I wish that someone, especially Church leaders, would for once point out how illegal immigration is also disconsonant with the Catholic faith.

Last I checked, the 7th and 8th commandments applied to everyone - including illegal immigrants. How is availing oneself of tax-funded services and welfare while paying no taxes in return and engaging in various fraud to avoid doing so anything but stealing and lying?

Last I checked, Jesus, the bible, and the catechism all require Catholics to comply with the laws legitimately established by civil authorities. That includes US immigration law. I have never seen any apologists for illegal immigration point out just what is so unfair and immoral about current US law that justifies flouting it without hesitation. We're not living under the Third Reich; obedience to our laws does not require mortal sin. If you think an immigration law should be changed, then go through the legitimate channels to do so - don't just blatantly violate it.

Last I checked, Catholics are not allowed to vote for pro-abortion politicians - illegal immigrants are already violating US law when they vote (and they are voting!) and then they overwhelmingly vote for pro-abortion Democrats. This is inexcusable. I am so sick of hearing about how "pro-life" the immigrant community is. Many may personally be pro-life, but they sure as heck don't vote that way, and whatever personal convictions they may have do little to stop abortion as long as they vote the way they do. Due to the demographic and voting trends, this country is looking at abortion on demand for several more generations now largely because of these "pro-life Catholic" voters.

Why won't anyone, especially the Church, say anything about this?? Not only is it false to portray illegal immigrants as poor helpless victims of injustice (what about the injustice done to taxpaying legal immigrants and citizens?) it is also patronizing when it comes from the Church. Illegal immigrants have immortal souls like everyone else and will be held accountable like everyone else. They need to hear the gospel from the Church just like everyone else. Sin does not cease being sin because of one's ethnic or economic background.

Too many people in the Church, including bishops, gloss over this and act as if illegal immigrants are all a bunch of victimized but devout Catholics who will do nothing but "enrich" our stodgy whitebread Church in American with their "vibrancy." This is nothing but condescending BS. The Church's job is to lead everyone to Heaven. That requires us to call a spade a spade and call all sinners to repentence. There are no free passes to anyone on theft, fraud, law-breaking, tax evasion, abortion supporting, not to mention the violent crime, drug trafficking, drug and alcohol abuse, promiscuity, fractured families, and wretched treatment of women that are quite common among illegal immigrant communities.

Obviously the rest of America has a problem with those sins too - but the Church is more willing to call us out on it. That's fine, but let's stop with the double standards for illegal immigrants.

Philip Howard

First things first, let's ask Our Lady to protect those involved in the raid: federal agents, workers, families, children, and employers.

Let's ask her for:

1. Real justice and fairness for all concerned;
2. Guidance for the construction and maintenance of fair and just laws;
3. Better economic conditions in Mexico;
4. Less bitterness on behalf of U.S. natives;
5. Balance between respect for U.S. citizens and the needs of the poor;
6. Safe working conditions;
7. General respect for the law;
8. That love may cover all in these circumstances.

I traveled through southern and eastern Colorado, as well as south and western Kansas this summer, and things are tough there - for all concerned. It's a hardscrabble environment. Garden City, KS literally smells like cow manure - the entire city! As a urban dweller, I don't see how they handle it. Concentrated feed farms dominate in this area.

Ora pro nobis! - PH


Amen AJP!! Regarding the employer, Swift, the Los Angeles Times reported that Swift had utilized the "Basic Pilot" system to verify each employee's Social Security number. This may be why Swift was not sanctioned. Of course the obvious problem is that the Basic Pilot system does not reveal the fraudulent usage of legitmate SS numbers.

ignorant redneck

Swift was notified by INS that they would be raided on 4 DEC. They tried to get the Raids prevented because they were afraid that they would lose up to 40% of their workd force, (this is from channel 12 in Colorado).

This seems strange to me.

The angle of the massive identity theft seems down right scarey.


I was quite unbothered about it, myself--save the lack of penalty for employers.

We should be very worried about the identity theft involved in illegal immigrant hiring. There are people who suffer from the illegal actions of illegal immigrants.

Julianne Wiley

I certainly agree that a nation wicked enough to abort 45,000,000 of its children, ought to get down on its knees and thank a merciful God that our southern border is with a Christian country, and the demographic vacuum is being filled with people who say "Dios te bendigo" and not "Allah Akbar."

On the other hand, even if what we really need is intra-American immigration, what we really don't need is illegal immigration--- no matter the country of origin--- by anybody, in any form.

Every illiegal immigrant in this country is caught up in a network of criminality, either as a perpetrator or as a victim, and almost always both.

Even ignoring the original border-crossing violation (during which, by the way, the would-be immigrants are terrifyingly likely to be beaten, raped, robbed, abandoned to die in the desert, or drafted by the despicable coyotes into serving as a drug-carrying mules) there is the constant, habitual dishonesty involved in identity-theft, forging ID's, medical and social-services fraud, driving without a license or insurance or even the ability to read road signs and safety instructions, and every other crooked expedient of living outside and against the law.

This is deeply corrupting to the character of even the best-intentioned, most hard-working man or woman, and should be a matter of grave concern to all who are pastors of souls.

Moreover, this is not just individual weakness: this is fully institutionalized violence, a "structure of injustice" to repeat a phrase which used to roll so easily from the tongue; and the structural aspects are all rooted in the wink-and-nod toleration border violation.

This is a toleration by both parties ---Democratic and Republican --- and for a variety of venal motivations, including electoral advantage (assuming that millions will eventually be amnestied, naturalized, and then avalanched into the Democratic Party) and the profits of exploitative low-wage neo-slavery.

The employers should be fined, the coyotes should face maximum criminal charges, the illegals should be ministered to in their needs but turned around and told "Basta!" and the justifiers and enablers should be deeply ashamed of themselves.


If employers are making a good faith effort to verify their employees' documentation, then I don't see how it's fair to hold them accountable. Many of the illegals have falsified green cards and Social Security cards that they can buy on the street. The system in place now that allows employers to determine if a SS number is a real one appears to be the only method an employer can use.

c matt

How is availing oneself of tax-funded services and welfare while paying no taxes in return and engaging in various fraud to avoid doing so anything but stealing and lying?

Not to comment on the situation per se, but I would point out that, if they purchase just about anything stateside, they are paying taxes (sales tax at least) and if paying rent are at least indirectly paying property taxes.

Morning's Minion

From Veritatus Splendour:

Reason attests that there are objects of the human act which are by their nature "incapable of being ordered" to God, because they radically contradict the good of the person made in his image. These are the acts which, in the Church's moral tradition, have been termed "intrinsically evil" (intrinsece malum): they are such always and per se, in other words, on account of their very object, and quite apart from the ulterior intentions of the one acting and the circumstances...... The Second Vatican Council itself, in discussing the respect due to the human person, gives a number of examples of such acts: "Whatever is hostile to life itself, such as any kind of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide; whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution and trafficking in women and children; degrading conditions of work which treat labourers as mere instruments of profit, and not as free responsible persons: all these and the like are a disgrace, and so long as they infect human civilization they contaminate those who inflict them more than those who suffer injustice, and they are a negation of the honour due to the Creator".

Note the coupling of "instrinsically evil" with "deportation". This should give all Catholics food for thought before jumping on the nativist bandwagon that fails to see our Spanish-speaking bothers and sisters as endowed with God-given human dignity (especially since what drives the nativists is a dislike of their language and culture). Catholic. Universal.


I think it's helpful to remember that if the same policies existed when our Irish and Italian forefathers came to America, they would have been considered illegal immigrants. Boatloads of Italians and Irish showed up on the shores of the U.S., just like those crossing the border on foot, without approval of the U.S. (and Irish immigrants still come to the U.S. illegally).

paul zummo


And your point is?

First of all, many of those immigrants came here quite legally, though we tightened up our immigration policy after WWI. There indeed was a nativist sentiment to that policy, and I do believe that we can liberalize our immigration policy so as to make it easier for people to legally migrate to this country.

But there's that word legal, and as the Church acknowledges in paragraph 2241 of the Catechism:

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.

Somehow I don't think that deportation of people who have illegally entered a nation is quite what the Pope had in mind in regards to "inherently evil," because that would seem to contradict what the Catechism has to say.

Sue T.

Morning's Minion has a point. While illegal immigration is a problem and not something that should simply run rampant, we also need to recognize the disparity between conditions in the U.S. versus Mexico. I just feel sorry for illegal immigrants. They must be pretty desperate to undertake all the risks of border-crossing.

It's easy to sit here in the comforts this nice U.S. existence and chastise illegals for their various "sins" (that other posters pointed out). But many of us might do the same thing if we were in that situation.

It should be noted that the illegal immigration situation becomes more complicated once illegals bear children who are U.S. citizens. Issues like family separation and such come into play.

Susan Peterson

Many Irish immigrants to this country disembarked in Canada because the disembarkation fees were much lower. Then they ILLEGALLY crossed the border into the US.
If you and your family are living in dire poverty you will do what you have to to improve your standard of living. Going illegally to a country which won't let you in legally, and using fake documents so you can work, does not seem to me to be sinful as a person above stated it was. Yes, it is dishonest, but we laud many other forms of dishonesty, such as faking documents to get Jews out of Nazi Germany etc. Yes, we aren't Nazi Germany. Yes, these people were not escaping the gas chamber or the crematorium.
But in leaving Mexico they were escaping conditions which would cause their infants and children to die of diarrhea or malnutrition, or to grow up with mind and body stunted by malnutrition , which might force their teenage daughters into prostitution etc etc. Some, from further south than Mexico come from countries in perpetual civil unrest, where there is constant danger of being taken out and shot by one faction or another. It is wrong that we have not set up a procedure for them to come here legally; it certainly gives the lie to the words on the Statue of Liberty.

If Swift feared the loss of 40% of their work force, well then, they knew they had hired illegals, didn't they? And as for paying taxes, if they work, they pay payroll taxes. They probably forgo filing a tax return, which means they probably pay more than their share of taxes. And the social security numbers they use are often those of others in the Hispanic community who are unable to work, old people, infants and children born here.

I am not sure how they get to vote, as most are very afraid of discovery. But if some of them vote they probably vote for whomever they believe will help them get legal. I can't blame them for that.

I think the admonitions to welcome the stranger among us apply to these folks, and we should try to help them, not persecute and blame them.

Susan F. Peterson

Sandra Miesel

Exactly how are those wonderful Marian, prolife Hispanics going to renew the Church in America when they are steadily leaving for non-Catholic churches, abort at a rate considerably higher than that of native white Americans, and have an illegitimacy rate above 40% and rising?


When was the last time we heard anything from a bishop or cardinal in Mexico about the corrupt, inept government there? Why doesn't the Church ever seem to comment on the injustices inflicted on Mexicans by their own government? If they would make some effort to correct their own problems, maybe they wouldn't feel the need to come here to make a decent living. Instead all we hear is admonitions from our bishops about how we need to let in every illegal person that wants to enter this country. I'll agree to that just as soon as Cardinal Mahoney and his brethren open the doors of their residences to every single person who wants to camp out in their living rooms.

M.Z. Forrest


And you know the bishops in Mexico make no commentary whatsoever on the actions of the Mexican government how?

Yes, the big, bad old US is being picked on by the Church. She calls the US's unjust wars evil. She calls evil our immigration policy of throwing out people who have lived in this country for 10 years evil.

Enjoy your pity party.

paul zummo


You make a valid point, MZ's usual empty boilerplate commentary notwithstanding. While I'm sure there are bishops who urge reform, the focus of the Church's attention has pointedly been on the sins of Americans in attempting to deal with the influx of illegals rather than on the continuing mess that is the Mexican economy. It seems eminently sensible that the primary blame be placed on the Mexican government.

Of course these people are looking for a better life. But what about addressing the larger of issue of why they are desperately seeking to leave their home country in droves? Mexico is not a resource poor country (hint - OIL), and there is no excuse for the absolute destitution of the nation except that it has been ruled by criminaly negligent politicians.

M.Z. Forrest

Thank you for the wonderful praise my beloved idealogue. Keep puffing up those straw men friend.

Old Zhou

Small point of clarification.
There is no such thing as INS.
Try going to
and see what happens.

There is no more INS in Dept. of Justice (as of March 1, 2003). Why is it that journalists can spell Mumbai instead of Bombay overnight, but they keep saying "INS" three years after it ceased to exist? The obsolete term "INS" is used to evoke and emotional response. I know. I dealt with them in the past.

The modern "US Citizenship and Immigration Services" (US CIS) of the Department of Homeland Security (not Justice) is a much better organization in terms of services and efficiency.

The raid was directed in large part by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) of the Department of Homeland Security. The non-existant INS had nothing to do with it. Please get the story straight.

US law does not yet, to my knowledge, invoke criminal penalties upon employers who employ persons who present fraudulent proof of the right to work in the US (e.g., fraudulent drivers license or social security number). If there are no laws in the land which require employers to do the equivalent of background checks on all employees, including validating Social Security Numbers, immigration status, etc., then how can employers be punished? There was no law for them to break. The law now says only that they much ask for and receive some identification, not that they need to verify it.

So, instead, they enforcement folks must go after the problem of people using identifications (such as SSN's) of others (who might be living or dead). In this case:

The arrest affidavits say about 30 Swift employees used false information to get jobs at the Greeley facility, which has about 2,700 workers.

One of those using a false ID was identified in court papers as Otilio Torres Rivera. The Social Security number and North Carolina ID he offered as proof of legal residence belonged to a man who had died in February 2005, court papers allege. The dead man's sister had filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission after a Social Security Administration report wrongly said her late brother was employed at Swift. Court papers did not specify how the dead man's ID was stolen.

The Social Security Administration has a lot of payroll taxes collected from people with invalid or duplicate SSN numbers; they know which companies are collecting the payroll taxes for employees with fake SSN's, but they are not in the immigration enforcement business.

I just recently got a letter from MY employer saying that they had gotten a letter from the IRS saying that MY SSN was wrong, and that I would have more mandatory taxes withheld on something. From a revenue source in 2004. Finally, after two years, somebody noticed that my employer filed a 1099-MISC with a typo in one digit of my SSN, and that my name and SSN did not match. That gives you some idea of the speed with which the government notices fraudulent Soial Security Numbers (unless someone complains about getting a tax bill for revenue that is not theirs).

The US Government does not yet have the will to pass laws to require employers to verify and report employee identification and "right to work" legality. Business has a lot of influence with Congress.

So, in the meantime, there are the spasmodic, rather random, episodes trying to address the problem. But what happend yesterday was just like a drop of water in the Colorado River. It did not really address the real, deeper problems regarding legal residency, legal immigration and legal right to work.

paul zummo

Wow, MZ, that was a stirring rebuttal. Based on your comment, you obviously are not very familiar with what precisely a straw man is, but I guess as a non "idealogue" [sic], you don't need to brush up on the particular nuances of political jargon.

Getting back to subtstance, I would also echo what others have said about the need to go after employers, as they are as much to blame as anyone else.


M.Z., to rephrase my point about the Mexican Church, I have never read or heard one iota of a statement by any Mexican prelate on the deplorable situation in his country in any media source in the U.S. Have you? And my point still stands. Furthermore, the Vatican has no business criticizing our government for wanting to stem the flow of illegal immigration into our country ( as was recently reported), when the Vatican is surrounded by a protective wall that certainly does not allow entry to any and everyone.

M.Z. Forrest

A straw man, my swift friend, is claiming the Mexican bishops offer no commentary on activities of the Mexican goverment. Even if trivially true, it is not important in addressing our own obligations. That so many blindly assume it to be true speaks volumes about the intellectual laziness of so many.

To match your tit-for-tat, I offer you "subtstance" [sic].

Clare Krishan

Poverty has doomed a generation, or two or three, of the working poor (cum bona fide SS# vel non) to an early death from complications of diabetes and other malnutrition diseases.

Per social contract, their lives end with a net SSI credit to those currently pulling down a social security check having paid in but expiring before pay out. The rest of us who have left no descendants (the world's oldest lady left over 500) will die with a monumental net DEFICIT, meaning we have consumed more communal resources than were our due. Isn't that stealing too?
Federal grand larceny, perhaps?

A preferential option for the poor is good advice for those of us who will rely on God's justice on the other side!

Sandra's point is well taken, tho' - the American Catholic Church is woefully prepared to offer the depth of pastoral care to the masses of poor Spanish-speaking youth absorbing the culture of death by osmosis from the poisoned well of materialism. As the world's largest economy, its our well (a national religion of prosperity) so is not the sin ours rather than theirs?

Watching the corporate rallies at a WalMart stockbroker event on the recent PBS special sent chills down my spine - community cohesion inspired by the sacred stock certificate!

George Orwell warned us, were we listening?

M.Z. Forrest


Why would the American media care what a Mexican bishop thinks about conditions in Mexico?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! I haven't read any engaging commentatary in the American press about Philipino bishops discussing Philipino working conditions. I don't conclude that the Philipino bishops have nothing to say on the matter.

Clare Krishan

oops, my bad, Walmart stockHOLDER event of course!

M.Z. Forrest

Make that Filipino rather than Philipino. I can use real Filipinos rather than the popularly fictionalized Philipinos.


M.Z., the American media does have an interest in reporting on what happens in Mexico, and frequently does just that. As to why they would report on a Mexican Bishop's criticism of his own government, for the obvious reason of the interconnection between terrible poverty and corruption in Mexico with the flood of illegals across the border.
There are lots of reports about Catholic Church goings on all around the world, and they're easily available on the internet.
Again, I await the Church in Mexico to assist in helping its own people so that they don't need to come here illegally in order to survive.

paul zummo

A straw man, my swift friend, is claiming the Mexican bishops offer no commentary on activities of the Mexican goverment.

Actually, no, that's not what a straw man argument is, but that's beside the point.

I am merely saying that Mexico's corrupt government is creating or at least perpetuating the conditions that are stirring so many people to flee their country. While I don't disagree that we should try to do what we can to help those that are seeking a better life, it is destructive of our greater purpose if we do not address this very serious problem. In other words, we need to attack the root cause of the problem, and we do nobody any favors, least of all the Mexicans leaving Mexico, if we ignore the issue. And truth is, when was the last time we heard from the American bishops pipe up on this matter?

And before you reply that it is no business of the American bishops to speak out about Mexico's political issues, I will echo the words of my co-parishioner, Morning's Minion. Catholic. Universal.

Blind Squirrel

Daniel's a bit out of date. There are more U.S. citizens currently seeking to emigrate to Ireland than Irish citizens seeking to emigrate to the U.S. (Did any of us ever think we'd live to see the day?!) Ireland has a massive labour shortage at present, and is casting its net very widely indeed to try to alleviate it.

M.Z. Forrest

From the USCCB, the Mexican Bishops commenting on conditions in Mexico.


This CNS story goes over the Mexico City Cardinal's views. A brief pull quote:
If the fratricidal struggles continue [in Chiapas] and violence continues on the rise and we do not realize that we are losing our values, we run the risk of the country coming apart on us.

The bishops commenting on NAFTA, which is mostly responsible for the spike in immigration.

If I knew a little more Spanish, I could pull many other documents.

paul zummo

And still silence from the Americans, but I commend the Mexican bishops for speaking out about the deplorable conditions in their country. And I'm sure they see it on a daily basis and are revolted. So why can't our good bishops see this and speak out with a loud voice against it? No, they'd rather devote their resources to decrying any effort to address the illegal immigration problem. There are plenty of comments from Mahoney about the supposed nativists. Not so much about the conditions in Mexico that are causing people to leave their homes. That is the real problem, not America's efforts to firm up its immigration laws.

caine thomas

I know many Catholics (some, I'm sure are reading this board) who are absolutely incensed over the prospect of building a fence on the Mexican border. This is talked about as a horribly immoral action.

I've tried to understand what is morally wrong about a fence to control who and how people enter a country, but I can't think of a single thing. It's no different then international flyers going through customs as opposed to just walking from the plane to a taxi.

Other than an exaggerated emotionalism associated with the imagery of a fence, I see no reason it should prompt the ridiculous outrage it has.

Can anyone tell me where I'm wrong?


It looks like, according to the Rocky Mountain News, this raid was based specifically to address the ID theft that many of the workers may have committed:

"The Swift & Co. worker told his employer his name was Otilio Torres Rivera and he had a Social Security number to match.

"Trouble was, Rivera died nearly two years ago.

"The alleged misuse of Rivera's Social Security number, spelled out in court records filed in Weld County, is one of hundreds of cases of suspected fraud nationwide that Immigration and Customs Enforcement was targeting in Tuesday's raid.

"The documents begin to paint a picture of how fake IDs are culled from across the country - and how agents tracked down suspects at the six plants, including the Swift & Co. headquarters in Greeley.

"The investigation and arrests could result in a variety of charges, including forgery, criminal impersonation and identity theft.

"In the case of Rivera, a man using his Social Security number applied for work at Swift on Nov. 26, 2002, according to an arrest affidavit. The man also presented a North Carolina ID card.

"When investigators contacted Rivera's family, his sister told them Rivera died on Feb. 2, 2005.

"In another case, investigators compared photos of a Texas woman named Edna Flores with that of a Swift employee using her name and Social Security number. The pictures did not match.

"In many of the cases, victims found out that their identities had been stolen only after the Internal Revenue Service accused them of failing to pay income tax on their earnings at the Greeley plant. Each of the victims has agreed to testify about the identity thefts, said Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck.

"Twenty-five affidavits were filed in Weld County, each one referring to suspects as John or Jane Doe and their fake name. Investigators are still trying to determine their real identities.

"ICE officials told police that they served Swift officials in July with subpoenas for hundreds of employee records, Buck said.

"ICE agents contacted Buck last Thursday and asked him to help them file identity theft cases against about 35 workers.

"Buck said he reviewed the evidence and decided 25 of the cases were strong enough to prosecute. Each of the cases he accepted was backed up by a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission from the alleged victim of the identity theft.

"Buck notified Greeley police on Saturday that he had accepted the cases. On Sunday, police met with ICE officials, who informed them of the scope of the planned raid.

"Swift & Co. participates in a pilot program that requires the company to provide the names and identification information of all people who apply to work at its plants.

"Anybody that works at Swift that is illegal would have to steal someone's ID," Buck said. "It's all identity theft."

Buck said Tuesday that he doesn't know whether Swift executives were aware that hundreds of workers may have been hired with stolen ID cards. But if they did know, Buck said, they should be prosecuted.

Susan Peterson

Something there is that does not love a wall...

I don't.
People there need what we have here. There are jobs for them here. We ought to set up a legal process by which they can come here. I am sure if they had what they need there, they wouldn't leave their native land and people and places they know and come here. I am sure that they don't want to pay coyotes and risk death in the desert to get here, and would cooperate with any reasonable legal process.
We should let them come....and their families, and their aged grandmother they take care of...what you would want for your family if you were in that circumstance. We should only refuse those with a serious criminal record. I don't know about those with communicable diseases or seriously handicapped. Certainly if one member of a family has a communicable disease, they ought to be interned and treated. And one handicapped member of a family should not keep the whole family out. But whether we can take absolutely everyone no matter what their degree of need...well maybe we can't. At some point our lifeboat would be swamped. But it has plenty of room right now; in fact we need some people to row. So..send us your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...and earn minimum wage, USA style.

Susan F. Peterson

caine thomas

But Susan, allowing people to immigrate does not mean a country refuses to control HOW they immigrate. Your desire to let everyone and their mother into the US is certainly understandable, but how does that make a fence immoral?

Do you lock the doors to your home? Come to think of it, would you let every random stranger that's cold or needs to use the bathroom into your home? Even if you did, wouldn't you want to know who is coming in, when they came in, and whether they planned on leaving?

We can't abandon common sense for sentimentalism.

M.Z. Forrest


Those are for the most part legitimate desires. This is why we evaluate intent. The pertinent question is what are we protecting? As the Church teaches, we cannot licitly protect that which is not ours. The earth is a universal good provided by God to all of us. In an agrarian culture this would mean that we could not hoard land while men starve. Moving along to Pope Leo, this means our rights to the means of production are not absolute, and in so much as there is excess, the poor man is entitled to acquire means of production as it preserves his dignity. This means a wall erected to prevent the migrant from receiving his means of being productive is inherently injust.

Now if we were to construct such a wall and welcome the migrant, we may be able to view it as licit.

caine thomas

Where does the Church teach that national borders are illicit? Where does the Church teach that countries are required to open their borders for free movement?

You seem to be viewing the Gospel's through a Marxist lens of entitlement, rather than a Christian lens of charity. Nothing in the obligation of Christian charity requires a nation or individual to surrender their security. If so, take the locks of your door and open up access to food and shelter which it is the right of the poor to acquire.

Saying it is illicit for a nation to secure its borders is utopian goofiness.

M.Z. Forrest

No where did I write that a nation had to surrender her security.

Note, I said means of production, not shelter and food. The latter is almsgiving which is righteous in its own right. The former is intrinsic to human dignity.

When you understand what I've said, I'll address your other objections.

Guy Power


You state: "I know many Catholics (some, I'm sure are reading this board) who are absolutely incensed over the prospect of building a fence on the Mexican border. ....
< big snip>
Can anyone tell me where I'm wrong?

You are wrong in that the fence is built on the **United States** border! :^D Other than that, you are spot on.


My father was a WWII refugee from Lithuania. He and his family jumped through all sorts of hoops to come to this country LEGALLY.

My husband and I have coworkers who came to this country LEGALLY. My daughter has classmates who came to this country LEGALLY.

Locally,a fake ID ring was just busted a few days ago. These guys had everything; plastic cards, passport folders, fake SSNs. I have a sister-in-law who is a victim of identity theft. So, I just can't feel all that sorry for the illegal immigrants, especially those who use fake identities. Quite frankly, employers should be busted big time, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.


M.Z. Forrest

In 1930 the U.S. Census Bureau listed 193,600 Lithuanians in the United States. This figure represents six percent of the total population of Lithuania at the time.
Their pattern was cyclical, with the numbers of migrating workers shifting along with the seasons and economic cycles. This wave of intra-European immigration consisted mostly of young males, either single or having left their families behind; approximately 48 percent of them were illiterate.
In 1930 only about 47 percent of Lithuanian immigrants had become American citizens, despite the formation of Lithuanian citizens clubs to promote naturalization.

For what it is worth...

Ed the Roman

Anyone who thinks that any country must allow uncontrolled 7 or 8-digit annual immigration from one neighboring country is not thinking about whether he wants his own country to be anything in particular.

The last such example I recall was Operation BARBAROSSA. It was not regarded as enriching the Gorgeous Mosaic of the USSR.

Which is not to say that Mexican immigrants are a hostile invading army. It's that the levels of immigration that some posters are saying must be accepted on pain of sin are historically seen only in attempts at conquest, and those posters need to think about this in more ways than one.

caine thomas

So citizens of one country have a "right" to the means of production in another country.


I hate it when I feel like a political conservative, but that concept is one toke over the line. The Kingdom of God needs to be established in the human heart, it is not synonymous with World Government. I do not disagree that individuals, corporations, nations are obliged by what is good to aid those in need and facilitate self-sustaining economic existence. I fail to see how requiring people and companies to abide by laws designed to control orderly entry and exit from a nation is inhuman.

But you've got pictures of mothers going on buses back to Guatemala, while their children are left behind in the US. That is a sad reality, the images of which, bring out emotional appeals and pronouncements from our Bishops. I can't dispute the righteous concern, but I'm always annoyed at the disproportionate response based tangible imagery.

There are a lot of children left behind in dumpsters in this country for which there is no tangible imagery. Our Bishops rarely go in front of cameras in indignation for them.

M.Z. Forrest

I would kindly ask you Caine not to make presumptions about the reasons why I state what I state outside of what I actually state.

Rights are a construct of the society, not of God. In so much as they are not offensive to the Kingdom of God they are okay. Which brings us to your point:
I fail to see how requiring people and companies to abide by laws designed to control orderly entry and exit from a nation is inhuman.
There is no issue here. The issue is of punishment. To expel or deny entry to a person should require a grave crime or grave necessity - for example, people in our country will starve or die if we allow a specific person to remain or enter. Proper authorities can also be guided by prudence in determining how to maintain the common good. For example, it may be necessary to set up temporary refugee camps so that a people can be inculturated. A migrant should be compliant to such a request.

The point is that we are not faced with a dichotomy. As a country, we are faced with two challenges on immigration, ensuring the common good and ensuring migrants are accomodated. These are both obligations.

Ed the Roman


Just so I have this straight, you're saying that the United States needs to show grave, and particular, cause why any individual should not be allowed to enter and stay; we specifically may NOT say "we can't absorb this many at a time from some particular foreign culture"?

Ed the Roman

I also wonder how you feel about the Third Amendment, since you seem so keen on duties to allow people in.

caine thomas

I have to disagree that a sovereign nation needs to present any reason to deport a foreign citizen other than "you didn't enter correctly". The same applies to a person's home. If it's freezing cold, and you sneak into someone's house, you violate that person's security and, regardless of the temperature, they are entitled to kick you out. Is that the most charitable thing for them to do, probably not. But is it immoral? Not necessarily. Suffering never gives one person the right to impose upon another.

I agree that enforcement of immmigration laws should be tempered by circumstances, and that flexibility is important. But the shock now comes when immigration laws are ENFORCED rather than overlooked. That's not fair to the people trying to come in to the US legally, or to those who we have been allowed to live and work here unquestioned for so long. Consistent application of laws is very important and we obviously haven't been doing that for the past couple decades.

We are certainly responsible for accomodating migrants - provided they migrate according to immigration laws. Howevery, many Bishops seem to be of the mindset that those rules are too harsh and that foreign citizens should not respect them. That's an irresponsible position which prepetuates more suffering than it alleviates.

M.Z. Forrest


We may indeed not be able to inculturate vast numbers of people by accident. Refugee camps would be appropriate in such instances. I am not arguing a migrant be granted carte blanche upon entry. The state has legitimate interests in assimilation that a migrant is obligated to undertake. I realize the home and country analogy is popular, but it is deficient. I will go further into that if needed.

In past times, I doubt you could find a prosecutor willing to prosecute or a jury willing to convict someone for taking shelter to prevent death. You could certainly call the authorities, and they should be able to provide shelter; this would respect your home and the life of the homeless man.

Consistent application of the laws if very important to preserving the common good. This is why we should not create laws men cannot rightly obey or enforce. Objectively our immigration laws are unjust. Of course that is our point of dispute, and I would expect you to argue that they are indeed just. You have argued on the basis of positive law. If you desire me to come to agreement with you, you will have to argue the justness of our law.

Old Zhou

Since this thread is still going...

Another story today from San Diego, CA.

The company was audited for hiring illegal immigrants in 1999. They were audited again in 2004 (and had some of the same employees!). They were finally charged with "harboring illegal aliens" and conspiracy.

You see, in the United States, it is NOT illegal to employ illegal aliends (unknowingly). US employers (unlike many other countries, including Mexico) are NOT required to manage (pay for) the immigration status of their immigrant employees, or prove (positively) that they employee has a right to work.

Becuase there is no legal requirement on the employers to reasonably prove that their employee have a "right to work" based on legal immigration status, they don't bother. If someone has papers (typically state driver license and a Social Security card), nobody asks any questions. Social Security Administration collects the money. Maybe the IRS gets involved if they feel that the Taxpayer (IDed by the SSN) is not paying taxes properly.

But, by and large, the employers are off the hook unless the government puts a lot of effort into proving "conspiracy" and "harboring illegal aliens."

Otherwise, they have to go after the individual workers with charges of identity theft and fraud, and then the deportation process, etc.

This is in large part because US businesses do not want the US government to require that they (the businesses) really verify the legal "right to work" of their employees, which is, of course, an added expense. Better to just accept what people give, and hope for the best, like Wal-Mart, Swift, etc.

By the way, that comany in San Diego...was involved in building the border fence...with illegal immigrant workers!

caine thomas


To be honest, I don't know enough about our immigration laws to declare that they are just in the Christian sense. I imagine they are flawed, but not unjust. But they are not so flawed that we prohibit people from entering this country - we just don't facilitate the expediency of secure permanent residency as quickly as many think would be more just. Do you get what I'm saying? The immigration issue deals with the level of goverment accomodation to the laws of Christian charity - not that this attempt at accomodation is essentially unjust.

The public reaction of Bishops to this is disproportionate to what they've been charged to be concerned with at their ordination. It's easy to get in front of camera and attack corporate or government sin (especially when your sentiment coincides with those of political leftists), because corporations and governments make for good devils. They can be made into boogeymen who are to blame for suffering and that need to be fought publicly.

But corporations and governments don't sin, people do. Individual people. Is the level of indignation the Bishops show the immigration issue equal to the number of individual members of their flock who are risking their souls by embracing sin? If they get so upset on camera when illegals are deported, what should their demeanor be in front of their flock who use artificial contraception? Or those who enable wage slavery by conspicuous consumption?

One gets you accolades from those whose opinion matters to you. The other will only get you the supporting grace of the Good Shepherd.

Obviously I've completely gone off subject, and my pent up hidden frustrations are revealed.

My apologies!!

Ed the Roman


Refugee camps? No, I don't think so.

Western Civ has had adequate trouble with refugee camps that I don't want to set them up unless there are people fleeing something a lot more like genocide or famine than Mexico.

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