This Catholic's Questions On Immigration Reform

What is a good Catholic to do when it comes to immigration reform?

Are we to reflexively adopt any immigration proposal that comes along or be accused of turning our backs on immigrants?

How are we to balance the legitimate concerns about sovereignty with an easy path to citizenship for illegal immigrants?

Does respecting the legitimate rights and concerns of non-citizens mean that you must ignore the legitimate rights and concerns of citizens?

Is desiring reasonable legal status for millions of illegal immigrants insufficient anymore or is citizenship now the only test of compassion?

Is it morally right to reward illegal behavior with citizenship?

On the other hand, can we ignore our own practical and moral complicity in encouraging and benefiting from this illegal behavior?

If anyone can come here illegally and eventually obtain citizenship, doesn't that make sovereignty practically meaningless?

Doesn't the Catechism teach that sovereignty, law enforcement, and securing of the border are legitimate functions of a nation?

Speaking of borders, does it make me uncaring if I wonder if securing the border from further illegal immigration should be a pre-requisite to any discussion of paths to citizenship?

If I favor legal status, a right to work, legal protections for those we encouraged to come here as basic and deserved, but view citizenship as something that should not be earned with illegal behavior, am I a bad Catholic?

Am I wrong to consider an Amnesty now border protection later plan as a fools errand and tantamount to an invitation to millions of others to flout our sovereignty?

Must I be compelled to do foolish things that will exacerbate the problem in order to do the right thing for some?

Can I refuse to do foolish things that will exacerbate the problem when they are linked with some right things?



  1. If only the USCCB asked themselves the same questions this discussion might be a little more fruitful.

  2. Patrick, great questions! Most of the time I encounter Yankees with very little direct experience with immigration issues and no personal experience. I try to be a faithful Catholic and am politically conservative. But, I've lived on borders for a lot of my life, in the US, Mexico, Guatemala and elsewhere and I speak fluent Spanish. All these things give me a different perspective. Along our southern borders eve had commerce and relations forever that have benefitted both sides of the border. The issue of illegals is relatively new in the scale we now deal with. I think the biggest problem is our legal immigration laws and lack of flexibility in some areas while we are too lax in others. Our diplomatic relations are wispy washy while we treat individuals with an iron hand. I think we should start there with reforms. Immigration, particularly of wage earners, does damage to families back home, as does the closed doors of legality. Just my opinions from what I've experienced.

  3. Agree with Mike in CT, adding, and especially the USCCB staff!

    That last question is applicable to so many of the USCCB's positions on social issues.

  4. @Anneg: The other problem is the drug-runners and human traffickers, who (and I live in Arizona, so I know a bit about this) are universally the scum of the earth.

    Well, that, and Mexico's government is somewhere in the "laughable" to "non-existent" range, which exacerbates all the problems hugely.

  5. Great post. I think about those kind of things all the time but it's nice to hear someone else say them! Both sides on this seem wrong, but what is right?

    Anneg: Interesting perspective. Sophia's Favorite: So true. And here's another question: Why do we as a country not seem to care at all about Mexico's horrendous crime and violence rate, much of which is due to our citizen's drug use -- which so many people want to call a "victimless crime"? Why do we have weird drug laws that seem based on drugs appearing out of thin air? Not the border folks, obviously, but way north, where most people seem more concerned about using and dealing, as if what they're using and dealing spontaeously generated.

  6. @Gail Finke: Libertarians, who have a quaint fetishistic belief that nothing they do to themselves hurts anybody else. What I think is ironic is that Libertarian individualism denies the reality of all communities and relations besides the state, just as much as collectivists do; they may pay lip-service to the individual, but they deprive him of everything that stands between him and the power of the state. And the individual doesn't have giant legal teams and special forces soldiers at his disposal.

  7. Y'all, the drug and narco trafficking are what I'm talking about in foreign policy. They cause no end of problems: people fleeing drug violence, more human trafficking, corruption. Mexico is not a joke. It has the 13th largest economy in the world, a huge border with us and many ties to our country, yet we and especially our government ignore it. To our peril, I think. They are on the verge of being a failed state or worse, a narco state. And we pretend they are a noisy neighbor who leaves their trash cans on the street. Asking for even more problems.

  8. Can someone explain to me how adding millions of unasimillated,low income and elliglble for welfare people is going to help the country?

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

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

    Why can our bishops not simply follow what JPII assured us was a "sure norm for teaching the faith"?


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