Card. Mahony compares Arizona immigration bill to Nazism, Communism

Card. MahonyAs you read keep in mind that Archbishop Gomez will be taking over in Los Angeles before too long.

I add an observation at the end.

From CWN with my emphases and comments:

 

Cardinal Mahony compares Arizona immigration bill to Nazism, Communism
April 20, 2010

Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles has offered strong criticism of a measure passed by the Arizona legislature that would require police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants who are unable to provide documentation. The bill, if signed into law, would also make it illegal to hire day laborers off the street and to transport an illegal immigrant. [Note well: At issue is the ability of people who are in the USA illegally.  They are "illegal immigrants".]

[The Cardinal continues:] “The Arizona legislature just passed the country’s most retrogressive, mean-spirited, and useless anti-immigrant law [SB 1070, awaiting the expected signature of Gov. Jan Brewer],” Cardinal Mahony wrote on April 18. “The tragedy of the law is its totally flawed reasoning: that immigrants come to our country to rob, plunder, and consume public resources.” [I doubt that many people in the USA illegally are intending to "plunder".  But some are.  It would be nice to be able to prevent those who have that intention from carrying out their plans to commit crimes.  However, I do believe that quite a few people coming into the USA illegally do have the intention of consuming public resources.  No?  And if it is only a matter of a very few, it would still be good to know who they are and what their reasons are.  Are they truly refugees?  Do they need other forms of assistance?]

“The law is wrongly assuming that Arizona residents, including local law enforcement personnel, will now shift their total attention  ["total"?  Why does it have to be "total"?] to guessing which Latino-looking or foreign-looking person may or may not have proper documents,” he added. [I am guessing that His Eminence is not a supporter of profiling.] “I can’t imagine Arizonans now [Here it comes:] reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation.”  [That would be a "no" vote from Card. Mahony.]

Although the measure would require police to ask for documents if there is a “reasonable suspicion” that a person is an illegal immigrant, The Los Angeles Timesnoted that the bill “would not require people to report suspected illegal immigrants to authorities, as [Cardinal] Mahony intimated.” 

 

The issue of illegal immigration is very complex.  People of good will can have differences of opinions about how to address the issue.  Cardinal Mahony is within his rights to express a negative view about the legislation in Arizona.  People are within their rights to express their view of Card. Mahony’s reaction.

What I find interesting in this is the fact that liberals – and I think it is fair to place His Eminence in the liberal camp, rather than the conservative or traditional side – can use whatever sort of inflammatory rhetoric they choose while conservatives are lambasted with all manner of criticism, accusations of incivility, even of sedition, if they use strong rhetoric.

Double standard.

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117 Responses to Card. Mahony compares Arizona immigration bill to Nazism, Communism

  1. edwardo3 says:

    Two words fro His Eminance: Holy Silence.

  2. revs96 says:

    Bear in mind that Archbishop Gomez is a (legal) immigrant and will come in with a much more sane mind than Card. Mahoney in regards to immigration (and everything else for that matter). It looks like the lame duck is trying to set his flock against their new shepherd.

  3. revs96 says:

    Actually, given the Cardinal’s comment on the Arizona government, it is pretty ironic

  4. wanda says:

    Right on, Fr. Z., to your observation at the end. I wish that you were still a consultant for Fox News. (I wish I had known.) Do you want me to send in the suggestion? It gauls me no end when media types and especially CINOs feel free to opine on what the Catholic Church teaches and should and shouldn’t do. Occasionally there may be a priest asked to comment on an issue, but sometimes the answer is a little ‘light and fluffy’. Lukewarm, spit you out..We need the truth out there.

  5. wanda says:

    By the way, what on earth is that gesture the people are making? It looks like a Nazi salute.
    Lord have mercy on us.

  6. Joe Magarac says:

    From what I read about Abp. Gomez, immigration may be the only area where he and Cardinal Mahony agree. Hopefully Abp. Gomez does differ from Cardinal Mahony on most other issues!

    I also think that conservatives and liberals can be equally guilty of using inflammatory rhetoric on the immigration issue. It usually involves loudly trumpeting their first principles.

    I am a “conservative” on most ecclesial issues and most political ones as well. But I guess I am a liberal on immigration. The fact that my grandparents were immigrants – they were born here to get free citizenship, raised in Eastern Europe, then moved back at age 18 as US citizens – has everything to do with that.

  7. daniwcca says:

    What I don’t understand, is why is it Christian to allow these immigrants to be used and abused by their employer like this? Why hasn’t my Cardinal addressed this? Why is it moral to encourage people to break the law, to encourage them to work in substandard conditions?
    When Mahoney addressed THIS part of the issue, then I might listen to him on this subject.

  8. TJerome says:

    This is exhibit A as to why the left-wing loon media has given His Eminence a pass on the clergy sex scandals. Unfortunately for Cardinal Law, he didn’t have this issue available to him up in Boston, to provide him with the shield like Mahony has.

  9. lucy says:

    I agree with Edwardo3 – Holy Silence

  10. poohbear says:

    I do not understand how the bishops can promote illegel immigration. It is ‘illigel’, isn’t it? Can someone please explain this to me. Am I missing something?

  11. DisturbedMary says:

    What a coincidence! Just this morning I ordered a new book “On the Immorality of Illegal Immigration” by retired priest (Holy Ghost Fathers) and author Fr. Patrick Bascio.

    From a Wanderer interview:

    He says the book has been sent to many bishops to help inform their views. He explains why he wrote it: I believe that a book on the subject from a priest is badly needed. My experience is that there is universal belief on the part of the average Catholic Christian that since the American bishops have, at times, approved of the demonstrations [about illegal immigration] to the point of sometimes advising their priests to break the law and give illegals sanctuary, that this must be the official position of the Church.
    However, the Vatican has made clear that although it wishes bishops to assist any immigrant with special care, since they are usually very poor and dislocated, it also has made clear that this assistance must always be within the laws of the host nation.

  12. therecusant says:

    Joe,

    I’m not sure why your grandparents’ situation informs your opinion on this issue. Were they in the U.S. illegally from Eastern Europe? If not then I fail to see the connection. Care to elaborate?

  13. david andrew says:

    And herein lies the worst rub. Several high-profile bishops have gained the support and favor of those of us who consider ourselves serious-minded Catholics and politically conservative, because of their vigorous opposition to the health insurance/care delivery bill (with respect to abortion funding). These same bishops have also hitched their wagons to the immigration issue, often expressing a viewpoint that is in direct conflict with those who believe that illegal immigration (N.B. “illegal”) must not be countenanced or protected under the color of social justice. How many of the aforementioned favored bishops also expressed opposition the health reform bill because it failed to protect immigrants (N.B. without specifying legal or illegal)?

    It is a problem because of the quagmire of “social justice teaching” created by the progressivists who have co-opted and tweaked the meaning of social justice to be whatever happens to be the liberal “cause” of the moment.

    Fr. Z is right on both counts: Catholics of good will can have various opinions about how to handle the complex issue of illegal immigration, and bishops like H.E. Roger Cardinal Mahoney will always find favor with those in the liberal camp. What we need now are several bishops brave enough to carefully and logically put forth a clear explanation of just what the teaching of the Church is regarding illegal immigration and our duty to both provide for the welfare of those “aliens in our midst” who are oppressed and also honor the integrity of our laws and protect our nation against being overrun by those who would come here under false pretenses.

  14. robtbrown says:

    Cardinal Mahoney came to LA in 1991. Some keys stats:

    Catholic population:

    1990: 3.4 million
    2009: 4.6 million

    1990: 664 diocesan priests
    2009: 590

    Catholics per priest (incl religious):

    1990: 2575
    2009: 4023

    Of course, there there was also the theological genius of Cardinal Mahoney’s document on the Eucharist Gather Faithfully Together.

    BTW, for those wondering how a lardy liberal can deceive Rome and get a red hat, Roger Mahoney paid for the translation of certain works by JRatzinger.

  15. TomB says:

    Most bishops, when they write and speak on this subject, refer to “immigration”, which is – to me – a completely different issue from illegal immigration. I don’t think one can defend illegal immigration, except in a demagogic way. It will eventually result in a civil war if something isn’t done. Even Sen. McCain has come around, now that it’s election time.

  16. JosephMary says:

    It is too bad that some of the heirarchy cannot give the same time and attention to the care of souls and the proper teaching of the faith! Illegal immigration and the dissenting conferences seem to comsume most of someone’s time.

  17. deborah-anne says:

    The ‘double-standard’ runs rampant to the point of nausea. Now if a conservative renders an opinion in opposition to the liberal agenda, they are committing sedition. Incredible!! While I believe Card. Mahony has every right to express himself, I think he has demonstrated a lack of common sense and wisdom.

  18. Ralph says:

    I live in Arizona. In fact, my home is less than 60 mi as the crow flies to Mexico. I see men with backpacks walking behind my home all the time. (For those not familiar these are illegal immigrants) I also work in the construction industry. Illegal labor in construction is wide spread. When I hike by my home I have to contend with huge piles of plastic water jugs, old shoes and clothes, human waste etc left at the illegal’s pickup points. Illegal immigration is not an abstract concept to me. I live and deal with it daily.

    A few things that the Cardinal may not know.

    1. As of now, until this bill passes into law, most cities in AZ do not allow police to check a persons immigration status at the time of “contact” (ie traffic stop, investigation etc)

    2. Police are not allowed in most cities to call immigration if they find a person is here illegally.

    The hands of the police are tied when it comes to enforcing immigration laws. This law will change that. No city council or mayor in AZ will be able to stop a cop from doing his or her job.

    This is not a case that the police have been or will need to start profileing. Rather, it’s more that they have been forced to turn a blind eye at obvious illegal activity and now can deal with it when they see it.

    I am all for this law. If Card. M. doesn’t like it, I suggest he stay in LA when he retires, as I suspect the majority of Arizona citizens are going to support it and keep it on the books a long, long time.

  19. dans0622 says:

    Given what she said about Cardinal George, I think what I just heard is Michelle Malkin’s head exploding.

  20. Mr. Graves says:

    Cardinal Mahony has been pulling this particular nonsense for years. The sooner he’s replaced, the sooner he can move to a nice ranch on the U.S.-Mexico border and see his “progressive” politics in action. . . .

  21. Choirmaster says:

    Alas, the double standard does not limit itself to the secular media, politics, academia, and law.

    Note well that Bp. Williamson’s superior thought it prudent to order him to shut up.

    Why does not Cardinal Mahoney’s superior do the same?

    Which has caused more harm to souls? Williamson’s willful historical ignorance, or Mahoney’s willful deceit?

  22. wmeyer says:

    At the risk of voicing some unpopular realities, I must offer some facts to consider:

    1. The term “illegal immigrants” is an oxymoron in the first place. These people are illegal aliens.

    2. Although illegal entry to the country is a misdemeanor, using forged documents is a felony, and those who work illegally commit this with a fresh offense each day they report to work.

    3. One reason open borders would not be ideal is that although in the United States, we have all but obliterated many of the worst diseases, some of these are on the upswing again, imported by these undocumented entries. And often, these diseases are arriving in strains resistant to the drugs which had previously been effective.

    Finally, I cannot adequately recommend referring to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (the full one, not the bowdlerized Adult Catechism from the USCCB), where paragraph 2241 makes very clear what would be a most excellent foundation on which to base our laws and enforcement.

  23. The issue is complex…This is one of those situations where I wish H.E. remained silent

  24. Phil_NL says:

    I’m utterly surprised that I’m living in a communist state, according to the Cardinal – as this legislation is perfectly normal and common in much of Europe (although seldom vigorously enforced, and does not change a bit about legal immigration).

    Moreover, let’s not forget that both nazism and communism have litterally tens of millions of murders to their names. The comparison is utterly unwarranted, spiteful and insulting. Cardinal or not, if I were an Arizona legislator I’d give him a good piece of my mind.

    And all of this is before we get to the issue of a double standard…

    I suggest that Mahoney spends his retirement (could he perhaps take up some vacation time in the run-up to it? Do cardinals get to carry over unused days to the enxt year?) in one of the ‘banlieus’ of Paris, or in one of the many ransacked quarters of London, Koln, Rotterdam, Milan etc. etc. I wonder if he still thinks all immigration is great after a few months.

  25. bnaasko says:

    I think you will find that Archbishop Gomez agrees with Cardinal Mahony on this issue. The teaching of the church is clear. More prosperous nations have a duty to welcom foriegners who are looking for a better life for their families.

    The teaching of the Church on welcoming immigrants and displaced people has been clear since the time of Moses.

    In Arizona the police now have a right to demand ID from American Citizens with brown skin. How much longer will it be before the police anywhere can demand ID from any American Citizen, even a white one?

    Cardinal Mahoney is 100% correct on this one.

  26. colospgs says:

    Wanda, the first thing I noticed was the gestures of those in the picture, and I thought it looked like those listening to the Cardinal were the nazis. LOL. I used to belong to a parish where the priest would have a special blessing of children after the mass, and while he did this, the whole congregation would hold out their hands like this as if they also were blessing the kids, as if they also were priests.

  27. wmeyer says:

    The teaching is also clear that welcoming does not entail the suspension of law. At the same time that the Catechism speaks of welcoming, it also identifies the responsibility of those welcomed.

    The Catechism does not declare that borders should not exist. It does declare that duly elected authority has the responsibility to establish terms for immigration.

    I do not find in history that the Church has preached anarchy.

  28. MikeM says:

    I’m a pretty conservative guy and I’m all for putting an end to illegal immigration.

    What, though, gives the police the right to go around demanding people’s papers? Will Americans risk getting hauled off to central booking if they leave home without their drivers license? Additionally, if someone knocks on my door, or stands outside Home Depot, and offers to cut my lawn for a good price, I have the right to accept that offer. I shouldn’t be subjected to police harassment because the person *might* be here illegally.

    This law IS useless. The government can’t do its job and protect our border, so instead they’ve decided to pass a law which leaves the police with three options… 1) harass everyone, 2) Harass only Latinos, or 3) ignore the law altogether.

  29. Phil_NL says:

    Bnaasko,

    The church’s stance on this matter is horribly naive, assuming small numbers. The 21st century is one of large numbers, there are litterally 6 billon people who would have a much better life in the US or western Europe, even on welfare. We cannot, and should not, welcome them, simply because if even a small percentage of them would come, our standard of living would dramatically fall – there’s no way they can be integrated into our economies in a way that allows us to sustain our wealth – which is why they come in the first place. In short, transplant half of arabia to Europe or half of latin America to the US, and Europe and the US are as poor, ungovernable and dilapidated as the Arab countries and latin America are now. It would serve no-one in the end, it would only make the existing population worse off. It’s already unfolding in Europe, which has a bigger welfare state and is therefore more vulnerable, but the US will ultimately go the same way – and Southern California is already well en route, I’ve been told.

    If you want to help foreigners better their lot, the only way that will offer lasting benefits is make sure their countries of origin finally get their act together. Not that I’m optimistic on that front….

  30. Clinton says:

    Double standard? I’ll say!

    Pro-abortion groups get the vapours every time our bishops speak out about this nation’s abortion laws. The Church is accused
    of trying to establish a theocracy, we’re compared to the Taliban, the bishops are reminded that “there’s a separation of
    Church and state”. “Shut up”, those groups explain.

    Yet when the Cardinal Archbishop of LA uses some rather intemperate language to criticize the legislation passed in another state,
    criticism that agrees with the opinions of the powers that be, we don’t hear similar protests that the Church should butt out. Will
    the same groups so concerned about the Church ‘interfering’ in matters like abortion policy, same-sex ‘marriage’, euthanasia, etc.
    denounce His Eminence for meddling in Arizona’s business? Doubt it. Too useful.

  31. irishgirl says:

    That picture is from ‘The Three Days of Darkness’, otherwise known as the LA Religious Education Congress.

    Yeah, it looks really creepy-more like a Nazi rally.

    I hope when Archbishop Gomez takes Mahony’s place, he will cancel that gathering for good!

    Holy Silence, indeed!

  32. ghp95134 says:

    Photo comparison:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c1/Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-1987-0410-503%2C_N%C3%BCrnberg%2C_Reichsparteitag%2C_Wehrmachts-Aufmarsch.jpg

    Can anybody say “Nürenburg”

    Nothing wrong with immigration! My wife is a Japanese immigrant and had to go through all the paperwork that legal residency entailed. She gets really upset at the illegal aliens who are able to even reside over here; I find that most immigrants feel the same way about illegals.

    –GHP

  33. bnaasko says:

    Phil_NL,

    You say, “there’s no way they can be integrated into our economies in a way that allows us to sustain our wealth”

    But St. Matthew relates:

    Jesus said to him: If you will be perfect, go sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when the young man had heard this word, he went away sad: for he had great possessions. Then Jesus said to his disciples: Amen, I say to you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    I don’t suppose that Archbishop Gomez and Cardinal Mahony are terribly concerned about the value of “sustaining our wealth.”

  34. M.D. says:

    When does such “inflammatory rhetoric” actually cross the line to detraction or calumny?

  35. Randii says:

    Another proof IMO that the Catholic church in the USA is basically an extension of the Democratic Party. The one exception being abortion which most bishops say little on anyway,

    Global warming, the death penalty, redistribution of wealth, illegal immigration, world government/jurisdiction. Take a visit to your local Catholic Charities office and look what they are up to. It may surprise you.

    The diocesan paper here recently ran a puff piece extolling Harry Blackman on his retirement from the Supreme Court. Several paragraphs about what he’d done to stop the death penalty and his efforts at other progressive causes. Just one sentence mentioned that, oh yeah, he was the leading pro-abortion justice on the Court.

    Bp. Gomez’s chief claim to fame is his support for illegal immigration. That tells me more than his more reverent liturgies (compared to Mahoney).

    In San Francisco several years ago a father and his 2 sones were shot and killed by illegal immigrant youth. The youth had not been rounded up because SF is a sanctuary city and the police here are not supposed to co-operate with the feds on illegals.

    The family sued the city over this but the suit was thrown out.

    The Catholic church, Bps. Gomez, Mahoney and most of the rest – IMO their efforts to shield illegals are outrageous and sometimes, in an indirect way, criminally negligent.

  36. Dave N. says:

    Yes, I also think that Gomez will take a similar stand on illegal immigration, although perhaps minus the rhetorical flourishes. We shall see.

  37. jaykay says:

    One is used to liberals endlessly resorting to the ‘argumentum ad Hitlerum’ but it’s unusual to see them employ the ‘ad Stalinem’! Every country has a right to set down standards on issues of common policy. Regulation of immigration is clearly one of them. The key word is ‘regulation’ as in applying criteria and tests. You can’t just escape those tests by breaking the rules, no matter the particularities of your personal circumstances. Otherwise you end up swamping the lifeboats and dragging everyone down.

  38. Phil_NL says:

    bnaasko,

    The bischops probably aren’t, but the politicians are – they have a duty to look after the material welfare of the people rather than (just) the spiritual one. And there’s a very big difference between government forcing everyone to give up their wealth (individuals have no choice in the matter, massive immigration happens to them) and voluntary donating to the poor – which is by the way perfectly possible without immigration, and probably better too. I very much doubt that forced donations earn you any treasure in heaven.

  39. JuliB says:

    I believe that the most “true” form of social justice would be for the bishops to call Mexico out as to why so many of their citizens wish to flee!

    Illegal immigration is a complex subject, but I think the elephant in the room is that the best citizens are the ones who can manage to make it here.

    I would STRONGLY recommend reading Victor Davis Hanson’s ‘Mexifornia’. It is an incredible book on illegal immigration. He takes on both the right and the left, and it changed the way I thought about such matters.

  40. Geoffrey says:

    “I do not understand how the bishops can promote illegel immigration. It is ‘illigel’, isn’t it? Can someone please explain this to me. Am I missing something?”

    It’s not that they are promoting illegal immigration, but rather they are trying to make sure that the dignity of the human person, and the family, are respected and considered first during this debate. The bishops do not want to see the breaking up of families, etc.

  41. robtbrown says:

    I think you will find that Archbishop Gomez agrees with Cardinal Mahony on this issue. The teaching of the church is clear. More prosperous nations have a duty to welcom foriegners who are looking for a better life for their families.

    Are you saying that Abp Gomez supports illegality?

    The teaching of the Church on welcoming immigrants and displaced people has been clear since the time of Moses.

    That does not extend to abolishing immigration laws, which you seem to favor.

    In Arizona the police now have a right to demand ID from American Citizens with brown skin.

    One thing to keep in mind: Illegal immigrants from Mexico tend to look like Mexicans.

    How much longer will it be before the police anywhere can demand ID from any American Citizen, even a white one?

    Ever been at an alcohol check point? They ask for an ID.


    Cardinal Mahoney is 100% correct on this one.
    Comment by bnaasko

    This is just one more time that he is playing to his audience

  42. robtbrown says:

    It’s not that they are promoting illegal immigration, but rather they are trying to make sure that the dignity of the human person, and the family, are respected and considered first during this debate. The bishops do not want to see the breaking up of families, etc.
    Comment by Geoffrey

    That comprises a small part of the problem of illegal immigration.

  43. robtbrown says:

    Also: Everyone who travels via airplane has had the govt ask for their ID.

  44. rob_p says:

    bnaasko,

    Phil_NL is right to say that charity at the end of a gun is no charity at all, and just for the record this is what CCC 2241 has to say regarding immigration:

    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.

    The authorities have the duty to maintain services that are paid for with public funds such as hospitals, schools, etc. When there is as much unregulated immigration as is occurring in the southwestern US, these services are put at risk for those who these services were established for, natives, legal immigrants and guests in our country.

    With the responsibility to welcome the immigrant also comes the right to regulate entry and refuse entry to those who may be a danger to the people of the state. [do not take this last sentence to imply that I believe that immigrants are inherently dangerous to the state, however with regulated borders we should be able to turn away criminals and quarantine the sick]

  45. bnaasko says:

    Abp. Gomez believes that current US immigration laws are unjust, and are in need of reform. Neither he nor Cardinal Mahoney are in favor of elimination all laws and regulations concerning immigration. Poeple should stop using this strawman.

    His Excellency is on record stating that he would like to see a moratorium on new state laws designed to address the problem until a just and comprehensive solution to the problem can be crafted by the appropriate authority, which is the federal government. He believes that the state laws inacted in the past several years make the problems of injustice worse instad of better.

    No one is calling for open borders, but what they do say is that current laws are not just, we all know that unjust laws are not binding on the conscience.

    The new AZ law will require brown people to carry papers with them and that is offensive. While it is true that most illegal immigrants are Mexican, it is also true that those whose families have lived in Arizona continuously for 200 years are also Mexicans. In fact, over one in five Arizonans are of hispanic ancestry. Alcohol checkpoints are not a relevant comparison. Driving is a privledge, walking down the public sidewalk is a right. But in Arizona now you had better be carrying your papers with you if you do it while having brown skin.

  46. MichaelJ says:

    bnaasko ,

    What is wrong with the current US immigration laws? How are they unjust?

  47. bnaasko says:

    rob_p,

    Please re-read the except from the Catechism you cited.

    While the host country may regulate immigration, they may not do so in contravention of the immigrant’s natural RIGHT to migrate.

    An unjust law is no law at all. That is the reality of the US immigration situation. Our failure to respect the demands of justice concerning the natural right of people to migrate has lead to the chaos of our system.

  48. jaykay says:

    Rights are not absolute. That’s why they’re regulated. Which is pretty much what the CCC is saying?

  49. jaykay says:

    Should have said that the right to emigrate is not an absolute right…

  50. Mr. Graves says:

    “An unjust law is no law at all.”

    Unjust according to whom? Please cite the Bible verse/CCC section(s)/papal encyclical that says *I* get to determine which laws to obey and which to break.

  51. ghp95134 says:

    …Driving is a privledge, walking down the public sidewalk is a right….

    To carry your observation one degree closer to actuality, “Living in the USA is a privilege; walking down the public sidewalk is a right.”

    ghp

  52. elmo says:

    What makes the bill injust so far as I can see is:

    a.) It requires (not permits but mandates) that police arrest anybody they think are here illegally and who do not have documentation.

    b.) It targets people who “look Mexican” for persecution.

    This may be difficult to fathom outside of the Southwest (where I live) but there are Americans of Mexican descent who have been here for centuries. There are also plenty of Americans or residents who are here legally who are Mexican and dark and speak with thick accents and who would be indistinguishable from “illegals” without papers. I know some of these people. They are dear to me. They are some of the finest Catholics I have ever met. To think that they would be required to show their papers on demand or be placed under arrest for the simple suspicion a traffic cop or other official might have in mind, is unthinkable to me and an injustice along the lines of what Mahoney said — something committed by a communist, Nazi government. It makes me angry. I too am of Eastern European descent and some of my relatives (I am told) came here about 100 years ago illegally. They were allowed to live and work here because the corporations needed cheap labor. Now, Mexicans are being similarly exploited and instead of cracking down on the companies that hire them, the people themselves (who are among the poorest of the poor in this nation) are being targeted by the Arizona government. This is an outrage and I agree with Cdl Mahoney on this one issue.

  53. robtbrown says:

    While the host country may regulate immigration, they may not do so in contravention of the immigrant’s natural RIGHT to migrate.

    But the natural right to immigrate cannot contravene the host nation’s right to regulate it.

    BTW, the catechism says that immigrants must respect the laws of the host nation. By definition, illegal immigrants do not.

    An unjust law is no law at all. That is the reality of the US immigration situation. Our failure to respect the demands of justice concerning the natural right of people to migrate has lead to the chaos of our system.
    Comment by bnaasko

    You’re still contradicting yourself.

  54. Daniel Latinus says:

    I think it is perfectly reasonable that person who come to the attention of law enforcement (loitering, traffic violations, arrest on suspicion of crime, and yes, victims of crime as well,) or the government (applying for public assistance, enrolling children in school, requesting a drivers licence) be checked for legal residency status. And if they are here illegally, it seems reasonable to then investigate whether the people they live with are here legally. And anybody who is not here legally, gets sent back to where they came from.

    As for appealing to the Law of Moses, be careful. First off, Jewish ceremonial law, and Jewish civil law contained in the Torah are not binding on Christians. Second, there is a vast difference between modern mass immigration, and a family of foreigners coming in from the desert and setting up shop in an ancient Hebrew village.

    Finally, illegal immigration doesn’t only apply to Mexicans and other Latinos. We have illegal immigrants coming from Poland and Eastern Europe, Africa, India, and other places. All people who are in this country illegally, regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin are violating our laws, and should be expelled.

  55. robtbrown says:

    bnaasko,

    The history of the US has been, and will continue to be, to welcome immigrants. My grandfather was a German immigrant–he did not enter the US illegally.

    Welcoming immigrants, however, is not limited to those coming across the Southern borders. Because of the demand for US immigration, there must be quotas from the south–or else others couldn’t come.

  56. robtbrown says:

    elmo,

    Asking someone for identification is not the same as arresting someone. And, no, that’s not persecution any more than when a 20 year old driver is pulled over at midnight Saturday for no reason at all. Or when an adult who hasn’t been drinking is pulled over at an alcohol check point.

  57. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    It has been said before, but people are still arguing against it.

    The issue here is not illegal immigration. People who are here illegally should be punished accordingly.

    However, the point that Cardinal Mahony was making (with an accurate, if ill-advised, reference to Hitler and Stalin) is that this law will cause police and citizens to racially stereotype. It will encourage, or at least give opportunity for, people to rat out others who they suspect are here illegally. The problem isn’t that it will get rid of illegals, it is that it will put undue burden on those mexican and hispanic immigrants that live there legally.

    Working at a grocery store in Florida, I have many Hispanic men come through who work in construction, as farm workers, or in other forms of manual labor. Many of them speak little or no English. My guess is that some of these have been illegal. However, I do not know, and could not possibly tell by looking.

    Cardinal Mahony was saying that this bill is going to encouarge people like me to call police on these people, essentially to stop them and ask if they are here legally.

  58. robtbrown says:

    I too am of Eastern European descent and some of my relatives (I am told) came here about 100 years ago illegally. They were allowed to live and work here because the corporations needed cheap labor. Now, Mexicans are being similarly exploited and instead of cracking down on the companies that hire them, the people themselves (who are among the poorest of the poor in this nation) are being targeted by the Arizona government. This is an outrage and I agree with Cdl Mahoney on this one issue.
    Comment by elmo

    I don’t think Mexicans are being exploited in the US. They are being compensated for unskilled labor. IMHO, it is seriously problematic whether they should be compensated as if they were citizens.

  59. TNCath says:

    You know, I’m beginning to wonder which is scarier: Cardinal Mahony as Archbishop of Los Angeles or Cardinal Mahony retired and free to run around the country and the world a la Cardinal McCarrick? Perhaps they will team up to go on the road as a vaudeville act: Mahony and McCarrick.

  60. mpm says:

    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. [CCC, #2241]]

    The natural right that must be respected regards a “guest”, not an intruder.

    That’s what is in the Old Testament as well. And guests in the OT were expected to “move on” within a couple of days, because staying longer might cause serious burdens to their hosts!

    Exactly how to apply that principle to a context of millions would seem to have something to do with having just laws (on both sides of a border).

  61. elmo says:

    Robtbrown: The article says the police are required to request anybody they suspect could be here illegally if they do not have identification. It is not the same as making random stops at checkpoints to check for drunk drivers because it isn’t random — it is racial — and it is forcing people who are not committing crimes to prove that they are not criminals or be arrested, when the burden should be on law enforcement to prove that they are doing something illegal before arresting them.

    I am not condoning illegal immigration; my outrage stems from the fact that naturalized citizens or legal residents are at increased risk of arrest for no other reason than “looking illegal”.

    Oh yeah — it is exploitation to bring people here to work for you knowing that you do not have to pay them as much as citizens because of their status. If that isn’t exploitation, I don’t know what is. Catholics should be sticking up for the poor and the weak. That doesn’t mean condoning illegal immigration but looking for ways to stop it while helping the people who are here illegally either get back home or in jail (i.e., in the case of criminals) or become citizens if that is what they want and if they have clean records.

    The U.S. government, if it was serious about stopping illegal immigration would be going after these corporations. They are not but Arizona is passing laws going after anybody with dark skin and an accent. This is just wrong.

  62. bnaasko says:

    Why is it that good catholics become legal positivists when the discussion is about immigration?

    They aren’t legal positivits about abortion or marriage, and most of them aren’t even legal positivists about gun control, but about immigration they are. The positive laws says those Mexicans are here illegally, therefore they are lawbreakers, thefore they have comitted an injustice.

    Why do good catholics apply this poor logic here when they don’t apply it to gay marriage? Why do they care more about the laws of the earthly kingdom than the plight of their brothers in Chirst? For the most part these Mexicans are baptized Christians they have citizenship in the Heavenly Kingdom. That should mean more than any earthly citizenship or constitution.

  63. Geoffrey says:

    “For the most part these Mexicans are baptized Christians they have citizenship in the Heavenly Kingdom. That should mean more than any earthly citizenship or constitution.”

    Amen.

  64. therecusant says:

    bnaasko,

    your comment at 6:06 confuses the matter. good catholics object to abortion and gay marriage laws because they attempt to enshrine in human law that which is contrary to the divine law. a sovereign state regulating immigration is not immoral. the Church explicitly acknowledges that right. if a human law is moral or morally neutral, then they must be followed. so, yes, generally speaking, if a non-citizen is here illegally then they are lawbreakers and they do commit an injustice (though there are exceptions…).

  65. EXCHIEF says:

    Having spent the last 43 years in public safety, most of it in law enforcement, and much of it in southern California very close to the Mexican border I can attest to the substantial, and generally negative, impact of ILLEGAL immigration. I fully support the Church’s teaching that “have” nations need to provide opportunities for those from “have not” nations. However, nowhere in official Church teaching have I found any instruction that such assistance must be provided to law breakers. Those who wish to come here legally, which most of our ancestors did, have the opportunity to do so. Those who do not wish to follow the law should, in my view, be apprehended and deported. However, in fairness, deportation given our porous border is pretty much a revolving door.

    30 years ago illegal immigration impacted only border states. I now live 1000 miles north of the U S/Mexican border and I can attest to the fact that illegal immigration is a problem here. It is a significant problem throughout the USA from Denver to Boston to Detroit—not just Los Angeles, Phoenix and El Paso.

    Best estimates (not the one used by the liberals who lie) is that we have nearly 30 million illegals within our borders. We cannot, socially, financially, or culturally support 30 million illegals. Look to states like California which are on the brink of bankruptcy because of the costs associated with illegal immigration.

    From a purely law enforcement perspective a couple of observations. One, while the majority of illegals try to live below the radar there are huge numbers of illegals who are involved in major criminal activity including violent street gang activity. Look at the percentage of felons who reside in our state prisons and the majority in many states are illegals.

    As for what the Arizona legislature is proposing if police chiefs and sherifs did their job and were not as politically correct as most liberal politicians, action by the state legislature would be unnecesary. Federal law allows local law enforcement to assist in enforcing immigrations statutes. That has always been the case and in the 15 years I served as a chief of police in California my department did enforce those laws. The fact is that today’s “PC” police leaders won’t voluntarily work with federal authorities on immigration enforcement as the law already allows. Only if state law forces them to (which is what Arizona is attempting to do) will they–and then only reluctantly and with protest. Somehow many of today’s so-called police leaders have forgotten the oath of office they took at the beginning of their careers. It is sort of like Bishops ignoring their responsibility to be obedient to the Pope.

    Sorry for the long post. Mahoney has always catered to the Hispanic community (legal and otherwise). That is his “power base” and his legacy. Too bad he didn’t work on his legacy being orthodox teaching rather than promotion of illegal activity.

  66. Margaret says:

    The Cardinal’s hyperbole aside, this law does give me pause. My father came to the US legally from Ireland as a young man. He loved his adopted country, served in the military, and became a citizen when permitted to do so. He was deeply thankful to have the opportunity to live here. That said, I think it would have rubbed him the wrong way to live perpetually under a cloud of suspicion, and to be subject to a request for “Papers, please,” any time law enforcement noticed his brogue.

    I’m also concerned that the implementation of this law could be subject to abuse. I would not put it past some elements in the government to set up document checkpoints outside of Catholic churches, for example…

  67. bnaasko says:

    therecusant,

    The issues are not that different. The church teaches that civil societies also have the right and duty to regulate marriage, and the Code of Canon Law oblies minister of the chruch to respect these laws. If the various juridical procedures enacted concerning marriage respect the natural right to marriage and the inviolability of the marriage bond they are a good and necessary thing, when they do not the state has failed in its obligations to its citizens.

    The situation with immigration is similar. When immigration laws respect the natural rights and duies of both the immigrant and host peoples, then they are a great blessing. However, our immigration laws are nearly as disfunctional as our marriage laws.

    Just as we do not recognize a divorced person as re-maried just because the state says so, we ought not recognize a 21 year old who has lived in Denver since he was 5 and can’t speak Spanish as a criminal just because the state says he is an illegal immigrant.

  68. wmeyer says:

    bnaasko,

    There is no right to enter the United States, though there is a right to leave any country. The CCC delineates very clearly the civic responsibilities of a Catholic. Among other things, it states that the immigrant owes obedience to the laws of his adoptive country.

    Migration is simply movement. Immigration is a legal process, and is supported in the CCC. There is no right to immigrate. A person convicted of felonious activities in his native country, for example, is not going to be welcomed here, unless he is fleeing a regime such as Castro’s, and then he applies for asylum, no immigration.

    If we are to make reasoned arguments, we must all first commit at least some effort to studying the laws, and to differentiating rights from emotional desires.

  69. The UK comedy character “Dame Edna” said in a US show that she was all in favor of illegal immigration to the US, because it meant Americans could have once again slavery of brown people without all the costs of upkeep.

    Yeeeeeeppers.

  70. EXCHIEF says:

    Here is a little more information for clarity (gained from reading the actual statute that is going to the AZ Governor). This is NOT like sobriety checkpoint laws which basically allows the driver of any vehicle which approaches the checkpoint to be examined for DUI. In the proposed law the immigration status of a person must be checked but only as a result of that person being stopped for some reason other than race. Example: A person is stopped for speeding, and based upon the totality of circumstances (ethnicity, lack of ability to convese in English, etc) the officer may have reason to believe the person might be illegal. Then the statute kicks in. Stopping a person solely because of ethnicity is not permitted in the proposed statute. That would obviously be racial profiling.

  71. Girgadis says:

    bnaasko

    You rock!

  72. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    Margaret,
    as the descendent of Italian immigrants, I know what you mean. At some point the term “WOP” began being used as an acronym for “With Out Papers/Passport” in reference to Italian immigrants (it was probably not originally an acronym, but derived from Italian word, so it usage usually is in reference to Italians)

    And as anybody here should know, there has historically always been a distrust and hatred of Catholic Immigrants (see the Know Nothing Party, for an example)

    As far as the law requiring the search for papers come only after a legitimate stop, I see nothing in the text of the bill saying that, only that the officer must have “lawful contact” (its lawful to walk past somebody on the street) and further have “reasonable suspicion” that the person is here illegally. I know of no ways to have reasonable suspicion before a search. Ceartainly ethnicity isn’t one, I know plenty of legal immigrants who don’t (or at least won’t) speak English (especially if they are first generation immigrants). It will be entirely subjective if the cop feels he has reasonable suspicion.

    Additionally the bill notes it is illegal to:

    “CONCEAL, HARBOR OR SHIELD OR ATTEMPT TO CONCEAL, HARBOR OR SHIELD
    AN ALIEN FROM DETECTION IN ANY PLACE IN THIS STATE, INCLUDING ANY BUILDING OR
    ANY MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION, IF THE PERSON KNOWS OR RECKLESSLY DISREGARDS THE
    FACT THAT THE ALIEN HAS COME TO, HAS ENTERED OR REMAINS IN THE UNITED STATES
    IN VIOLATION OF LAW.”

    In other words, landlord’s rat out any tenets you have who might be illegal (recklessly disregards implies they may not know, but they didn’t really ask either). That is the kind of thing that Mahoney was making the Hitler comparison to.

  73. MichaelJ says:

    bnaasko

    Once again you have made a gratuitous assertion regarding the immigration laws of the United States, this time saying that they are “dysfunctional”. Can you please cite some examples – real examples and not some anecdotal speculation about what you think might happen?

    I’m afraid it will become difficult to take you seriously if all you can do is repeat the mantra that the law is “bad”

  74. Here’s a great take on immigration and the teaching of the Church:

    “And I worry that our policies more and more reflect these kind of fears and resentments. I don’t know how many anti-immigrant laws have been enacted this year. I’ve lost track. The last I heard, it was something like 200 new laws in 40 states. And that’s just this year. In 2007, I believe there were 240 new laws in 46 states.

    Many of these laws are so clearly vindictive, so obviously meant to injure and intimidate, that I worry that the effect will be to diminish respect for the rule of law. The law should not be used to scare people, to invade their homes and work-sites, to break up families. From a practical standpoint, I don’t see how these measures are solving any problems. Instead, they’re creating new ones.

    Again, I say these things as a pastor, not a politician. We need to find a way to stop lashing out at the problem and to start making sensible policy. I would like to see a moratorium on new state and local legislation. And, as the U.S. bishops recently called for, I would like to see an end to federal work-site enforcement raids.

    This is a national crisis and it calls for national leadership. I understand that the presidential candidates don’t want to touch this issue before the election. Nor does Congress after the bitter failure of the 2007 immigration bill.

    But this is the hard work of democracy. As soon as this election is over and a new government sworn in, we need to insist that our leaders roll up their sleeves and get to work on comprehensive immigration reform.

    As I said, this is the greatest civil rights test of our generation. The lives of millions of undocumented workers and their families hang in the balance. Millions who are presently forced by our failed policies to live without rights at the margins of this great country.

    So that’s my second point. We’re at a worrisome impasse in our work for immigration reform. That means we need renewed determination to forge a solution worthy of a great nation.

    My third point today is about the role of the Church. Your role and mine. In this volatile debate, the Church must be a voice of compassion, reason, and moral principle.

    In Catholic teaching, the right to migrate is among the most basic human rights. It’s very close to the right to life. Why? Because God has created the good things of this world to be shared by all men and women—not just a privileged few.

    That means that if a person can’t find the necessities of life for his family, he has the right to leave his country and to seek these things in some other country.

    Now, it’s true that the right to immigration is not absolute. Church teaching recognizes the government’s right to regulate immigration. To weigh immigration’s impact on the economy and our national security.

    But the Church also insists that no country can deny this basic human right out of exaggerated fears or selfishness. And Catholic teaching presumes that the more prosperous a country is, the more generous that country should be in welcoming foreigners.

    We need to help our people and our leaders to examine their conscience in light of these principles of Catholic social teaching.

    As we stress the Church’s moral principles, we need to be more sensitive to people’s fears. My friends, the opponents of immigration are also people of faith. Many of them, unfortunately, are Catholics. They are hard-working Americans, and our brothers and sisters.”

    - Archbishop Jose Gomez

    On a couple of occasions I heard much the same from Archbishop Burke when he was in St. Louis. He called (from the pulpit) for politicians to work towards “regularizing” those who have come to our country.

    Far too many conservative orthodox Catholics are simply wrong on how we ought to treat our brothers and sisters who are here illegally.

  75. Blackfriar says:

    Suburbanbanshee, our beloved Dame Edna is certainly NOT a “UK comedy character”, even though she has spent some time in the Mother Country. She is a native of the delightful Melbourne suburb of Moonee Ponds, an ordinary Australian housewife until her comedy routine shot her to prominence and Damehood. Oh, and her creator / actor / alter ego or whatever, the comedian Barry Humphries, is most definitely an Aussie too! (Just see another of his personas, Sir Les Patterson, Australian Cultural Attaché to the Court of St James, if you harbour any doubts!) Or check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Humphries

  76. bnaasko says:

    I live in Denver. We have a lot of illegal immigrants here. It is not uncommon to have illegal immigrants who are in their 20s who have lived here since early childhood. Many of these people have spent years in the public shcools here, and several of them have very limited Spanish language skills since the focus of their education has been to instruct them in English.

    Young people like this are not Mexican citizens in any meaningful sense. They don’t share the culture or language of Mexico. Yet they are not American citizens, and have no legal “right” to be here.

    Some of these young people exercise their natural right to marry one of their neighbors and have children, yet according to the law they have no right to continue living here with their spouses and their children. Is that enough of an injustice for you? A young parent has lived all but maybe a year of his life in an American city and marries and has children and is then deported to a country where they don’t even know the language? A family is broken up because the civil law failed to respect the natural law.

    Surely everybody has a right to belong to some country don’t they?

  77. MichaelJ says:

    Perhaps, if there was such a law that would deport an “illegal” alien who was married to a US citizen and had children born in the United states that particular should be reformed. I could be wrong, which is why I asked you to cite some specific examples, but I doubt if such a law exists, or if it did it would be enforceable.

  78. EXCHIEF says:

    An illegal who marries a U S citizen is not deportable under current law.

  79. robtbrown says:

    Abp. Gomez believes that current US immigration laws are unjust, and are in need of reform. Neither he nor Cardinal Mahoney are in favor of elimination all laws and regulations concerning immigration. Poeple should stop using this strawman.
    Comment by bnaasko

    It is possible that US laws are unjust. But it is certain that it is unjust that Catholics have been deprived of their patrimony–liturgical, doctrinal, seminary formation–for the past 40 years. So I think any bishop should concentrate first on reforming the Church before he sets sail on political issues that are prudential decisions.

  80. Paulus says:

    EXCHIEF: “Best estimates (not the one used by the liberals who lie) is that we have nearly 30 million illegals within our borders. We cannot, socially, financially, or culturally support 30 million illegals.”

    There are about 310 million people in the United States. Do you honestly believe that 1 person in 10 here is illegal? Really?

  81. EXCHIEF says:

    I stand corrected on my last post…an illegal who marries a U S Citizen must apply for legal residency and may have to return to the country of origin while awaiting approval.

  82. robtbrown says:

    Some of these young people exercise their natural right to marry one of their neighbors and have children, yet according to the law they have no right to continue living here with their spouses and their children.

    Is that enough of an injustice for you?

    Don’t you think it’s unjust that someone who is here illegally goes to the head of the line while someone who wants to immigrate legally must remain behind?

    What you’re saying is that whatever is done illegally long enough must be considered legal. This is the same strategy followed by bishops in the sexual scandals.

    A young parent has lived all but maybe a year of his life in an American city and marries and has children and is then deported to a country where they don’t even know the language? A family is broken up because the civil law failed to respect the natural law.
    Comment by bnaasko

    Citizens have a natural right to control their borders. You seem to want to deny that right because you recognize natural rights arbitrarily.

  83. Paulus says:

    robtbrown: “So I think any bishop should concentrate first on reforming the Church before he sets sail on political issues that are prudential decisions.”

    And who exactly is this Church that he should reform? Not that I’m expert in canon law but I thought a diocese is comprised of all people within its geographical boundaries, not just legal citizens within that boundary.

  84. doanli says:

    When I think of the hoops my English in-laws had to jump through, and pay through the nose for, to LEGALLY live in this country (my mum in law being married to an American serviceman for 40 plus years who served his country mostly in Europe), the Cardinal’s comments make me nauseated.

    California aside, ask hospitals along any of the border how their finances are doing? What is the crime rate? (We were hit by a truck belonging to an illegal who fled the scene though my husband tracked her down and called the cops. She was 7 months pregnant on a suspended license who has mysteriously disappeared now from the area, looking like she won’t make it to court.)

  85. EXCHIEF says:

    Paulus
    Yes I do.

  86. robtbrown says:

    And who exactly is this Church that he should reform? Not that I’m expert in canon law but I thought a diocese is comprised of all people within its geographical boundaries, not just legal citizens within that boundary.
    Comment by Paulus

    First, Cardinal Mahoney commented on the Arizona laws. You might have noticed that Los Angeles is not in Arizona.

    Second, reform of the Church has little to do with civil law. Since you asked, I’ll say that poor seminaries, Protestantization of the Eucharist (incl the liturgy), poorly trained priests, and the Sacramental status of pro abortion politicians are a good place to start.

    Third, Right to Asylum is no longer in the CIC because it is now negotiated separately in Concordats. I don’t know of any Concordat between the US govt and Rome.

    Fourth, don’t assume that I am not sympathetic to situation of illegal immigrants. I simply object to reckless statements that the US laws are unjust. It is well known that there is no nation in the world more sympathetic to immigration than the US.

  87. elmo says:

    What about people who come here, not because they wish to break laws, but because they are starving in their country? I have met somebody who was in this situation, who came here illegally after saving her wages for over a year to pay the coyotes who brought her here, spent 6 weeks in a truck packed in with dozens of others, developed a lung condition as a result of the overcrowding in the truck that ruined her health permanently, and was struggling here but at least had indoor plumbing, under-the-table jobs, and a place to lay her head. If I was living in Arizona, I, her landlord (thanks for noting that Salvatore Giuseppe), her pastor (Catholic), her doctor, or whoever else had contact with her, would be obliged to turn her into authorities to be deported. That is the Law. But, I think the Good Samaritan would have done otherwise. And that is what gets me about this Arizona law is that there is no room for mercy toward the one who came here illegally because she was forced to flee her country. Many commentators here on this thread and elsewhere would treat the woman or others in her circumstance the same as the felon fleeing to this country in order to escape jail. The Catholic faith teaches that the poor, the weak, the foreigner, etc., are to be treated with compassion, but so many of us assume that the illegal alien is a predator, an intruder, as someone above put it, instead of maybe Christ in “the distressing disguise of the poor” as Blessed Theresa put it. Perhaps many reading this would say Mother Theresa was a liberal because she loved the poor so much.

    This woman eventually left the U.S. I don’t know if she was deported or not. She saved her wages and was exploited by the people who brought her here, was exploited while she was here, got sick, and is right back where she started — if she is still alive, that is.

    I guess what I am asking is less pharasaical talk about what this law says or that about what Catholic Americans can/should/ought/ to do for the least of these people, and really more thought about who these people really are who are risking their lives to come to this country, what they are fleeing, and what they hope to find once they are here. Not all illegal aliens are criminals, even if they are breaking the law by coming here. Some of them are just trying not to starve to death.

  88. MichaelJ says:

    elmo,

    You might want to read the proposed legislation again. I am not a lawyer, and I assume you are not either, but there is nothing that I could find that would require you, a doctor, a landlord or a Priest turn turn this woman in for deportation. As I read it, the section that Salvatore cited would apply to the “coyotes” and those who brought here her for the purpose of exploitation.

  89. Sam Urfer says:

    This document shows the disapproval of the Arizona bishops, who are in line with the consistent teaching of the Church regarding immigration in this country: http://www.diocesephoenix.org/acc/documents/BishopsStmtonLegisREvulnerablepopulationsMarch2010.pdf

    Traditional, orthodox Catholicism might not be Mahoney’s “thing” overall, but seeing the evil of American immigration law is not a liberal position, at all.

  90. Sam Urfer says:

    “When I think of the hoops my English in-laws had to jump through, and pay through the nose for, to LEGALLY live in this country (my mum in law being married to an American serviceman for 40 plus years who served his country mostly in Europe), the Cardinal’s comments make me nauseated.”

    This is part of the evil of American immigration law. It tortures people who go through the legal process, while being completely ineffective at keeping people out, and this later is by necessity. It is quite literally impossible to keep Mexicans out if we tried. We might discourage some more by being harsher, but it won’t keep desperate and poor people from doing what they need to do to feed their family. The real solution is to make it easy and painless for migrant workers to come into the country legally and documented, so they can be tracked down in case of emergency or in relation to a crime, and also help prevent exploitation by unscrupulous employers. Whenever this solution is tried, people raise a hue and cry, and it ain’t pretty. The bishops have worked hard to try and encourage healthy immigration reform that makes it easier for Mexicans and others to enter the country legally, but Nativism is a strong force to fight. Don’t expect more orthodox bishops to be more in line with the “conservative” party line on pet evils, as you will be disappointed.

  91. Mr. Graves says:

    I’ve always wanted to live in Scotland.

    Who here will support me as I enter this sovereign country in contravention of its laws and commit felony identity theft on a daily basis? After all, Scotland is where the Glenfiddich lives, and being rich in Glenfiddich, the Scots have a moral obligation to provide me, an American citizen, with Glenfiddich — at great cost to themselves but without my having to observe their duly constituted laws.

    I trust everyone here who has argued that illegals have a “right” to enter the U.S. in contravention of its laws and stay by committing regular, ongoing identity theft will support me when I crash Scotland to demand my “right” to Glenfiddich at the expense of the laws and safety of Scotland. After all, I’m “Catholic,” and any inquiries as to just what kind of “catholic” is a law unto himself as regards immigration and labor requirements will be met with cries of “nativist” or worse. When cornered, I’ll hide behind the skirts of progressive religious and political figures who believe that I am much more moral than those d@mn Scottish conservatives.

    You’ll all contribute to my legal defense fund when Scotland unjustly deports me, right?

  92. JonM says:

    Out of the gates, Cardinal Mahoney is correct about this.

    To the extent that states have the ability to enforce laws, sure, Arizona has the ability to arrest anyone accused of a crime in its jurisdiction. Many complain that illegal aliens are allowed to commit DWIs and steal and pillage and the police ignore it (I file this in the urban legend category.)

    I suppose the trouble could begin when someone is arrested for, say DWI, and then the police find no driver’s license, the accused does not speak English (which is not at all itself a crime), and there is evidence the person is engaged in the construction trade. Though there is a fairly good indicaiton this person might be an illegal alien, the accused must be tried.

    Immigration law has always been a federal province. In the short history of the United States, immigration laws were never zealously enforced, except for the 1920s when racial purity ideals merged with Protestantism.

    Anyway, bnaasko is absolutely right. In my own community, the Sheriff’s department responded to criticism about its implementation of 287(g). The englightened response, intended to assuage fears of profiling, was ‘Naa, it’s easy to know who’s illegal. They illegals got them statues in their car.’ (This was a reference to statues of Our Lady of Guadalupe.)

    Part of the problem with this debate is that there is a tendancy for people to flock to extreme positions (e.g., mass deportation or total no-strings-attached amnesty) and refuse to see any nuance to the situation.

    The biggest beneficiaries of the current system are large corporations who enjoy a captive workforce (they cannot complain to OSHA, FTC, etc. about anything.) For board room planners, corporatism guides all decisions and if employing illegal aliens means lower labor costs, then that is what they will do. Seeing profit as the final goal has been condemned by the Church but this teaching is pretty frequently ignored. (NB: Socialism is not the answer. The goal is to have strong community based commerce that is protected against mass consolidation. Banking has a lot to do with this.)

    There is another dimension to this debate: the legal immigration system. If you know any legal immigrants, you will know that they probably went through all sorts of chores (some fair, many just absurd) to become citizens.

    I think what is necessary is some kind of staged approach for those not with citizenship. They should have to pay fines, attend citizenship training, and obtain either full citizenship or some kind of expanded green card. The more lasting fix will be engaging Mexico to help solve its problems of drug cartels, economic issues, etc.

    I want to add that some are making unfair comparisons. Our situation is not like me just deciding I want to living in France or Norway: there are no historical labor relationships between the United States and those counties. However, American policy makers had their hands deep in Mexico even 200 years ago. American ‘statesmen’ were spreading Freemasonry all over Mexico (to quite a success I would add.)

    Also, there has been historical population exchange (mostly ethnic Meztizo-Europeans coming north.)

    What concerns me about the rage involved in the immigration debate is that this is a chapter of scapegoating one population for the economic problems at large.

    I was a candidate for Congress this primary and attended Tea Party events. I can tell you first hand that a significant portion of the attendees are totally without compassion (or any sense for that matter) when it comes to programs to help people in debt, dealing with the immigration problem, or the unemployed. I am convinced that some would be perfectly content seeing storm troopers round up ‘suspects’ (read: any Latino) and deport them or even just shoot them. To be clear: only some, not all, seemed to be of this mindset.

    People are understandably upset about the fact we have unemployment around 20%, but this is therefore a dangerous time, especially for a country rooted not in Catholic teachings but rather an odd mixture of Mammonism and ‘personal Christianity.’ I think this is what concerns Cardinal Mahoney, that an angry population can begin passing small laws that eventually, and rapidly, morph into something else. If only he were so concerned with matters of Liturgy of the Eucharist…another issue in another discussion.

    Finally, it is not neighborly to shield ourselves with a form of legalism. We know we have to favor something more flexible and nuanced.

  93. doanli says:

    One only has to look at California to see what unfettered ILLEGAL immigration has done. Hospitals are closing and the public school system is at the breaking point according to a friend of mine who lives there. And so is the prison system.

    The law is the law. What part of “illegal” don’t some of you understand, including His Eminence? (and how dare he compare Arizona’s legislature to Nazism? Puhleez.)

    But yes, immigration should not be a bureaucratic nightmare.

  94. Paulus says:

    California’s problems run far, far deeper than anything caused solely by illegal immigration. Hospitals aren’t closing because of illegals, they’re closing because of the uninsured. Illegals comprise only 8.6% of emergency room visits and 1/3 of those are insured. Overall uninsured hospital visits make up almost a fifth of all hospital visits, so out of 100 people who visit the hospital 20 are uninsured and 5 of those are illegal. If you remove those 5 have you solved the problem? No. You’ve solved only 25% of the problem. I’ve lived in California and have lived with California’s problems all of my 50 years. Illegal immigration is a scapegoat.

  95. robtbrown says:

    The biggest beneficiaries of the current system are large corporations who enjoy a captive workforce (they cannot complain to OSHA, FTC, etc. about anything.) For board room planners, corporatism guides all decisions and if employing illegal aliens means lower labor costs, then that is what they will do. Seeing profit as the final goal has been condemned by the Church but this teaching is pretty frequently ignored. (NB: Socialism is not the answer. The goal is to have strong community based commerce that is protected against mass consolidation. Banking has a lot to do with this.)
    Comment by JonM

    Large Corporations? What are IBM and GE doing to exploit illegal immigrants? The main criticism of large corporations has been that they outsource work to other nations, not that they bring in illegals.

    A few years ago my mother had a new roof put on her house and an inground sprinkler system installed. Those who did it spoke Spanish, and I have no idea (nor any way to prove) whether they were illegal or not. Very diligent workers.

    There is definitely rage, but I think it’s a mistake to consider it only directed at illegal immigrants. A lot of people have lived financially responsible lives–they put money away in retirement funds and only bought houses they can afford. They are disgusted because they know that the govt has not done its job.

    People are disgusted that their retirement funds have been depleted while those responsible for the near collapse of the system walked away with millions. Included in that group is not Wall Street houses but also quasi govt institutions like Fannie and Freddie (Franklin Raines, Clinton’s budget director took over Fannie and walked away with 90 million dollars.)

    We can also mention Congress and various administrations, that spent the FICA Trust Fund, leaving IOU’s.

    For Catholics, it has been the failure of leadership for more than 40 years.

  96. robtbrown says:

    Should be: Included in that group is not only Wall Street houses.

  97. Mr. Graves says:

    “They are disgusted because they know that the govt has not done its job” *and* because the double standard strikes again. If I abuse Scotland, I’m a bad person who is morally culpable for that sin. But millions upon millions of people violate the U.S., many bishops are not only willing to turn a blind eye to a clear wrong, but they’re willing to call it virtue. Failure of leadership, indeed.

    I am intrigued by one poster’s comment, though. How does a “history of labor relations” nullify one’s obligation to obey the law?

    Perhaps there’s hope for Project Glenfiddich after all?

  98. Randii says:

    Rush Limbaugh said on his show today that you know the Arizone bill is good because the Catholic church/Mahoney are against it. He then noted that Mahoney has a large Hispanic consituency.

  99. MichaelJ says:

    For those who consider current immigration laws unjust or budensome, you’ll have to contend with on glaring fact. According to the Department of Homeland Security, a total of 1,130,818 persons obtained permanent resident alien status in fiscal year 2009; it was the first time in U.S. history that this number topped one million for the fifth year in a row.

    If over one million people a year can accomplish a specific task, I fail to see how that task can be considered especially burdensome.
    On a more personal note, I know literally dozens of individuals who legally migrated to the United States and not one has complained about the process. In fact, most seem to be excited to be here and eager to complete any requirements asked of them.

  100. Before we consider changing the system, let’s enforce what’s actually on the books first,

  101. Sam Urfer says:

    “Rush Limbaugh said on his show today that you know the Arizone bill is good because the Catholic church/Mahoney are against it. He then noted that Mahoney has a large Hispanic consituency.”

    This proves that the Arizzona bill is bad, because Rush Limbaugh approves of it. I should also note that Limbaugh has a large so-called “right-wing” dissident constituency. Gosh, that was kind of fun. :P

    Actually, if Limbaugh said it the way you did, that seems rather sinisterly anti-Catholic. Nativism will be what it is, I suppose.

    “The law is the law.”

    AND

    “Before we consider changing the system, let’s enforce what’s actually on the books first”

    An unjust law is no law at all is a basic part of Catholic social thought. The bishops, especially those with first-hand knowledge of the situation, have been very consistent in their stand on the issue. What’s on the books must go, because it is ridiculous. Bush tried to start a “worker exchange program” with Mexico so that the undocumented part of undocumented workers would be taken care of, but some people found that objectionable. The fact that this continues to be a problem is not the fault of migrant workers, but of the American electorate.

  102. Sam Urfer says:

    “For those who consider current immigration laws unjust or budensome, you’ll have to contend with on glaring fact. According to the Department of Homeland Security, a total of 1,130,818 persons obtained permanent resident alien status in fiscal year 2009; it was the first time in U.S. history that this number topped one million for the fifth year in a row.”

    And there is some ridiculous number more who come to do hard, dirty labor to support their familys. I’d like to see a breakdown of where the million official immigrants stand on income.

    “If over one million people a year can accomplish a specific task, I fail to see how that task can be considered especially burdensome.”

    $$$

    “On a more personal note, I know literally dozens of individuals who legally migrated to the United States and not one has complained about the process. In fact, most seem to be excited to be here and eager to complete any requirements asked of them.”

    How many of them are penniless Hispanics?

  103. MichaelJ says:

    Sam,
    I do not understand. Are you seriously suggesting that Hispanics are less capable than people of other ethnic backgrounds? That Hispanics are less willing than everone else to conform their behavior to the expectations of their host nation?

  104. Sam Urfer says:

    “I do not understand. Are you seriously suggesting that Hispanics are less capable than people of other ethnic backgrounds? That Hispanics are less willing than everone else to conform their behavior to the expectations of their host nation?”

    Not at all, I’m suggesting that undocumented workers are lacking in monetary resources, which is why they risk so much to go where the work is. I am saying that the system is designed specifically to keep out “undesirables”, i.e. the poor, especially Catholic poor. That orthodox Catholics would blame the poor for being oppressed is rather sad.

  105. Sam Urfer says:

    To put it another way: the problem with “illegal immigration” is not the immigrants, but the law. Legal positivism is not workable; it does not become wrong for men to seek honest work to support their families because the government says so. Natural law trumps civil codes. And, honestly, as a Californian I have to say that the undocumented workers do tend to be some of the most moral, hard working part of our society. That they are ignoring one unjust set of laws does not make them scoff-laws; that is why they go for drivers licences, insurance, etc. They respect the law, where and when it deserves respect. Just as the bishops, from Mahoney to Gomez, have consistently taught. The bishops do not support the status quo; they want the US government to stop playing God with human beings, whether the unborn or the migrant worker.

  106. Sam Urfer says:

    Additionally, much of the problem with gangs and drug cartels results from the equally insane “War on Drugs”, another bitter fruit of legal positivism which leads to greater evils than it purports to fight.

  107. JonM says:

    Large Corporations? What are IBM and GE doing to exploit illegal immigrants? The main criticism of large corporations has been that they outsource work to other nations, not that they bring in illegals.

    Outsourcing is a different issue, an important one but a different one.

    Industries like meatpacking have become common jobs for illegal aliens. Farming is also primarily corporatized and I believe many involved in farm labor don’t have their papers in order.

    A few years ago my mother had a new roof put on her house and an inground sprinkler system installed. Those who did it spoke Spanish, and I have no idea (nor any way to prove) whether they were illegal or not. Very diligent workers.

    This is a common story or version of one. It is true that construction and construction related jobs are common to the undocumented. One problem is that employer check laws are hardly enforced and usually referenced once a year when departments want to make the news for being ‘tough on crime.’

    There is definitely rage, but I think it’s a mistake to consider it only directed at illegal immigrants. A lot of people have lived financially responsible lives—they put money away in retirement funds and only bought houses they can afford. They are disgusted because they know that the govt has not done its job.

    I agree, you are absolutely correct. I think most of the frustration is directed at the government, its bank bailout, and the general acceptance that ‘free elections’ are pretty much a joke. Cardinal Mahoney might fear that a population that is very upset could have its anger directed at a scapegoat.

    The law could be twisted or broadly interpreted by a furious population and Hispanics in general get harassed. I know Mexicans (who legally became citizens) could easily get caught up in a dragnet conducted by crazed local sheriffs.

  108. MichaelJ says:

    Sam,
    most of your speculation is just that, speculation and does not seem to be borne out by the facts. For me to accept what you write I must also accept that:

    1. None of the million plus immigrants who legally entered the US last year were poor
    2. Hispanics are the only ethnic group “lacking in monetary resources”
    3. A poor individual is incapable of applying for a Visa
    4. It is possible to “seek honest work” by beginning with dishonesty.
    5. A poor person, by virtue of his poverty, is not required to comply with the rules applicable to everyone else
    6. Honesty, dilligence, respect for the law and hard work is a characteristic particular to illegal immigrants and not to immigrants in general.
    7. Poor Hispanics are somehow deserving of special treatment not avaiable to poor Vietnamese or any other poor individual.
    8. Honest work can be found only in the US and then only if one enters the country illegally.
    9. If i disagree with you about the specific intent of the current immigration laws and whether they are just it must mean that I “blame the poor for being oppressed”

  109. Sam Urfer says:

    Most of your bullet points don’t really follow from anything and are quite irrelevant, but I shall address them anyway.

    “1. None of the million plus immigrants who legally entered the US last year were poor”

    Didn’t say that…but practically none of those who entered illegally were rich, because the rich are not in desperate straits.

    “2. Hispanics are the only ethnic group “lacking in monetary resources””

    Of course not, that would be ridiculous. Justice for poor immigrants applies to anybody, of any race or creed, as the bishops have consistently taught, if you were inclined to pay attention instead of mocking them. But Hispanics are, by volume, the majority who come in desperation looking for work, and hence the focus of most conversation regarding the issue.

    “3. A poor individual is incapable of applying for a Visa”

    Theoretically capable, but practically unless one is coming from a former US colony (such as the Philippines), it is rather difficult.

    “4. It is possible to “seek honest work” by beginning with dishonesty.”

    People do that all the time. And seriously, those who hire illegals and exploit know perfectly well what they are doing, so I wouldn’t say there is any dishonesty going on.

    “5. A poor person, by virtue of his poverty, is not required to comply with the rules applicable to everyone else”

    No, nobody has to comply with these rules. This is why the bishops condone protecting and housing immigrants, regardless of the “legality” of their presence.

    “6. Honesty, dilligence, respect for the law and hard work is a characteristic particular to illegal immigrants and not to immigrants in general.”

    Of course, that would be a ridiculous thing to say, who said anything about that? Undocumented workers, however, are no less moral than any other group of people, and in my experience are often very good people. I was addressing the sort of ridiculous scare-mongering some others were engaging in upthread. In point of fact, undocumented workers do have a lower rate of crime than other sectors of society; they are notably law-abiding people, by and large.

    “7. Poor Hispanics are somehow deserving of special treatment not avaiable to poor Vietnamese or any other poor individual.”

    Of course not; as I said, the whole complex of US immigration law is unjust and needs to be changed, as the bishops have been teaching consistently, across “party” lines for decades and generations.

    “8. Honest work can be found only in the US and then only if one enters the country illegally.”

    Well, if one can’t get in otherwise, then no. And this here is one of the big problems. Because desperate and poor people can’t go where they have work available legally, they are exploited by unscrupulous Americans who underpay them and mistreat them, and they have no recourse to justice. This is why they should be allowed into the country legally, and allowed to unionize. That way, they would not be undercutting anybody else, and they would no longer be exploited. Don’t deport the immigrants, legalize their presence. That is the just solution to the present issue. That Catholics dissent from the Church and fight this is not right. The Baltimore Catechism speaks of crimes that cry out to Heaven for vengeance, of which there are four. This is from the Douay Catechism of 1649 on the seriousness of the third, “oppressing of the poor, which is a cruel, tyrannical, and unjust dealing with inferiors”:

    “Q. 931. What other proof have you of that?
    A. Out of Exod. xxii. 21. “Ye shall not hurt the widow and the fatherless: If you do hurt them, they will cry unto me, and I will hear them cry, and my fury shall take indignation, and I will strike thee with the sword.” And out of Isa. x. 1, 2. “Wo to them that make unjust laws, that they might oppress the poor in judgment, and do violence to the cause of the humble of my people.””

    “9. If i disagree with you about the specific intent of the current immigration laws and whether they are just it must mean that I “blame the poor for being oppressed””

    The consistent testimony of the American Episcopate backs this up, whether they are “conservative” or “liberal” bishops, amounting to the Ordinary use of the Magesterium, which means that, yes, it is binding on Catholics to seek to reform the immigration system in this country due to the injustices perpetuated. Gomez, Cordileone, and Chapet speak up against the grave evils of our immigration system just as much as Mahoney and his crowd. To stand apart from this stance is cafeteria Catholicism, just as much as being “pro-choice” is. Being a pick-and-choose sort of Catholic for Republican issues is just as bad as for Democrat issues.

  110. Sam Urfer says:

    “This is a crucial issue which Catholic citizens must address, [b]with the mind of the Church[/b].

    “Unfortunately, too many Catholics (and other Christians) have not considered the implications of our Gospel committment to the poor in considering immigration reform. They have instead listened to prevailing political jargon from both the ‘right’ and the ‘left.’ We offer the transcript of the Archbishops’ remarks as an example of how an informed Catholic should approach this vital issue. As the Archbishop points out: “The Catholic commitment to the dignity of the immigrant comes from exactly the same roots as our commitment to the dignity of the unborn child. Any Catholic who truly understands his or her faith knows that the right to life precedes and creates the foundation for every other human right.”

    http://www.catholic.org/politics/story.php?id=33837

  111. Fr_Sotelo says:

    I believe our nation has a right to enforce its borders with the passage of immigration law that is just and oriented to the common good. Thus, anger, even Catholic anger, at the situation that there are so many illegals in this country is understandable. But there needs to be an acknowledgment also that at times this anger does not see all the complications of this problem.

    What would you honestly do, honestly, if you lived in a destitute country and desperately wanted to provide a better life for your wife and kids? You would go to a country where there was more economic opportunity, even if you had to enter illegally. If I was starving and my kids were starving, I would not hesitate to break a law and move to a place where I could find work and feed my family.

    As far as this subject goes, I get very uncomfortable when Catholics start to speak about illegals in the same way as political pundits do, even parroting their talking points. The pundits speak of illegals with 1) no connection to Scriptural teaching about the alien in our midst, and 2) they assume an uncritical moral acceptance that immigration law is just and therefore any breaking of it is criminal.

    Well, Catholics are not to see things like a pundit, but with a spiritual outlook that is bold to challenge worldly views and laws which may not always be just in their foundation.

    JonM, Paulus, Sam Urfer, and others posting here have done a great service, in my opinion. They have interjected a challenge that could be summed up as “should we, as Catholics, be speaking of illegals just like the pundits do, and should we not challenge any effects of immigration law on moral grounds?”

    Cardinal Mahony is a priest, which means he should speak up when he sees what he believes is injustice to the poor or downtrodden. We may not like it or agree with it, but this is what priests do (or should do). The clergy see that aliens have broken a law, but at the same time they see that businesses encourage this for the cheap labor and profit margin. So, politicians talk about going after the aliens. Then, they turn around and assure the lobbyists in the money sector that there will be no enforcement.

    It is a big game. The voters insists on enforcement of the law and that the law stay the same. The politicians know that businesses will absolutely not tolerate to see the law enforced and think the law as it stands is a big joke anyway. Caught between the rock and the hard place are the illegals who make a convenient blame for any problem you can invent a statistic for.

    I don’t think the Cardinal was getting dramatic for a publicity stunt. I think like a lot of clergy, he just gets fed up with the whole political game swirling around illegals and how laws like the Arizona one just perpetuate the charade but do nothing constructive.

  112. Mr. Graves says:

    The best point made by the open borders crowd is that businesses who hire illegals should be punished. That’s the side of the coin that conservatives seldom discuss, and it’s an excellent point. Their behavior is just as reprehensible as the aliens’ behavior.

    Moral equivalence doesn’t make for good public policy — or good theology. If contraception is wrong in Idaho, it’s wrong in Tanzania. If Scotland is worthy of respect vis-a-vis its immigration laws, so it the U.S. and its citizens.

    Fr. Z’s final line about the double standard seems fulfilled here. It’s wrong for you and me, but moral equivalence dictates that it’s A-OK for someone else. Strange.

  113. JonM says:

    Some have asked what is the significance of a history of labor relations. Why is this situation different than, say, me going to Scotland outside of the law?

    This is a prime example of common law. If a written law is ignored or mostly ignored for a very long time, as long as it does not govern a fundamental restriction (e.g, murder, rape, arson), the written law must be viewed in light of actual application.

    In our case, we have the added element that most of Mexico was annexed in the Mexican War. Clearly, this was not a defensive engagement but rather an opportunity for empire building.

    It became long standing practice to allow Mexicans to cross into US territory to work or live. Except for two anti-Catholic and nativist episodes in the 1920s and 1950s respectively, this labor exchange continued.

    Furthermore, the US government has a rich history of engaging in policy to pry open Mexico to American big banks and big investors. In the wake of this, Mexico has a vast chasm between the people and tiny ultra wealthy (sort of like what is happening here). The result is many people are not just going without televisions and computers, but have trouble procuring basic living standards.

    Now, to suddenly pass a law that requires police to be suspicious of potential illegal alien activity (e.g., I guess judging if that’s just a tan or if it really is burnt siennia) when people are really mad due to failures with wars and a bad economy actually does harken back to 1930s Germany at least to some degree.

    In my view, his Eminence is calling this straight. And I would add that other posters are right that conservative Catholics are not always as consistent with Church teachings as they are with political conservatism (which isn’t really conservative since ‘American conservatism’ frequently changes.)

  114. Mr. Graves says:

    I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not as smart or educated as many folks here, but I don’t see how the enforcement (or lack thereof) of any law affects right and wrong.

    As best I can tell, arguments about “labor relations” and appeals to class warfare are just a tactic to get people to forget that the moral law makes demands on us all — even though many folks (usually of the “American liberal” sort, which is also shifting but is usually on the wrong side of any debate nonetheless) would like to believe that they, and their pet causes are exceptions and can behave as abominably as they like.

    And I think there are lots and lots of folks who have grown sick of this particular kind of sophistry, as well as the priests and politicians who try to fool us with it.

    If it’s wrong for me to invade Scotland, it’s wrong for someone else to invade the U.S. It’s a pretty easy concept if you’re honest about it — and if you don’t have an agenda that requires bending over backwards to right seem wrong and wrong seem right.

  115. bookworm says:

    “Part of the problem with this debate is that there is a tendancy for people to flock to extreme positions (e.g., mass deportation or total no-strings-attached amnesty) and refuse to see any nuance to the situation.”

    Yes, that is a BIG part of the problem — people who refuse to make distinctions between, say, a violent gang member or drug runner who sneaked across the border, and someone who was brought to the U.S. by illegal immigrant parents as an infant, was raised an American and has lived nowhere else, has been a law-abiding resident all their life, then discovers as an adult that they have never been a legal U.S. resident.

    In the eyes of the law, both are “illegals,” but only one is obviously a threat to public safety and order. I see nothing wrong with an immigration policy that would concentrate on securing our borders, deporting illegals who pose a definite threat to public safety, and providing some kind of means for otherwise law-abiding illegals (those who have broken no other laws) to rectify their situation. If that constitutes “amnesty,” well, so be it.

    The important thing is to get a policy than can be consistently and fairly enforced. Immigration laws are like traffic or zoning laws in that they are designed to maintain public safety and order. If they fail to accomplish that purpose, they can and should be changed.

    I believe the federal government is intentionally NOT trying too hard to stop illegal immigration because illegals pay substantial amounts of Social Security and income tax to the federal government — and in fact are helping to prop up the Social Security system by replacing the taxes not paid by the children the Baby Boom generation didn’t have. (Most illegal immigrants DO draw regular paychecks from which taxes are withheld, and many file income tax returns.)

    But while Uncle Sam makes money from the presence of illegals, state and local jurisdictions get stuck with the costs related to their presence (e.g. overcrowded jails and schools). Hence states and local governments are forced to take the lead on a policy issue that rightfully is a federal matter.

  116. MichaelJ says:

    Sam,
    The implication of your post of 21 April 2010 @ 4:14 pm was that the experience I have with legal immigrants does not count because they were not “poor Hispanics”.
    That is what prompted my responses to you.

    That being said, how about a different direction. If you were King, what would your immigration policy be?

  117. elmo says:

    In general it is wrong to “invade” any country (i.e., enter illegally), but if somebody came to this country illegally because they and their children are starving in their own country, does that make them morally equivalent to the felon fleeing Mexican authorities, or the affluent American who decides they’d like to live in Scotland? Obviously the answer is no. Not all illegal immigrants are invading hordes of dark-hued criminals. In fact, the ones I and others here have met, tend to keep their heads down and work hard. For those, some compassion would seem to be in order. Especially, as Christians