Bishops to undocumented immigrants: “You are not alone”

The message came in a pastoral letter released yesterday, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe:

“We recognize that every human being, authorized or not, is an image of God and therefore possesses infinite value and dignity,” begins the strongly worded letter released on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dec. 12. “We open our arms and hearts to you, and we receive you as members of our Catholic family. As pastors, we direct these words to you from the depths of our heart.”

“We urge you not to despair,” said the letter signed by 33 bishops. “Keep faith in Jesus the migrant who continues to walk beside you. Have faith in Our Lady of Guadalupe, who constantly repeats to us the words she spoke to St. Juan Diego, ‘Am I, who am your mother, not here?’”

The letter thanks immigrants for “the Christian values you manifest to us with your lives — your sacrifice for the well-being of your families, your determination and perseverance, your joy of life, your profound faith and fidelity despite your insecurity and many difficulties.”

Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, Calif., told Catholic News Service the bishops wanted “to reach out to the immigrant community and express our concern for them, to speak to them in a spirit of solidarity.”

Though there’s been interest in such a form of outreach for a while, Bishop Soto said there was a sense that it might especially be needed now, because from a political standpoint, it “does not look promising” for government action to improve the legal situation of millions of undocumented immigrants.

“Christian solidarity is not based on political optimism, but it is based on religious hope,” he said. The release date of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe was chosen because she “is such a powerful symbol of solidarity and hope, particularly in difficult times.”

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe comes from the likeness of Mary that appeared on a cloak worn by a poor Indian to whom she appeared on a hillside in Mexico in 1531. Her coloring and features resemble those of an indigenous woman, which at the time and since then has been seen as a message of hope and solidarity to the poor.

Bishop Soto said letter was the result of a collaborative writing process among the Hispanic bishops. And they hope it will be used broadly around the country by all U.S. bishops.

In the letter, they expressed regret that some people have reacted to the economic crisis by showing disdain for immigrants. Some “even blame them for the crisis,” they said. “We will not find a solution to our problems by sowing hatred. We will find the solution by sowing a sense of solidarity among all workers and co-workers — immigrants and citizens — who live together in the United States.”

“Your suffering faces” show the “true face of Jesus Christ,” the bishops said, noting they are well aware of the great sacrifices they make for their families.

“Many of you perform the most difficult jobs and receive miserable salaries and no health insurance or social security,” they continued. “Despite your contributions to the well-being of our country, instead of receiving our thanks, you are often treated as criminals because you have violated current immigration laws.”

Read the rest.


  1. Bishops to legal immigrants waiting to become citizens-> tough for you, you should have broken the law.

  2. It is nteresting to me that according to this story it is only “U.S. Hispanic and Latino Catholic bishops” signing this pastoral letter. I’m wondering why only they?

  3. Don from NH says:

    I expect that we will have a treasure trove of Republicans on this blog telling our Bishops where they went wrong. Santourm was the first.

  4. naturgesetz says:

    That is a falsehood, Benn. The report gives no indication whatever that the bishops want those who came illegally to be given preference over those who came legally.

  5. It is profoundly disconcerting when you have bishops advocating amnesty for people who were and are breaking the law. It shows a profound disrespect for the ideal of the rule of law in general and specifically for the rights of those persons who have waited and are still waiting, often for years, for the opportunity to enter this country legally. It’s like they just flipped the Bronx salute to every would be legal immigrant to the United States. It also demonstrates an appalling lack of comprehension about the likely consequences a mass amnesty. First and foremost would be a flood of new illegal immigrants into the country expecting that if they just wait long enough, they too will get the same treatment. And the crisis that this is creating in border states is simply ignored. Many people who live on or near our border now are afraid to leave their homes at night. And even in the day many feel the need to be armed when out and about. Violent crime on the border is at alarming levels.

    The bishops really need to think a little before putting pen to paper and spouting their knee jerk social liberalism. There are times when they seem determined to give the Episcopal Church competition for the title of the Democratic Party at prayer.

  6. naturgesetz says:

    From the CNS story:
    “Bishop Soto said letter was the result of a collaborative writing process among the Hispanic bishops. And they hope it will be used broadly around the country by all U.S. bishops.”

    I hope so too. One thing Catholics should be keenly aware of is that the anti-immigrant hysteria of today (as has often been the case in the past) falls largely on their fellow Catholics.

  7. naturgesetz says:

    You’re fabricating, Ad Orientem. The word “amnesty” appears nowhere in the story. And a call for a path to citizenship does not necessarily entail a “mass amnesty.”

    As for violent crime, it would make more sense to focus on the violent criminals of whom you speak instead of indiscriminately targeting the nonviolent along with them. Indeed, it could be reasonably argued that wasting precious law enforcement time and personnel in pursuing non-violent illegal entrants at a time of such crisis as you describe is a severe failure to protect the public, demonstrating a level of poor judgment that amounts to unfitness to hold a leadership position in public safety and law enforcement agencies.

  8. The good bishop loses the argument with his last sentence there. Yes, the United States treats people who enter our country illegally as criminals. It has every right to do so. Mexico does the same. Mexico in fact immediately deports any and all illegal immigrants. The bishops squander their moral authority when they engage in anti-nomianism of this kind

  9. You mean all those people who are on a waiting list to get legal entry and can’t are suckers? My sister in-law is from Peru and it was an ordeal to get legal status. Just break the law and you’ ll get in. Don’t worry about. Sorry, I ademantly disagree with the bishops.

  10. As an American-born in the 70s, I am so glad that the immigrant bashing that occurs today wasn’t as prevalent 40 years ago. I’m African-American and my parents entered this country illegally, from the Caribbean. When my brother and I were born, they were able to file legally for citizenship through us, since we were considered full citizens. We were able to attend Catholic schools and eventually go to college because our parents worked hard to give us more than what they had. Interestingly enough I went to an Ivy league University where I met many people with a similar background. My mom and I were talking about this a few weeks ago. In today’s world it wouldn’t be possible and that bothers me.

  11. And by legal status I meant through legal immigration.

  12. And I assume then the bishops expect the rest of society to pay for the costs of carrying illegal immigrants. Sorry, I don’t care what the bishops say on this. Society has a right to control its borders and manage immigration. No one is saying we shouldn’t deport them in an undignified manner. There are means that do not violate human dignity. In fact, it’s incredibly undignified in the way they come across the border.

  13. naturgesetz
    I think you are being disingenuous. Of course what we are talking about here is amnesty irrespective of the bishops politically wise decision to avoid the word. It is forgiving illegal entry into this country and rewarding law breaking. It is an insult to legal immigrants and would be legal immigrants all over the world. And it will almost certainly encourage more of the same. Further your argument that somehow enforcement of national sovereignty and our right as a nation to limit who enters this country is responsible for violent crime is risible. It is akin to the robber saying that if only you had handed your wallet over when I first demanded it I would not have had to beat you with the lead pipe.

  14. I’ve always been stumped by this argument. How exactly are you paying for these immigrants who generally work and pay taxes like everyone else? In fact it can be argued that they pay more because they will never see that money that they paid into the system returned to them since they don’t have valid social security numbers. I can understand a protectionist stance regarding the work available, but I just don’t understand what people think they are paying for illegal immigrants.

  15. Wendy,
    While I applaud your personal success and the strong work ethic your parents obviously instilled in you, that is a poor argument for rewarding illegal immigration. And to be frank your story reinforces rather strongly my conviction that we need to repeal the birthright citizenship clause in the 14th Amendment. Very few countries have such an insane provision for granting citizenship. The clause made good sense in the 1870′s given what was being done to the recently freed slaves. But today it makes no sense at all.

  16. Hmmm, what you call “rewarding illegal immigration” I call continuing to be America. I’m sorry but unfortunately for you, I’m an American too and I don’t want to change my country in that way. I have always been proud to be an American BECAUSE it was a melting pot. I think you want to create a new America that I wouldn’t want to live in. Thankfully repealing and amendment is not so easily done. Btw, I wasn’t making an argument, just sharing a different perspective.
    :) And Thank you for the compliment, though it is more on my mother’s behalf than mine. God Bless.

  17. there is zero immigrant bashing going on in this country. There is a desire that the laws of the land be enforced. People forget that there was this same debate while Reagan was in office. There was a compromise between the parties to allow those here illegally through amnesty to have a path to citzenship. What was agreed during this negotiation was that with this, we would seal the borders to those breaking the law and coming in illegally. There was also increases in the numbers of those allowed to immigrate and also the catagory was changed to not count each one when a family arrived. Reagan backed this bill and signed it. Then everything that anyone tried to do to uphold the law and seal the border as agreed was blocked by the Democratic Party. So now there is the same cry to again reward those breaking the laws of the country. It is not undocumented, but illegal. If a guy robs a bank and pretends he has a gun, we do not call him an undocumented bank robber. We have laws and the Catholic Church in fact recognizes a countries right to have secure borders.

    This problem is a simple one to solve and it was a recomendation I read on this very site a while back. We have whistle blower laws to portect those who come forward to protect them and in many cases reward them. The suggestion was to create a whistle blower program that rewarded reporting employers who hire illegal immigrants. The fine would vary depending on the numbers and scope of the lawbreaking. The one reporting it would get a portion of the fine and the other would be used to deport those here illegally. If there was a repeat offender by a company or by a person moving from one company to another, there would also be significant jail time. Dry up jobs and you dry up the reasons to come here illegally. The second part of this would be to have congress on an annual basis determine the number of immigrant we need and cand sustain in this country depending on the status of our own workers and the needs of employers. By eliminating those employers taking advantage of cheap slave labor and insuring that those coming in have jobs, we would have a lot more humane situation for everyone.

    Then we should work diplomatically to insure the countries with huge problems do the right things to begin to end their poverty problems on our borders with sensible negotiations which do not harm our own job market in the USA as happened with NAFTA.

  18. Wendy, the cost of the illegals in many states has been carefully documented and it is in the billions of dollars. That is why the states on the borders have been trying to get the government to do their job and protect the borders. Thus we have laws set up by the federal government on immigration like every country in the world. In fact, the USA has a long history of support for legal immigration.

  19. As to the Catholic Bishops, after years of not being concerned about protecting the kids for decades, I guess we should not be surprised if they support those who break our immigration laws. This is a sorry day when the Bishops come out against the American people and the right to protect our own borders. In fact, one might look at the Vatican laws on immigration which are much tougher than those here in the USA. Maybe we should have some of those occupy crowds do so in Vatican City and see how they are welcomed. I doubt you would see them getting half the benefits illegal immigrants get here.

  20. Since I spent years working in financial statistics, I know that you can make numbers say whatever you want. In order to get a figure like that they are likely counting cost but not revenue from illegal immigrants. Although, revenue would be harder to quantify without valid ss#’s and virtually no way of gathering data such as sales tax. Anyway, I’m not trying to convince you of anything. Just trying to understand the argument.

  21. These Bishops make me proud. They speak in a spirit of compassion and mercy. They are turning to our sisters and brothers who are in pain and living and fear and say to them, “Keep faith in Jesus the migrant who continues to walk beside you. Have faith in Our Lady of Guadalupe, who constantly repeats to us the words she spoke to St. Juan Diego, ‘Am I, who am your mother, not here?’” How anyone can find fault with this is beyond me.
    Most of the arguments that oppose the Bishops’ statement belong in a political forum. Jesus, who Himself was an “undocumented immigrant” as a child and who was executed “legally” by the politcal establishment of his day, always welcomed those who were outcasts and those scapegoated by society. The Bishops continue this beautiful, life-affirming tradition.
    While I respect our law and order brethern who feel any sort of bow to undocumented immigrants is wrong and a sign of weakness that rewards illegal activity, I believe it’s a far more complicated issue than that with many shades of gray. However, no matter, because I choose to be on the side of mercy in this case. I could be wrong, but I think that’s where Our Lord would be standing as well. I have a hard time seeing him breaking down the door with ICE, breaking up and destroying families. Jesus, I believe, would choose a different path.

  22. Deacon Steve says:

    Mark have you read Pacem in Terris? Pope John XXIII wrote some wonderful words about the rights of people to emmigrate to find work. He does recognize the right of nations to control their borders, but it must be in a just manner. But he also points out that hoarding resources while other go without is not acceptable. People need to be free to go where there is work so that they may provide for their families. What the bishops have said in this statement is not new, they have said it before. There need to be changes on both sides of the boarder to ensure that the basic human needs of all people are met. That is part of our Christian duty to help care for the poor. Our immigration system is not just, some are thrown in jail or deported and others are not, many times it depends on your country of origin, or the job you are doing as to how you will be treated if you are caught. Trying to feed your family should not be a crime.

  23. You have distorted what I said. When you have to resort to straw man argumentation, you show that you do not have a valid case.

    Your analogy is also false.

  24. No, I don’t mean that.

  25. Mark, your cheap shot about child protection is an inflammatory tactic totally irrelevant to the issue under discussion, and you should be ashamed of resorting to such an invalid method of presenting an argument.

  26. Wendy if you really want to understand it, go to an ER in Southern CA and while you are waitng among the 20-1 illegals vs legal residents, ask who will be paying their bill(s). While I wouldn’t deny anyone emergency medical care, or hopefully any medical care, the reality is the border state ER’s are the “health providers” for many of the illegals, pushing medical care cost so high it became/is a medical health care crisis, forcing many legal Americans out of the ability to pay for their own coverage.

    I do agree with your that the illegals pay into the system but they also receive much more back (emergency medical care being one of the perks). In CA, they also receive many other state benefits, with more on the way!

    While I applaud you for your love of America, academic success, and obvioius gentle spirit and kindness, I will also bring up one more thing I suspect many thought when reading your post, affirmative action. I have no idea if or if not you were a product of it. Regardless, you must realize that that is another bone of contention regarding “anchor babies” , especially in a country where way too much importance has been placed on Ivy League Degrees. It’s in the Ivies more than other colleges, that the minority and less funded student(s) are given the preference over a middle class hard working family who would want the same thing for their kids, have paid taxes for generations, but simply couldn’t possibly afford to send their kids to Ivy League Schools even if they did get a slot.

    On the other hand, any minority student who is not a product of affirmative action, forwever lives under the “cloud” of the suspecion, making AA as horrible of a decision as anchor babies.

    I’m not trying to be harsh, just taking you at your word that you want to understand the argument. EVERY one deserves a fair shot, and everyone should play by the same rules. While I personally have a great compassion for the overwoked and underpaid illegals, I also have just as much compassion for middle income American Families struggling to also want the best for their kids, often a much more challenging ordeal than many who easily obtain US citizenship.

  27. vox borealis says:

    I have a hard time seeing him breaking down the door with ICE, breaking up and destroying families. Jesus, I believe, would choose a different path.

    Luke 14:26, Matthew 10:34?

    It’s all context, right? I doubt Christ would go out of His way to break up families. Then again, I’m pretty sure that He would tell families not to break the law to begin with.

  28. Henry Karlson says:

    What I find interesting is, always, the declaration: “it’s the law, why do they advocate the breaking of the law.” First, of course, the Catholic principle has always said an unjust law is no law — and if one looks and examines the immigration laws in the US, they are broken, they are unjust. Second, the people who speak of this know this because of their opposition to abortion (they would scoff at a “it’s the law” defense of abortion). But again, as I have pointed out elsewhere, the conception of abortion and the conception of the immigration problem are connected as microcosm and macrocosm. The ideologies of absolute authority over one’s body (the woman, the land within the borders) is used to justify the action; even the claims of danger are often used to explain why this authority must be defended.

    While the Church does say a nation has a right to regulate immigration, it points out the human person and the dignity of the human person overrides unjust immigration laws. And it also says we must treat those who are illegal with dignity and work to make them legalized if possible!

    “Thus it is important to help illegal migrants to complete the necessary administrative papers to obtain a residence permit. Social and charitable institutions can make contact with the authorities in order to seek appropriate, lawful solutions to various cases. This kind of effort should be made especially on behalf of those who, after a long stay, are so deeply rooted in the local society that returning to their country of origin would be tantamount to a form of reverse emigration, with serious consequences particularly for the children.”

    Pope JPII

  29. Thanks for replying Claire. I can definitely understand the issue of benefits being available to illegal immigrants. I don’t live in a state where that is the case. Emergency health care I would consider an exception.

    I was with you right up to the affirmative action thing. My own experience tells me that this is often a “bogey man” type issue. I can’t count how many times students asked me what my SAT scores were when I was in school only to find out their scores were in fact lower than mine. I scored in the 98th percentile in the country, and I worked hard for that. Years ago the African American/Black population at my school was only 3-5%. Those numbers are easy to fill with more than qualified students. As for the the opportunities for middle class students, it’s the same for everyone. I didn’t get more aid for being Black. However, I’m always surprised that most people don’t know that most if not all Ivy League Universities have need blind admissions. That means they accept you based on academics only and then grants and loans take care of the rest if you can’t afford it. It actually would have cost me more to go to State University than to attend the private school. I compared packages. So no-one should lose hope there.

    Anyway, I think that when people are suffering, they start looking for someone to blame. I understand that. But sometimes if you get to know people you realize that your frustration may be pointed in the wrong direction. Just a thought.

  30. Ooops sorry. Klaire not Claire. Forgive me.

    And sorry for the lengthy post.

  31. If it were not for the Latino immigrants to this country (documented and not) the Catholic Church in the U.S. would look like the main line Protestant denominations, absolutely depopulated and on the way to oblivion. Within the next thirty to forty years the majority of Catholics worshiping in American parishes will be of Latino, specifically Hispanic ancestry.

  32. There is nothing undignified about sending someone back when he broke the law to get in. On the contrary, it is incredibly undignified to sneak in across the border like a rodent under the dark of the night or to creep through a tunnel or to hide in a box inside the back of a truck. The bishop’s justification of “dignity” as an argument is garbage.

  33. Don’t be so sure. Look at how many Latinos are converting away from Catholicism.

  34. Henry Karlson says:

    If the law itself is unjust, yes, there is every bit a problem. This is something the Church has long recognized – but the way people treat the nation-state is as idolatrous as they come. What does God say about strangers in Scripture vs what the ideologues who turn the nation-state and its “laws” as an absolute say about strangers? We must recognize that God is with the oppressed, and the oppressed will often be “outlaws.” Christ himself was an “outlaw,” do you think it was justice for him to be killed?

    This is not something new; if you study the history of Christianity it has always been one which is open to immigrants. Indeed, many of the early missionary martyrs were killed by the nation state because they were “illegals.” The Church, via God, in raising up these martyrs as saints has said enough about the nation-state’s claims.

  35. Henry Karlson says:

    To continue, what was the sin of Sodom? Lack of hospitality to strangers. Is it any surprise we, as a nation, are following the path of Sodom? We lack hospitality. What do we expect God is going to do with the cries of the people?

    “Come, O blessed of my Father, … for … I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt 25: 23-35). Christ tells us to welcome, not throw out, the stranger. What is the Christian thing to do? Is it really hard to figure out?

    “Unfortunately, we still encounter in the world a closed-minded attitude and even one of rejection, due to unjustified fears and concern for one’s own interests alone. These forms of discrimination are incompatible with belonging to Christ and to the Church.” Amen!

  36. Wendy, I was in the emergency room and was the only American besides the cop and the staff. I seriously doubt that most of the folks there had insurance or paid for their treatment. The kids who were runnig around the room were probally mostly anchor babies, the solid gold entry key that gets the family services and keeps mom and dad here. Our current system makes suckers out of the tax paying public and the people who immigrate legally. We need to repeal the 14th ammendment or modify it.

    Deacon Mike, these people aren’t living in fear. Here in Virginia they are pretty bold. My mother has had conversations with people who frankly told her how much they paid for their false papers as if it were no big deal at all. The bishops have sold us out.

  37. Wendy thank you for your response.

    Regarding afirmative action, you made my point that no one wins, especially someone like you who did it by merit but is forever under the cloud of suspecion.

    As for loans, anything that is subsidized always costs more, consequently, even “loans” are out of the reach now for many who simply can’t afford college, but that’s another issues unrelated to the immigration topic.

    I’m glad that you do understand the issue of benefits to illegals, especially health benefits, as that is the single biggest issue that has caused the health care unaffordability issue in this country. And that is pretty much the crux of the problem. It’s one thing to feed the hungry or provide work, but like all things democrat, enough is never enough, consequently, while some of us don’t mind the migrants coming here to work and make money for their familes, their constant need for more more more has not only greatly divided this country, it has financially broken it.

    The sad reality is it is the politicians who have turned what could rightly be/is charity for neighbor into greedy votes for power, and that is where the fight truly is; between the politicians. Rick Perry is a great example. Rick seems like a pretty good guy, but it’s hard to justify to the country why illegals from Texas get free tuition while legal middle class American students have to take out loans or not go at all. Who would want that on a national level, other than the illegals?

    The hispanic vote has become so critical to elections that no one can win the presidency without it. Like you Wendy, I’m all for the “melting pot”, with everyone melting back into English for everything except emergency medical care, no exceptions.

    If anyone truly cared about the dignity of the illegals, there would be no afirmative action and most certainly, no exception to English only in America.

  38. The law is not unjust. The bishops themselves say a nation has the right to manage immigrants. There is legal immigration in the United States. No one is against that. People who come here legally require a lot of paperwork and time. It can take seven years (or used to, I’m not sure of recent delays) for a person to legally come here. An illegal by passed and screwed over all the ones legally waiting on line. We can’t let the entire nation of Mexico in. Henry, you turn every argument into idolotry. It’s become meaningless.

  39. Henry Karlson says:

    The right to manage immigrants does not mean the way it is done is right. When one looks to the actual way it is handled, it is clear, the system is broken, it is unjust, and it favors the rich over the poor who need the break. This is a big part of the problem — those who need the access are not going to be able to ever afford it.

    When people turn the rights into an absolute and say “X has a right, so they can do whatever they like” it is indeed idolatry. The selfishness of the modern world continues to follow the Satanic fall where it ignores God and the claims of God on the world and the way nations work. What does Christ say? What does Scripture say? What do the ideologues say? I will follow God. Welcome the stranger, not make it difficult for them.

  40. Deacon Mike says:


    I have to say that I am uncomfortable with you referring to children in an emergency room, real human beings that are beloved by God, as “anchor babies” and “solid gold entry keys.” I also question the idea that these people had children simply so they could take from our system….perhaps they have children, and love them, for the same reason the rest of us do.

    As far as living in fear, I have a former student who is now in college who came here from Mexico with his parents when he was 6 months old. He is as American as you or I, has been a hard working student and part-time worker for his entire life, and is now in college paying his way. He’s also due in court for a deportation hearing next month…if sent back to Mexico, he’ll be forbidden to return for 15 years. His mother, who worked as a maid for the last 20 years, often for 12 hours a day, was recently arrested in the middle of the night and sent back to Mexico. Her son said goodbye to her through a window in the deportation center, and will not be able to see her again for 15 years. Somehow, their family story doesn’t jive with the stereotype of a bunch of illegals living the high life and sucking our country dry.

  41. The obedience and support of the hierarchy so touted by those on previous topics seems to be crumbling somewhat on this one. Does questioning the bishops on this highlight how many cafeteria Catholics there really are? Maybe some who haven’t admitted so up to this point?

    Politics mixing with religion — more “nones” in the offing? Money as the deciding factor rather that charity? Common language rather than compassion?

    Non-Catholic visitors to this site, which some regular contributors sometimes wish didn’t occur, seem to be getting an earful of Catholic’s opinions on this issue. Will they be shocked or awed by what they read?

  42. Deacon Mike: You are right. We should remind all the English, Irish, German, Italian and all immigrant descendants where their forefathers came from and in what circumstances. Irish and Italians in particular were considered a danger to the American identity, just as Mexicans are today. The vast majority of undocumented immigrants work, pay taxes and contribute to our society. They buy houses, they pay property taxes and they spend money in the economy. They are human beings!

  43. Well said, Henry Karlson.

    The very fact you cite, that it can take seven years for someone to come here legally, illustrates one facet of how broken our system is.

    “An illegal by passed and screwed over all the ones legally waiting on line.” Since the illegal immigrant does not count against the quotas for legal immigration, the illegal has not harmed the waiting applicant at all. That applicant in the ridiculously long queue will still get in at the same time s/he would have if the illegal never came.

  44. Oops. My second and third paragraphs are addressed to Manny, not to Henry Karlson.

  45. Thanks, Deacon Mike. We need to hear more of these kinds of stories so that we can get our priorities straight.

  46. All the shouts of ‘illegal’ leave out the the fact that most of us live in ‘illegal’… not up to code housing. 2/3rds in my city have un-warranted rooms and baths in the basements. Did you get permits for your electric plugs and that new water heater?
    Too many righties think Jarvert was the hero of Les Miserables.

  47. I normally don’t comment on the political statements, but I have to object to Klaire’s laying our country’s economic problems on undocumented immigrants. It’s easy to do, because they are “different”, powerless, and easy to scapegoat. However, most people agree that our current problems are directly related to the irresponsibility in our banking system and on Wall Street and the whole issue of subprime loans and the housing bubble that was created. It’s the same sort of irresponsibility that’s led to Europe’s economic crisis. Of course, this requires us to look in a mirror and blame ourselves. It’s much simpler to blame “them”.

  48. Don’t call me a cafeteria Catholic. You don’t know what I do and support. But I am not a mind numbed robot. I don’t just take orders. I don’t trade my brain at the door. If the Catholic church insists on no questions bacik from its parishners, then it will be a sorry church with one tenth of the membership. And you want to excommunicate me over disagreements, then start with Andrew Cuomo and all the other abortion supporting, gay marriage supporting, divorcing, pre marital sex engaging Catholics.

  49. Well, “finacially broken it[the country]” is an overstatement on Klaire’s part, but there is a negative transfer of cost to support the illegals. I think that’s been well documented.

  50. Deacon, If we only had the problem we had during Pope John XXIII rather than the mess we have today.

    Again, why doesn’t the Vatican lead by example. With all the funds they have and the sale of all the treasure stored in the Vatican they could have open borders and have thousands upon thousands of poor allowed to stream in and around the Pope with no regard for the laws of Vatican city? Why don’t we see illegals living in the bishops residence. The one here could easily house at least 20 illegals and then the bishop and the diocese could support their total care. They should follow what St Francis taught and give up all their luxuries.

    I would love to see someone address this point as to why the Church is leading with their mouth and not their direct actions. Again, I contacted the diocese office and got a response back that this is not a teaching one has to accept as magesterial. It is an opinion of how they see us helping the poor.

    The USA has and continues to do more for the poor in and outside this country than any nation in the world. It would be nice if the Bishops recognized that and maybe pointed out a few countries that do very little if anything for the poor. Maybe if the other countries paid us for the protection we give them with our spending on the military, we would have more funds to help as well. Right now we are hurting as a nation and the bishops seem tone deaf to that fact just as they were with the ongoing child abuse issue.

  51. It is not a cheap shot, but fact. For years the bishops were tone deaf on the issue of child abuse and we all as Catholics paid for that huge error. Now they are advocating that our laws should be broken and that the people should pay for this action in the billions of dollars when we have huge numbers of legal american citizens out of work. Some of them are out of work because we have looked the other way while companies hired illegals for very cheap labor. Others hold onto their job under the threat they to can be replaced by illegal labor at far cheaper prices. The bishops need to keep their opinions like supporting those breaking our laws to themselves and they have zero moral authority after the pain the entire Church went through because of their failures in the abuse situation.

    I love how some bash Newt for his failed marriages, but if you bring up the cover up on abuse by the bishops to make a point about their failed leadership for which I have seen no bishops pay a price, you are called out for making a cheap shot. I would hope we would hold the bishops to a higher standard than a politician and can imagine what many hear would say if Newt were advocating support of breaking our laws in any area.

  52. vox, you nailed it. What some here cannot seem to grasp is the fundamental difference between legal and illegal immigration. What some do not seem to be able to understand is countries have very good reasons for careful immigration laws and that the USA has a very lenient immigration compared to most in the world.

    And Jesus to my knowledge did not at any time advocate breaking the law even while his country was controlled by Rome. Many wanted Jesus to be the leader to take on Rome and lead a revolt to free Israel. He said to give to Caesar what is Caesars.

    I think it is also interesting that those who refuse to see our laws as having any meaning use terms like “undocumented” as if breaking into our country with full knowledge that they are breaking our law is like a clerical error that their paperwork is simply messed up. When someone breaks our laws, especially with full knowledge that this is what they are doing, it is called an “illegal” act. There are penalities for breaking the law. From what I know of Church teaching, we are called to pay the price for our acts as part of gaining forgiveness and mercy. We certainly paid a huge price for breaking laws in the child abuse cases. Maybe some believe that was simply “undocumented” abuse.

  53. “Since the illegal immigrant does not count against the quotas for legal immigration, the illegal has not harmed the waiting applicant at all. That applicant in the ridiculously long queue will still get in at the same time s/he would have if the illegal never came.” -naturgesetz

    Hahahahaha, you got to be kidding me. Right? Whoa, that logic is brilliant!!! Next time I stand at a store counter, I’ll go around the waiting customers and get my friend in the back to speed things up for me. I won’t be screwing anyone. Not committing any sin at all.

  54. That’s absolutely correct. What Mexico does on her southern border is way more restrictive than the US, and more brutal. And Mexico is supposed to be a Catholic country. I think it shows you how irrelevant Church hiearchy is to the politics of every nation. I don’t know why I’m getting worked up about the bishop’s statement. It’s meaningless in the overall scheme of things.

  55. This is an idiotic argument Henry. If someone decides that abortion should not be legal and say took it into their head to break into an abortion mill and destroy it or set it on fire, few would say it is ok becasue abortion is illegal. The pro life movement says that we need to work to change the laws and that is why voting is so important. Pro life condemns acts of violence as when some idiots kill an abortion doctor.

    What some are advocating is not working to change immigration laws to say allow more into this country legally each year, but to support the actual breaking of our laws. The bishops say a country has the right to protect its borders. If we have the right to do this, and some decide we do not and break our laws, how is it wrong to defend those laws with penalties? And who determines if our laws are unjust or not, those who want to break them. The poor could make a case our laws against robbery are unjust and so they should be allowed to rob anyone they want who has more than them. Some on the left actually seem to be supporting this type of argument now. Again, who decides what is just and what the laws should be in a democracy? the voters are supposed to along with a court system that upholds the actual written laws of the land.

    So your arguments hold not basis of truth or facts.

  56. Rudy, again, you are wrong on this statistic. Can you show where all these folks attend mass each week, give to the parish funding and support, and thus are not another burden on the parish is shown by actual study? Last time I looked, the parishes that were “spanish” were looking for funds from other parishes to keep them open. If you see in the future a majority of these parishes, the Church will collapse in this country based on this fact alone.

  57. Deacon Mike, for every one of these stories of a single person who has spent their life here, there are hundreds if not thousands of others who do not fit that bill. I would assume from you discussion that you now support Newt Gingrich because he seems to be saying the same thing in regard to this type of situation.

    Also, when others break other laws, we often see families go into total declince because the father or mom is sent off to jail for many years. Are you advocating we do not have punishment for crimes? If you think the crime should not be a crime, the solution in a democracy is to elect those people who are advocating changing the laws. How many immigrants should we allow into this country in a time when we have almost 10% unemployment now and are in a huge crisis to protect programs like medicare and social security? We have laws so the congress can each year or two look at the laws and adjust the numbers coming in to insure it does not create problems. If you look back those numbers have been changed over time to allow us to take more in legally. But no one should support what was done to break the law or to support those who did not facing the penalties. It breaks down our entire socitey when the laws no longer matter.

  58. I have no problem calling these human beings “illegal”…so long as we now apply it to anyone else who has done something illegal. I imagine there might be quite a few to fall into this category, for all sorts of reasons. I prefer to use the term “undocumented” immigrant because I don’t want to stereotype and demonize HUMAN BEINGS who are our BROTHERS and SISTERS in Christ.

    I grasp, as I’m sure do most people on this blog, the difference between legal and illegal immigration. I also understand it is important to have careful immigration laws. Finally, I don’t believe that our laws don’t have any meaning. Just to address three of Mark’s comments.

    I also understand that the issue of “Illegal” Immigration is incredibly complex, like most things in the real world,and simplistic good vs. evil, black or white, right or wrong arguments don’t serve anyone well.

    Finally, I object to the way in which some want to look to the weakest and most powerless in our country and blame so many of our ills on them. I find this disappointing, to say the least. In this case, I choose to come down on the side of mercy and compassion, reaching out, just as the Bishops did in their letter. If this makes me a blind fool, I’ll accept that. I’m sure the Lord will forgive me for my childish ways.

  59. Manny your are right. some below say that illegal immigration does not impact in any way legal immigration and that is a lie. If we did not have illegal immigration, the congress might well have changed the legal immigration to meet need of employers. We have seen this in the past and it is the right way to make changes. The need is identified, the solution in place (waiting job) and there is an examination on how the additional influx will impact those currently here in both job and wages. It is the law of supply and demand.

    As to who comes in, we would hope that those coming in have some skill sets needed to find positive employment in this country. If we need people of certain skill sets, and bring in thousand who have no skill sets, we are simply creating a mess for everyone.

  60. Where do these facts come from Friscoe. I do not doubt that some do not get permits, but I certainly have for all the work done on my house and made sure it was up to code. My family lives here and I want to make sure as best possible they are safe and secure. Please supply facts. It is the old “everyone is breaking the law” argument which should impress no one.

  61. Dcn Mike I specificly made reference to the health care system, especially in the state of CA. It’s a well documented fact. It’s also disappointing that you pit me against the illegals, of whom I already stated more than once that I am pro illegal immigration, at least to the extent of feeding the poor and providing them work. We just can’t handle it in a disorderly way, or risk open borders for security reasons. I have devoted much of my life to helping the poor, for what it’s worth to you. Please be more careful before you make inaccurate accusations.

    As for housing, I agree with you, although the root of all of America’s problems is greed and immorality.

  62. Hello Klaire,
    Didn’t mean to misrepresent what you said. My comment was in reference to your saying”…their constant need for more more more has not only greatly divided this country, it has financially broken it.” To me, it appeared you were talking about the country as a whole, not just the health care system. If I was wrong, I apologize.

  63. naturgesetz
    After rereading it I think I got your comment pretty accurately. You said I was off the mark because the bishops never used the word “amnesty” and I called you on it. I also think my analogy was pretty fair. But I am content to let readers draw their own conclusions.

  64. Dcn Mike thanks for the apology. If you read through the whole thread, it should be clear that the “need for more and more” I am referring to the POLITICIANS, making the point that I personally welcome any non criminals who can work and feed their families, which is all that the Bishops are asking for as well. Unlike the Bishops, who I believe have altruistic goals, the politicians just see them as “Votes” not people.

    That said, it is clealy a fact that the health care system is overloaded owing to the uninsured, and that cost is passed on to all of us. Again, I don’t mind paying a bit more to help those with much less, however when it becomes so bad that many Americans can no longer afford to be insured, then it’s a much bigger problem.

  65. Those other people you mention “don’t just take orders” and didn’t “trade their brain” at the door, either. So is it OK to dissent from the Church on social and political matters, but not OK to disagree with it on matters of sexual morality? Or can one’s political beliefs override everything? (Nothing personal, you understand.)

  66. friscoeddie says:

    Kaire says ‘politicians just see them as “Votes” not people.’
    forget about undocumented voting.. that’s why they are called undocumented .
    Klaire says ‘it is clearly a fact that the health care system is overloaded owing to the uninsured,’
    The Obama-care mandates that all have insurance, a Repub idea that they now want overturned.. no more free riders is now a bad idea because Obama changed his mind and went for the mandate. Even un documented can buy insurance .. just like they buy hot dogs.. many Canadians and Irish are also un-documented but they look like your uncle Charley, so righties don’t care about that.

  67. Deacon Mike says:

    Hi Klaire,
    Glad we’re OK! I agree our health care system is burdened by those who aren’t insured and the fact that we need to pay for them. It would be nice if our polititicians could put aside their differences and fix this very real and expensive problem…expensive in both money and human misery. However, since this article referred to undocumented immigrants, it should be noted that government statistics ( show that 79% of the uninsured are citizens, while 21% are not (and this includes those immigrants that are here legally.) So we should put the vast majority of the “blame” on uninsured “citizens”. (Personally, I put much more of the blame on the corporate culture that characterizes our health care system.)

  68. Nothing personal taken. Sure it’s a tough call. For me there are matters of theology and matters of citizenship. I cannot understand where Bishops get the authority to tell us what immigration policy should be. As long as we’re not violating human dignity, then deporting illegal immigrants is not an unreasonable, undignified policy. It has nothing to do with theology. As to abortion and gay marriage, I would argue those are theological issues.

  69. naturgesetz says:

    Since your analogy is completely inapplicable, you clearly do not understand what I am saying. If you did understand, you would not have thought that something so off the point had anything to do with what I said.

    My point stands.

  70. naturgesetz says:

    “As long as we’re not violating human dignity, then deporting illegal immigrants is not an unreasonable, undignified policy.”
    Since people have a right to migrate, we should not deport people if a reasonable law would have admitted them. We should change the law to regularize their status. People, for example, who have managed to find regular work and begin to raise a family are people who are contributing to society, and we should want to keep them. This does not necessarily mean citizenship. It could be some sort of conditional work permit, as long as they stay out of serious trouble. And if we are still bothered by the fact that they came here illegally, the penalty doesn’t have to be deportation. Fine them $1,000 as their penalty for breaking the law.

  71. naturgesetz says:

    “As long as we’re not violating human dignity, then deporting illegal immigrants is not an unreasonable, undignified policy.”
    A minister in my home town went to Phoenix, Arizona to join a protest against their new law. While she was in custody outdoors in a driveway (because of the large number) she saw deputies dragging a young man with hispanic-looking features. He was repeating, “I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.” He was dragged out of her line of sight. Later, he was brought back with his face bloodied.

    She also reported that local people she met while there told her that it is common practice, when families are being deported, to put the father across the border in one location, the mother many miles away, and the children many more miles from either parent.

  72. Liberalism is a mental disorder.

  73. Deacon Mike, we do call others who break our laws criminals and felons. Would you prefer we call them criminal immigrants or felon immigrants? I think it has been accurate to call them illegal immigrants over either of the other terms as a form of mercy. The other people who broke laws are HUMAN BEINGS as well as BROTHERS AND SISTERS, as well as MOMS AND DADS, AUNTS AND UNCLES. They are serving time in jail for breaking our laws. Why do we want to segment a group who break the laws and wink and nod that it is somehow OK because the US is some kind of mean country that does not have open borders.

    Deacon, are you aware we had this same conversation back in the 80′s and agreed that to give those here amnesty, Reagan got agreement that we would protect the borders going forward and virtually nothing was done during the entire clinton administration. Would you agree that every attempt to seal the border during W. Bush administration was also block by the democrats.

    I resent the fact that anyone who is not for open borders and full amnesty for anyone who wants to come here is somehow mean and evil or racist simply because we demand we have laws and people obey our laws.

    Our Catholic Church say it is our right to protect our borders and deteremine who and how many can come to this country.

    Do you acknowledge that we have huge problems in many of our border states that are approaching crisis status because the federal government has not done the job on the border?

    Do you care about those here who have lost their jobs to illegal immigrants and don’t try to tell me they only got the jobs that Americans did not want. Not with almost 10% unemployment.

  74. Klaire, confused. You say you are pro illegal immigration. Is this true? You are for people breaking our laws set up by the congress for immigration to the USA? Then you qualify it as to only mean that we should reward those who break the laws with a requirement to “at least to the extent of feeding the poor and providing them work.”

    However, you come back with “We just can’t handle it in a disorderly way, or risk open borders for security reasons.” So we need to organize in some way those breaking our laws but somehow do so without risking open borders. How do you do this? If you give those who break the laws rewards such as food and jobs and of course you have to heal the sick so we would have to give them healthcare and we would need to educate their children and then what happens if they lose their job, do they get help with unemployment or grow old and need pensions? Where do you draw the line? Should all of this come at the expense of the states who are sued by the federal government if they try to do anything to enforce the laws of the land because they are broke?

    I am all for helping the poor and believe each person should do what they can to help the poor. Helping the poor in Mexico does not mean you should allow them to cross the border illegally. If that is the case, should we prosecute someone who is poor and robs a bank because they have kids in need?

    This nanny state has limits and while all of us would love to be kind and saintly, we look at our current status and say there is a limit and we went past it a very long time ago.

  75. Benn — Was that comment really necessary? Exactly what did it contribute to the discussion?

  76. People have a “right to migrate” and if they ignore the laws of the country they chose to migrate to, then the laws there were “not reasonable” and should have been ignored. Is that really the argument some are trying to make? How does that differ from open borders? Who decides what is reasonable for the immigration laws of the USA? Is it people from other countries?

    By the same argument, one could say that the killing of innocent babies is certainly not a reasonable law so we should be able to invade abortion mills and do wahtever we want because we do not see that legal abortion is reasonable or moral. Even some pro abortion people agree that the way the supreme court created legal abortion does not pass the smell test.

    If I am poor, then there should be no laws that prohibit me from taking anything I feel I need from whoever has it. The laws are not reasonable because I am poor.

    Can someone please make some sense here? I do not have a problem with a discussion about changing the laws to allow more people or changing the laws to make something more equitable as long as they do not violate the situation of other people who might lose their jobs or see their wages drop as a result. But if you do not stop those who have no regard for the laws whatever they are and take what they want, then you have anarchy.

  77. frisco please tell me you do not think Obama is not pandering for votes with about everything he has done since his election? You believe he sees all of us as people, American citizens? He seems to have a new group to demonize according to the need of the day from insurance companies to doctors and hospitals to drug companies to wall street to big corporations to those making over 250K a year, etc.

    And I care about anyone that breaks the law. It has nothing to do with color of skin. Please tell me you do not think that there are huge quantitites of irish and canadian illegals anywhere close to those who are from south of the border. You insult all that do not agree with your premise by this type of remark.

  78. naturgesetz says:

    Mark, there are all sorts of ways for dealing with people who have broken laws. When, after a fair trial, someone is convicted of violating an immigration law when they came to this country, let’s fine the criminal $1,000 and put him/her on probation for three years. A pretty good way of dealing with a non-violent crime, IMO.

  79. naturgesetz says:

    “If I am poor, then there should be no laws that prohibit me from taking anything I feel I need from whoever has it. The laws are not reasonable because I am poor.” Catholic theology going back at least to St. Thomas Aquinas, has held that a person has a right to take what he needs to survive, if there is no other way of getting it. So even though stealing is technically a crime, a just government will not prosecute a starving man for stealing food. It is possible to apply even a reasonable law unjustly.

    “Who decides what is reasonable for the immigration laws of the USA?” We citizens have to try to figure out what is reasonable. and what is unnecessarily restrictive and support candidates who will enact reasonable laws. While illegal entry does not itself prove that laws are unreasonable, the desperation with which many attempt to enter and the ability of many who make it to find work and live fairly normal lives strongly suggest that our country can absorb them and should be more welcoming.

    “But if you do not stop those who have no regard for the laws whatever they are and take what they want, then you have anarchy.” A fair point. We have ways of dealing with people who violate our laws. We put them on trial, and if they are convicted, we administer a punishment. I think a fine of $1,000 and three years’ probation for a criminal violation of immigration laws would both punish them and save whatever costs we would incur in detaining them and deporting them ( or imprisoning them here).

  80. Yes, it is a tough call and it can be a fine line, but I do see your point in this case.

  81. naturgesetz – I can’t any longer reply to you above. I am not against a worker permit program. I advocate it. I supported the Bush proposal back in around 2006. But I cannot condone illegally sneaking across the border. What we do with the 12 million who are already here will have to be determined after we close the border and enact reasonable process. But until then, illegal is illegal.

  82. Mark
    Get a grip on reality. All politicians demonize someone. For the Repubs it is anyone who is different then they are – at least where I live. For the Dems it is the rich. For Conservatives it is whatever they deem as liberal, and for liberals it is whatever they deem as conservative. Your constant bashing of what you deem as liberal seems to speak to a lack of comprehension of the social teaching of the church.
    Your comment to fiscoeddie “It is the old “everyone is breaking the law” argument which should impress no one.” is symptomatic of a person who has closed his mind to any alternative view. I find your diatribes to be unimpressive and lacking in facts – but they are long on emotion.

  83. Andy, I find your response lacking any specifics and does not show anywhere a single fact is wrong.

    You have quotes in your comment on things not even in my posts. Either you have an issue with being able to read and post accurately or there is something else going on because it is not there.

  84. Andy if your comment you quote “It is the old “everyone is breaking the law” argument which should impress no one.” came on an earlier post to friscoe where he was trying to say everyone does illegal things so why would we argue for stopping this crime. Did you agree with Frisco that nothing should happen to anyone who breaks our immigrations laws with full intent and knowledge? Do you base this on the justification from his wild statement that 2/3rds of us live in homes that do not meet building codes because we have not followed the law? Does this mean we should not arrest others who break other laws?

    Are we a nation of laws or should each of us decide what laws should be enforced?

  85. Notice no response from Friscoe justifying his comment that 2/3rds of people in his city live in homs not meeting code. Also no response on if this is true, why this matters in enforcing laws and which laws by this justification should be ignored and who decides. It would seem that his city has a severe problem in its building codes or enforcement and also a lot of people who do not seem to care much about their families safety or lives.

  86. naturgesetz

    Questions for you.
    You say we should not prosecute someone if they are violating what you would call an unreasonable law.
    Who decides what is “reasonable law” in a government? In our country, that is decided by those we hire to represent us in the local, state, and federal governments. We have further protection fromt he courts who determine if a law meets requirements outlined in our constitution. Most would say this is reasonable law if it has gone through this process. This process also looks at the punishment inflicted to see if it is also just and reasonable.

    Now you say breaking some laws are justified and there should be no punishment and in fact seem to be saying the Catholic Church has a role here. Can you explain where Catholic law trumps the existing laws of the land. Jesus said to give to Caesar what is Caesars. I can see where the Church feeling that a law was not correct, would encourage the government for changes in that law as with abortion, or to change our immigration laws. But should they encourage people to break those laws and then support those who break the laws not being punished for the crime? If this is so, should the Church which lists abortion as a non negotiable Catholic teaching of grave evil encourage people to criminal acts to stop abortion and then fight for those who do not to be punished? This seems to cross that line and makes me very uncomfortable. Remember, we have done the amnesty thing once upon promises to seal the borders and during that time frame, have also liberalized our immigration laws. If not enough, then the Church can work for more changes.

    As to those who broke the laws and now have managed to make a life, one might also use the same argument for someone who robs a bank and using the benefits earned by breaking the law has now built a life on the proceeds of his crime. The law has long recognized that benefits earned by the crime should not be used as justification for lighter sentences or to argue for their character using this same robbery example. The importance of private property is also part of Catholic Church teaching.

    You seem to see the Church teaching if you need something and you have given some effort to getting it and failed, you now have a right to steal it. In a time when we have massive organizations in place to help the poor, it is a far different time than when Thomas Aquinas might have argued for a poor person of that time to have some right to steal. It is in fact part of the argument for change in Church teaching on capital punishment that in today’s time with super max jails, we do not have the right to kill unless it protects other human life which super max seems to argue we can. Why would anyone in the USA need to steal today to feed their family? I would say the Church message is before you make a step to steal, come to the Catholic Church and we will find a way to help you is a far better message.

  87. Mark,

    In the first place, what I said in response to your raising the question of stealing was a response based in solid Catholic tradition; but it was also hypothetical: if there is no other way to survive. You have introduced another hypothesis: it is not necessary. That does not refute the principle that goes with my hypothesis.

    Beyond that, I don’t think your attempt to eguate crossing a border without permission to robbing a bank settles the question. Suppose someone drives the wrong way up a one-way street on his way to a job interview on that street. He is at the interview illegally. Do the cops storm in and throw him out of the building and put him back at the intersection where he entered the street illegally? Suppose he gets the job. Does he have to forfeit it because he came to it illegally and he must not be permitted to profit from his crime? I think entering the country illegally isn’t robbing a bank, and it isn’t driving the wrong way. I don’t agree with your implication that we should treat the presence of an illegal alien as if it were the same thing as bank robbery, and I’ll grant that it’s worse than driving the wrong way.

    “Now you say breaking some laws are justified and there should be no punishment and in fact seem to be saying the Catholic Church has a role here.” No I don’t. Here’s what I really said: “We have ways of dealing with people who violate our laws. We put them on trial, and if they are convicted, we administer a punishment. I think a fine of $1,000 and three years’ probation for a criminal violation of immigration laws would both punish them and save whatever costs we would incur in detaining them and deporting them ( or imprisoning them here).” It is classic Catholic moral theology that an unjust law does not bind in conscience. IOW breaking it is not a sin, although one must be prepared to pay the penalty if one engages in civil disobedience. The Catholic Church definitely has a role in discerning what is just and what is unjust and forming the consciences of the faithful. The abortion situation is different. Your example speaks of people preventing someone else from doing something inherently wrong. But going from one country is not inherently wrong. It is only the law that makes it wrong, so the question is how to treat someone who has committed a crime which would not be a sin unless a reasonable law forbids it.

    As for reasonable and unreasonable laws, we can give laws a presumption of reasonableness, but every amendment to a law implies that it was reasonable to change it. There can also be a question of what is reasonable enforcement; and if a law seems to be badly flawed, or if its strict application seems unduly harsh, it is reasonable to ease off on enforcement.

    It seems to me that the current law is excessively restrictive of the right to migrate. It also seems to me that in places, the enforcement is unduly harsh. In some instances, such as denying in-state tuition, it amounts to punishing people without a trial for a crime which they did not even commit, but their parents did.

    Under all the circumstances, it seems to me that calls for heavy-handed treatment of illegal immigrants is profoundly unchristian, amounting to persecution rather than reasonable law enforcement. I think we should reform our immigration laws; and until that is done I think we should stop throwing people out of the country or trying to deny them a chance to earn a living if they have not been convicted of a serious crime since coming here.

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