Talking sense from the Tradition instead of nonsense from the dogmas and shibboleths of the Thing That Used to Be Conservatism:
Whenever the USCCB dares to advocate policies which provide for easier immigration and naturalization (e.g., here), a few of our readers shout an argument which I devoutly hope never again to hear from anyone claiming to be Catholic: “We don’t owe illegals anything!”
Many Americans, especially conservative Americans, tend to be selective legalists. Despite their recognition of the falsity of some anti-life laws, they hold that the law confirms a sort of territorial moral exclusivity on citizens. This is one of many values which can arise from being culture bound. It typically creates a huge blind spot on immigration.
There are two false assumptions here. First, there is the assumption that those who have come earlier rather than later to a particular region, and have established a government over the region, and have developed a kind of society in that region, somehow have an exclusive claim to that region as their own. This is typically applied self-servingly; it is rarely upheld for peoples who may have occupied a territory prior to “us”. But in any case, the idea that one group of people can morally set a broad region to be off limits to other groups of people is absurd.
Where would such a moral right come from? Our God-given understanding of the universal destination of goods is sufficient to demonstrate its falsity.
In addition to being wrong and utterly unrealistic (deport 12 million people?) it is monumentally crazy for conservative Catholics to treat as enemies a huge number of fellow Catholics who share their values, are socially conservative, and who just want to make a better life for themselves and their families. US immigration law is essentially the paperwork of man, not the law of God. Sort of important for record-keeping and money-handling. But such laws are made for man, not man for the law.