Okay, let’s be clear about one thing: There is no immigration crisis on the southern border of the United States. Illegal border crossings have been steadily declining since they reached their zenith in 2000. In fact, the “self-deportation” that Mitt Romney campaigned on in 2012 has been happening. The total number of undocumented people in the US peaked in 2007 at 12 million. The federal government’s estimate for 2016 was 10.9 million. The number for 2017 will likely be lower still because border crossings were a mere trickle last year. (See chart at left).
The supposed criminality of undocumented immigrants has also been exposed as a lie. Study after study has shown that immigrants overall, and undocumented immigrants specifically, account for far fewer arrests and incarcerations than native-born Americans. What about MS-13? Last year, MS-13 members accounted for .00075% of all illegal border crossers or just over 200 gang members out of 300,000 migrants. Most MS-13 members are US citizens, and like the Italian, Russian, Irish, and Asian mobs before them, the gang mostly preys on members of their own community. And according to the Justice Department, MS-13 is not growing. It’s total estimated membership – 10,000– is the same as it was a decade ago.
Last, undocumented immigrants do not drain state and federal treasuries. A study conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services last year showed that the net fiscal impact of undocumented workers was PLUS $63 Billion. That report was of course rejected by the White House, which ordered HHS to come up with new, alternative facts. It has not yet done so. Many, even most undocumented workers pay the same payroll taxes that Americans do, even for Social Security and Medicare, two programs they will never benefit from. And, of course, they pay sales tax on everything from food to gasoline. Just like you and me.There is no immigration crisis on the southern border. That’s a lie. There is, however, a crisis in the Catholic Church, and it springs from Donald Trump’s success at manipulating the fears and racial resentments of white people, including Catholics. This crisis manifests itself most clearly in suburban white parishes, which share remarkable demographic traits with both the GOP and Fox News Channel in terms of average age, racial/ethnic identity, income, and other markers. So many parishioners and priests are gleeful at the prospect of punishing those who cross the border to escape violence and poverty; you know, those “invaders” and “terrorists” with names like Jesús, Maria, and José.
And for the love of God, learn to think with the Church and not with FOX and Limbaugh.