Illegal Immigration Cannot be Rationally Discussed Anymore

Illegal Immigration Cannot be Rationally Discussed Anymore June 29, 2019
My Own Views Have Been Grotesquely Distorted and Outrageously Misrepresented
I already pretty much concluded that rational discussion on this topic is no longer possible (which is why I removed a recent meme concerning it: more heat than light was generated), but then the final straw was a piece of fiction and fantasy that ridiculously characterized my position as wanting illegal immigrants to “die.” The fairy tale went on to later claim that I would supposedly deny the right to medical treatment: something I have never ever said nor even thought in my entire life.
Ironically, the same person (after lobbing these two whoppers against me) put out an article on the same day about lying. I surely appreciate the humorous touch and comic relief! Such outlandish blind hypocrisy is more than a match for the corrupt portion of the Pharisees of old: whom Jesus excoriated more than anyone else (more than even the pagan, persecuting Romans).
Here’s something that is good to always keep in mind: all good and effective lies are spewed out in conjunction with truths — otherwise folks wouldn’t be fooled (the “father of lies” is very clever in that way). This person cited Pope St. John XXIII:
But first We must speak of man’s rights. Man has the right to live. He has the right to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services. (encyclical letter Pacem in Terris, §11)
Of course I enthusiastically agree with this; always have, which is why I have (as far back as I can remember) favored both 1) availability of inexpensive, affordable health care or at least affordable insurance for same, and 2) government-subsidized health coverage for those who cannot afford even minimal health insurance. My view has been perfectly consistent (no hypocrisy here: sorry to bitterly disappoint the Accuser), because I’ve always believed that: even back before I became a Catholic in 1990.
I accepted Catholic social teaching in this respect (and many others) when I was still an evangelical Protestant, and of course I still do. I accept all that the Church teaches, that is binding on all Catholics. In fact, my love for Catholic moral and social teaching played a significant role in my conversion (contraception being a key issue). Accordingly, I wrote in my conversion story that was included in the runaway bestseller, Surprised by Truth:

By July 1990, then [three months before I accepted Catholic teaching and wished to be received], I believed Catholicism had the best moral theology of any Christian body, and greatly respected its sense of community, devotion, and contemplation.

Moral theology and intangible mystical elements began the ball of conversion rolling for me, and increasingly rang true deep within my soul; . . .

Reading a few books by Thomas Merton helped me to come to that conclusion.
Now, back to the border / illegal immigrant issue. It’s self-evident that there is a certain point beyond which any country (even our own very rich nation) can continue to accept immigrants. We can’t have the entire population of the world in our country. This is a reductio ad absurdum, but it makes my point plain and easy to understand. At some point it is too much.
Moreover, the same Church that espouses the right of medical care, also acknowledges the right of nations to maintain border security and to deny access to illegal immigrants. I documented that way back in 2010 in my paper, Catholic Church’s Wise Views on Illegal Immigration. I cite it at length:
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2241) provides a brief summary as to what the Church thinks of illegal immigration:
    • 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.
One can be compassionate regarding the plight of an illegal immigrant who is looking for a better life, but that doesn’t mean that they should be encouraged to break existing laws or to avoid all the usual penalties for same. If there is a law passed granting amnesty (such as with those who avoided the draft in the Vietnam era) then that would be a matter of new law. But that is the way to go about it: by the rule of law, not by non-enforcement of existing laws, and confused, contradictory, and (merely) politically-soaked policy, as we have today.
[ . . . ]

The 2003 document, “Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope” — from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, states:

39. The Church recognizes the right of a sovereign state to control its borders in furtherance of the common good. It also recognizes the right of human persons to migrate so that they can realize their God-given rights. These teachings complement each other. While the sovereign state may impose reasonable limits on immigration, the common good is not served when the basic human rights of the individual are violated. . . .

78. As explained above, the Catholic Church recognizes the right and responsibility of sovereign nations to control their borders and to ensure the security interests of their citizens. Therefore, we accept the legitimate role of the U.S. and Mexican governments in intercepting undocumented migrants who attempt to travel through or cross into one of the two countries. We do not accept, however, some of the policies and tactics that our governments have employed to meet this shared responsibility.

[ . . . ]

The consistent theme in Catholic documents is compassion for the immigrant (legal or illegal), while acknowledging the validity of immigration laws. Hence, Pope [St.] John Paul II, in his message, “Undocumented Migrants” (7-25-95), stated:
Migration is assuming the features of a social emergency, above all because of the increase in illegal migrants which, despite the current restrictions, it seems impossible to halt. . . . Illegal immigration should be prevented, but it is also essential to combat vigorously the criminal activities which exploit illegal immigrants. . . . 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.
I think that the Church has shown great wisdom in this issue, as always. The sublime moral theology of the Church was the first thing that drew me in, back in 1990. I’ve never seen anyone or any other institution with the consistently thoughtful, deep, wise reasoning that the Church always provides on socio-political issues such as this one.


See also:

Pope John Paul II, message for World Migration Day, 2000.

Holy See Press Office: World Day for Migrants and Refugees (collection)

Address of the Holy Father Pope John Paul II to Congress on Pastoral Care of Migrants (9 October 1998)

(Catholic Priest) Cites Church Stand Against Illegal Immigration (Dexter Duggan, The Wanderer, 04/22/2010)

Solving illegal immigration requires fixing economic causes, stresses Bishop Wester (Catholic News Agency, 6-4-10)

Migration laws must respect national sovereignty and individual rights, Pope urges (Catholic News Agency, 5-28-10)

Immigration reform is not amnesty, Bishop Wester says about bishops’ position (Catholic News Agency, 5-9-10)

Arizona immigration law shows need for reform, Archbishop Chaput writes (Catholic News Agency, 5-4-10)

Archbishop Dolan calls Arizona illegal immigrant law ‘harmful’ (Catholic News Agency, 4-28-10)

US bishops oppose ‘draconian’ Arizona immigration law (Catholic News Agency, 4-28-10)

U.S. Bishops begin push for ‘humane and comprehensive’ solution to immigration issues (Catholic News Agency, 1-7-10)

Illegal Immigration and Catholic Social Teaching, Fr. Thomas Berg (Catholic News Agency, 5-18-10)

[see also other related articles mentioned as further links in the sidebars of all these CNA articles]

I reiterate that all of this expressed opinion has been on my blog for almost nine years now. But that idealistically presupposes (heaven help me to stop being an idealist in such a cynical world) that a person who claims to be accurately conveying my opinions (as opposed to inventing fantasy short stories having no relation whatever to my true views) would spend five minutes reading a relevant paper of mine.

No one does that anymore, when it comes to these hot-button topics like illegal immigration. And not only this; I have also written a great deal on the topic, and have debated it with those of a more liberal or leftish bent (one of them a fairly well-known “new pro-life” figure):

Debate on Deportation of Illegal Immigrants (vs. Andy Kirchoff) [2-21-12]
Immigration & the Bible (w John Cavanaugh-O’Keefe) (see also the longer Facebook version) [9-18-17]
Intense Immigration Dialogue (w John Cavanaugh-O’Keefe) [9-23-17]
Do Jesus and the Bible Advocate Open Borders? [9-18-17; expanded on 6-21-18]
Of course, the latest liberal / RINO uproar has to do with the sad photograph of a man and his child, who drowned while trying to illegally cross the border by swimming the river. I’ll leave aside the question of parental negligence: to even attempt such a thing without proper life jackets, etc. Any compassionate human being is saddened by the tragedy.
It’s highlighted now, of course, only because the President is a Republican. Illegal immigrants dying is something that has been going on all along. Bleeding-heart liberals (who supposedly care so much about such things and such people: so much more than conservatives: so they constantly inform us, yet will not help do anything about it, to stop the carnage and colossal human tragedy) virtually ignored it when it was happening under President Obama’s watch. Breitbart News wrote about it twenty times during those years (as it noted on 26 June 2019 — complete with links to all twenty articles), but “no one cared.” Here’s an excerpt:
During the Obama-Biden administration, 535 migrants died in one Texas county alone — Brooks County. The county is located about 80 miles north of the Texas-Mexico border and is home to the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint on U.S. Highway 281.
Moreover, the so-called “cages” we always hear about were built during Obama’s regime, in fiscal year 2015. Tear gas was used once a month on average by the Obama administration. Even Jeh Johnson, Obama’s DHS Secretary admits separating families was necessary at the time, and still stands by the policy today. According to an article on 6-18-19 from The Washington Post (no conservative outlet), the Obama administration deported far more illegal immigrants than Trump has:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is averaging approximately 7,000 deportations per month from the U.S. interior, according to the agency’s latest data. [84,000 in a year] . . .
At its peak, ICE deported more than 400,000 immigrants during the entire 2012 fiscal year, and more than half of those were border-crossers who could be quickly sent home. [4.8 times more than Trump is deporting now]
As John Adams said, “facts are stubborn things.” They sure are.
But to wrap up, I go back to the meme that was brought up. First of all (it should be unnecessary to note, but here goes): memes are not philosophical or moral treatises. Most are proverbial in nature. If we study this sort of literature in the Bible, we learn that proverbs are not absolute. They allow of exceptions. They are general statements. My favorite couplet in Proverbs seems to be a contradiction. But it really isn’t. One proverb holds in one type of situation, and the other, in a different situation. One must exercise prudence to know when to apply which:
Proverbs 26:4-5 (RSV) Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. [5] Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.
I myself, faced with one such fool, had to grapple with this prudential matter of which verse to apply, in determining whether to write this very paper.  At first, I was inclined to apply verse 4 in this situation. But at length (floating in my little pool under the hot sun, thinking about this), I concluded that application of verse 5 was the wiser course. Admittedly (being a writer and a straight shooter at that and unafraid to render “controversial” opinions), I usually choose speaking out over injustices, rather than saying nothing, so perhaps no one is surprised by my preference for Proverbs 26:5 in this instance.

So let’s consider briefly a Catholic’s (and American’s) responsibility to an unhealthy or dehydrated illegal immigrant who has crossed into our country. Do we medically treat him or her? Of course we do: this is Catholic (and broadly Christian ) teaching, and in fact, this is what routinely happens in fact. It’s US policy now, and has been all along, regardless of who holds power in Washington.

But do we have a moral obligation to offer free health care to this person the rest of his or her life (and at taxpayers’ expense)? No. This is a very different question (and, I submit, what the meme was driving at). The person has entered illegally, and as we have seen, the Catholic Church agrees that countries can enforce immigration laws; so the first thing to be dealt with (after necessary medical care) is determining legality, and possibly deporting the person.

In summary, then, no one (who is compassionate — even including us wicked, cruel, heartless conservatives) is wishing for anyone to die or suffer: least of all because of no medical care on this side of the border. We have to do two things: treat sick people and prevent illegal immigration, including deporting those here now. So we treat the sick illegal immigrant and then (if we follow the rule of law) we send them out of the country with instructions on how to enter legally. But as to the DACA dreamers (yet another and distinct sub-issue), I (along with 69% of Republicans) am in favor of letting them stay, as I wrote about in September 2017.

Perfect consistency (despite what my calumnious detractor “thinks” he “knows” about my views): compassion and the rule of law . . . One without the other is immoral and unacceptable. It’s not either/or. It’s both/and. This is Catholic (and biblical) teaching and it makes perfect sense. Bearing false witness against another (especially fellow Christians: “let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith”: Galatians 6:10, RSV) is not Catholic or biblical teaching.
Photo credit: Arizona – Air agents from the Office of Air and Marine’s Tucson Air Branch prepare from a Blackhawk helicopter to began a rescue mission of an illegal alien stranded on a ledge of the Cerro Colorado Mountains near Arivaca, Arizona (8-14-12) [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]

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