The crisis at the southern border is a man-made humanitarian crisis. All too often we hear stories with tragic consequences for the people coming to America, and the American people. Currently, all states are border states as the flow of people coming across the border has seen up to 11K people in 1 day. This is a very polarizing subject in the US. The government doesn’t seem interested in resolving the issue (they caused it), and we have millions of people who have entered this country through the open border illegally without any vetting. Drugs flow freely across the border killing Americans across the country. As Catholics, how should we view the situation? For the purposes of this discussion, let’s separate this into 2 categories – the people who are already in the US, and those on the way to the open border.
Asylum Seekers/Illegal Immigrants in the US
The people who have crossed the border have many names associated with them; asylum seekers, illegal aliens, and invaders just to name a few. Call them whatever you want to call them, but accept the fact that they are here now. I propose that we refer to them as “Children of God” because that is exactly what they are. As Catholics, God is clear about His expectations for how we treat each other in Matthew 25:31-46:
The Judgment of the Nations
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne,
32 and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33 He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’
37 Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
39 When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
40 And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
41 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
43 a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.
44 Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?
45 He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.
46 and these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
We need to help them with their basic needs as God’s children. There are very valid reasons to be upset about how they got here and what our government is doing to attract more, but they are here. Yes they need to be vetted, and the criminals deported. Releasing them freely into the country without any process is bad for everyone, the American people, the immigrants coming in legally, and the immigrants who crossed the border illegally and then dumped on a street and told they are free to go. The situation is very bad, and with no interest in resolving this situation, our government has been negligent and put many people at risk including the migrants.
The Journey to America
It is perfectly understandable that parents want the best for their families, and the United States presents great opportunities for immigrants as we have seen throughout our history. The problem is our government has sent out an open invitation to the world that they can cross the border and stay. The government is telling us the border is closed, but you can see what is happening every day. We recently had 11K people cross the border in ONE DAY! This “invitation” has come with significant human impact to those coming to America. People have been murdered, women raped and abused, and women and children have been trafficked by the drug cartels. The open border has resulted in a booming business for the Mexican drug cartels who are flooding the country with illegal drugs, especially very dangerous drugs like fentanyl. Sex trafficking is at an all time high and children are dropped across the border and left all alone until picked up by Border Patrol. This open “invitation” must end, and a permanent solution implemented.
Walls and Bridges
I recently heard an amazing sermon from Bishop Robert Barron reflecting on the gospel of Matthew from August 20, 2023. In this sermon, the Bishop discussed Jesus’ actions in Matthew 15:21-28. Jesus is expanding God’s word outside of Israel. Israel had WALLS to help define God’s chosen people, but He also creates a BRIDGE to those outside of Israel, in this gospel to the Canaanite woman. Jesus is sharing God’s message through this bridge that He is creating. I realize the video is almost 14 minutes, but I feel it is absolutely worth your time to listen as he makes very strong arguments for both walls and bridges.
There Needs to be an Immediate Solution
The government needs to end the open “invitation” and back it up with action. We are incentivizing people to travel a long journey that puts them at significant risk of violence and death. As Catholics we need to look out for all of God’s children. If the current immigration law is broken, and it most certainly is, then fix that immediately and offer opportunities for people to apply for asylum locally without putting their lives and the lives of their families in danger. Please storm Heaven with prayer for all impacted with this situation and call your elected representatives demanding a solution to this problem. They work for us. If they don’t protect God’s people then let’s get them removed from office and put in people who will protect everyone. This is a critical moment for the country and for us as Catholics. This is an opportunity for us to say to God through our actions: