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Illegal Immigration and Social Morality Print E-mail
By Fr. Mark A. Pilon   
Wednesday, 04 June 2014

According to Catholic News Agency, Eusebio L. Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Migration, has suggested that the desperation of many illegal immigrants gives them “no choice” but to violate U.S. immigration laws. CNA also reports that Bishop Elizondo believes that a wide array of circumstances place people into situations in which they are “forced” to break the law in order to provide for their families.

There are a number of things troubling about this, if the reporting is accurate, none more so than the idea that people have no choice but to break the law when they are in desperate circumstances. While it may be that violating an immigration law is not a serious sin, it is difficult to see how violating any just law of another nation that regulates immigration does not constitute an act that is at least venially sinful.

The fact that an immigration law may be thought unfair or imperfect does not make it objectively unjust. Every country has a right to regulate immigration as a right related to its national sovereignty. It should do so wisely and generously, but the fact that an immigration law is unwise or ungenerous or even unfair in its allocations does not make the law unjust.

First, our bishops surely do not think that desperate circumstances morally justify all desperately poor people of this world violating our border laws and immigration rules to enter this country illegally and remain here. Even if these laws were rightly considered as purely penal in character, they nonetheless serve the common good of our citizens, and acting contrary to the common good of a nation is surely something that pertains to the realms of ethics and social justice. Literally hundreds of millions of poor people are worse off than the poor of Mexico, but would the bishops want to argue that this morally justifies their crossing our borders illegally?

Second, the notions of “desperate situation” and “providing for your family” are highly subjective and fairly relative determinations. Does anyone who wants to better provide for a family have a moral right to enter this country illegally? Many Mexican families are desperately poor, but the primary obligation to remedy that situation surely falls on the government of Mexico. Otherwise, any nation could morally ignore the plight of its own poor, and sidestep its own moral responsibilities of social justice, and by doing so encourage their poor to emigrate to another nation.

Indeed, that seems to be precisely what certain nations are already embracing as a social policy, including Mexico. I doubt that our bishops would want to square such a policy with Catholic social justice doctrine. Why, then, do we hear no criticism of the Mexican government for its failure to meet the needs of its own people?  Mexico is not Bangladesh or one of the numerous African or Asian countries whose economy is barely or below subsistence level.

Third, the notion that the poor have no freedom of choice due to desperation undermines the very human dignity of the poor. That is Catholic social teaching. Anything else sanctions a very dangerous general principle, which can easily be expanded to one having no choice but to break other laws, which the bishops surely would not countenance.

Bishops on the Migration Committee may know the difference between a penal law, which they seem to consider our border laws to be, and a law that is grounded in the moral law of God. But their flocks may well not understand that difference. They might well conclude that because they are truly desperate, why not morally participate in drug trafficking or even human trafficking?

Would the bishops think it was justifiable to violate the seventh commandment by lying or by fraud in order to protect one’s family from being returned to its homeland? Would it be  illegal or immoral to have a fraudulent Social Security card? Or to lie to governmental agencies investigating their citizenship? The Church has been accused of justifying lying for its own purposes. Do we really want to encourage others to lie and commit fraud if that’s their only “choice” to protect their immigration status?

One never hears from the bishops who argue that illegal immigration is not a moral issue that other possible actions of illegal immigrants are immoral: that lying is never justifiable; that fraud is never justifiable, even for a good purpose; and that this should be admitted at least when legitimate governments are enforcing a just law.

Likewise, receiving benefits that are justifiably restricted to citizens, such as welfare payments, is never described by the bishops as fraud or theft. If it is sinful for citizens of a country to defraud the government when it comes to welfare payments – which is surely a violation of the common good – how could it be that it would not be sinful for an illegal immigrant to defraud the government?

Regrettably, such questions are never dealt with or even raised by these bishops, who seem solely concerned with granting citizenship to those who not only violate the laws of the land, but violate the universal common good by undermining the legal process of immigration. (Law-abiding foreign nationals stand in line, often for years, awaiting the opportunity to legally immigrate to the United States.) 

Justifying illegal immigration undermines the law itself and surely encourages more foreign nationals to take the illegal route rather than wait and follow the law of the country to which they desire to emigrate.

Personally, I very much favor greatly expanding legal immigration from our southern neighbors. But undermining of the laws of this country – even if one believes they are unwise – and to call them unjust seems ludicrous, and totally undemonstrated by any natural law principles.

It’s is the worst possible solution to a very complex and important social issue.

 
Fr. Mark A. Pilon, a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, received a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from Santa Croce University in Rome. He is a former Chair of Systematic Theology at Mount St. Mary Seminary, a former contributing editor of Triumph magazine, and a retired and visiting professor at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College. He writes regularly at littlemoretracts.wordpress.com. 
 
 
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Comments (30)Add Comment
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written by Myshkin, June 04, 2014
Chalk it up to human nature and its moral weakness. How so? Well, everyone wants to be liked. This is as true of kindergarten kids as it is of Bishops. But the Bishops have dropped the ball on many issues (a short list would include birth control, basic doctrinal teaching, parish closings, and last, but certainly not least, clerical homosexuality and pedophilia), so they're not widely admired or even liked. Immigration is the one place they can grandstand, "championing the poor". It's not about a rational presentation of Catholic social justice teaching, it's about posing as the Home Star Runner. "At least they'll like me on this issue," said the Bishop to himself just before the press conference on immigration, "and maybe not so many Latinos will leave the Church for evangelical sects ... Now on with the show!"
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written by Dennis Larkin, June 04, 2014
My understanding on this is that some 80% or more of illegal immigrants come from a single country, Mexico. Lax border law enforcement disproportionately assists the destitute poor of only Mexico. Don't know what that adds to the conversation.
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written by Manfred, June 04, 2014
Thank you for a very frank article, Father. I believe Myshkin describes the psychcology on the part of the bishops as well.
You might have brought up the stern laws the Mexican government applies to ITS southern border. The recent Mass which was said by American bishops (including Cdl O'Malley) on the US/Mexican border to politicize the Eucharist, while they will not obey Cdl Burke on Canon 915 denying Communion to pro-abortion high profile catholics as that would politicize the Eucharist.
The sad truth is that Sodomite Social Services,LLP, a.k.a. the USCCB, has precious little to speak about as most of them are in no way truly Catholic. The massive defections in terms of Catholic praxis in their dioceses gives proof of that.
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written by Deacon Paul, June 04, 2014
Fr. Mark: Amen and Amen! I have lived and worked in Central and South America. I know their desperation and I can understand the motivations to do whatever it takes to provide a potentially better life for one's family, however, sin is sin, and once we decide to sin, it's easier to commit more and greater sins. Breaking the law of another country is the fast and easy way while fixing the system in one's own country is a long and arduous process. Still, I don't remember Jesus justifying sin. Shouldn't our Bishops follow His example?
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written by Patty, June 04, 2014
What I want to know is why some put such a heavy emphasis on the citizens of our country (or any country that is experiencing illegal immigration) just to accept the illegal immigration because welcoming the stranger is "the charitable thing to do". Would it not rather be more charitable of us as a nation to put more pressure on countries like Mexico to get their countries under control and take better care of their citizens? Is it not better for someone to be able to stay in their home without danger or without severe poverty than it is for them to find no other choice than to migrate to another country where they become a stranger? Where are the pastoral letters and statements from the Bishops suggesting that we need to help these people stay in their own home, rather than just suggesting that we lawful citizens need to bear the burden of another country's corruption/poverty/etc. by just accepting that people come here illegally?
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written by Bill Hocter, June 04, 2014
"Every country has a right to regulate immigration as a right related to its national sovereignty. It should do so wisely and generously, but the fact that an immigration law is unwise or ungenerous or even unfair in its allocations does not make the law unjust."

This seems a bit strongly argued to me. Unwise and ungenerous laws if not ipso facto unjust would at least be eligible for extra scrutiny in this area.

If Americans wanted less immigration they should have had more children. In the 19th century when population pressure came from the North the border moved South, by war. More recently it's going the other way (at least somewhat more peacefully) for similar reasons. One might as well curse the tides or the weather.
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written by Dan, June 04, 2014
In any discussion about illegal immigration it is necessary to distinguish between the micro and macro levels. At the micro level, it is true that the individual illegal immigrant does wrong by breaking the immigration law. However, at the macro level, it is unjust to send the illegal immigrants back en masse. Why? Because they came here at our de facto invitation. Businesses large and small needed cheap labor and this is why we did not enforce the immigration laws in the 1980s and 1990s. It is hardly just to use people for cheap labor and then kick them and their families out when they are no longer needed.
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written by Thomas C. Coleman, Jr., June 04, 2014
How can Catholic leaders really not know that they are cooperating in their persecution? Are so many of them so blind that they cannot see that the totalitiran, anti-Christian forces that have taken over the cultures of the post-Chrisitan West know that the neewly enfranchized will vote as their community organizers tell them to vote, which mneans in favor of the very government that is promotng anti-Christian views of the family and economic life? What a hooirfying irony it is that it might be better for the Cathoic Chuch in America if the newly enfranchized were were to accelerate their abadonment Holy Mother Church for Evangelicalism, for at least in the latter fold they would not be encouraged to vote for the very forces which are plotting to turn the Bride of Christ into a North Amemican version of the Chinese Patriotic Association!
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written by William, June 04, 2014
Even if these laws were rightly considered as purely penal in character, they nonetheless serve the common good of our citizens,

I think its highly doubtful that our current US immigration law serves the common good of US citizens. Most of these immigrants are currently serving US citizens and contributing to the common good. Furthermore, it seems to me an inalienable human right to travel, work, and occupy space on this earth. Laws which contradict this right are inherently unjust and should be actively resisted.
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written by Chris in Maryland, June 04, 2014
Dan:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Federal Government "want" cheap labor...they don't "need" cheap labor.

We all know why they want what they want - to increase their wealth and political power.

"Cheap Immigrant Labor" is the universal solution for the "problems" facing the elite.
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written by Seanachie, June 04, 2014
Well presented, Father...could it also be a reflection on the corporate nature of the Church in the U.S.? That is, encouraging support for immigration, be it legal or illegal, helps swell the rolls of nominal Catholics and allows the claim that the Church is growing compared to other Christian denominations whose flocks are dwindling? Good to have a growing Church membership from a corporate perspective...assuming, of course, the members provide spiritual and financial support. Moreover, what strikes me as insane is the complete failure of the Church to assist immigrants in acculturating. For example, many immigrants, especially children, cannot speak English and present themselves to our education systems (both parochial and public) unprepared to learn in English. The solution appears to be bi-lingual instruction...the cost of which unnecessarily drives up school budgets and lessens funds available to enhance programs for U.S. citizen students. Also, Masses in Spanish do not promote acculturation...wouldn't Masses solely in English not only assist learning to speak and comprehend English but also foster accelerated acculturation?
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written by Marian, June 04, 2014
Great Article Father! As a legal permanent resident of the US, I have seen how other fellow nationals complain they " have to break the law" in order to have an opportunity. It upsets me very much to know that now these illegal immigrants are now the victims of our society and they have come to demand their "rights" while they cheat and lie to this country. People like me, born in South America had to go through a lot of hard work, effort studying and discipline in order to come to this country legally and following the rules. I have a job, pay taxes and just want to support my family, but doing things the right way. And they should be doing the same as well. Immigration itself is not the biggest problem. It is how immigrants are coming to this country. We need to respect and follow the rules here as we would do in any of our own countries.
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written by Thomas C. Coleman, Jr., June 04, 2014
@Williom: I think that premise your position is that nations do not have a right to determine who cna enter their territories, from which it follows that nations are not legitimate entities. If our governments are not valid then we do not have right to determine what the primary language will be or even to enofrce laws which are based on a given nation's values. Of coures this is one of the purposes of so-called multiculturalism in the first place. Here we have the Catholic Church both denying the legitimacy of the US government and promoting teh Balkanization of our culture by catering to Spanish speaking seperatists. Does it not occur to the good bishops that they are exposing American Catholics to the charge that Catholics cannot be loyal Americans? But the greater danger is, as I stated above, that the influx of Leftist-supporting people the Chruch might tieing its own noose. Those new voteres will certainly support politicians who want to use the homosexula agenda to brand the Church as a hate organization. Wake up! There is already a parrallel, counterfiet catholic chruch ready to take over and enforce conformity to secular, totalitarain agenda.
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written by Paul, June 04, 2014
The immigration laws should be obeyed. Getting benefits by fraud is a crime. Hiring illegals is creating a demand which will be meet. Isn't it cheaper to help these people in their country than here?
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written by Maria Perez, June 04, 2014
There is something that is greatly ignored by the church when it defends the poor immigrant who was so desperate to come and give their family a better life. What about the ones, and there are many, who come here with that pretext and leave their family behind? A wife and children or sometimes a husband and children and start a new family in this country. Forgetting the ones they left behind. This makes me angry because it happens a lot. Meanwhile we are asked to defend marriage and the family while at the same time condoning the abandonment of many. Which family does the church honor??? The adulterous one here or the one in Mexico or whichever country of origin? They come here and shack up, start new families, demand the sacraments for their children while at the same time not taking communion themselves. Beautiful, just beautiful, isn't it? I teach First Communion and I see this a lot. So forgive me if I don't have sympathy for the poor immigrant who breaks laws and tears many families apart. That being said, I feel for these poor children who are given such a mixed message from their parents. What do the Bishops say about this? Not much. I guess if they can break the laws with impunity, they can also sin with impunity and not be held accountable. Thank you for telling the truth Father. Amen!
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written by Michael Paterson-Seymour, June 04, 2014
"Would the bishops think it was justifiable to violate the seventh commandment by lying or by fraud in order to protect one’s family from being returned to its homeland? Would it be illegal or immoral to have a fraudulent Social Security card? Or to lie to governmental agencies investigating their citizenship?"

A number of Catholics, including priests, provided foreign-born Jews with forged papers to prevent their deportation from Vichy France. Was that wrong?
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written by Deacon Ed Peitler, June 04, 2014
In my opinion, it is sinful for any parish/ diocese NOT to be actively involved in missionary outreach to those who live South of our borders. It is the mandate of Christ to proclaim the Gospel to the world and this Gospel includes caring for material needs of the poor.

The bishops cannot neglect the poor of this hemisphere and then expect the rest of us to seriously consider their positions on immigration. And no, making financial contributions to CRS doesn't cut the mustard. It is a disgrace for any diocese of our country not be be sending missionaries (and here I am referring to members of the lay faithful) to Central and South America. Our bishops need to answer the question of why is it possible for so many Mormons, Evangelicals, Mennonites, and Baptists to send missionaries to these countries to render assistance when we cannot.

I have led countless mission groups to Guatemala and I have lost count of the number of Catholics who participate and then remark, "I always wanted to go on a mission trip but no one ever asked." The Catholics who have been on prior mission trips often comment: "I've been on many mission trips - but with protestant groups."

Lastly, bishops in the USA should not be surprised when so many Catholics in Latin America no longer are; the protestants are there to evangelize them OUT of he Catholic Church. Bishops, let's get our priorities in order. Let's begin to take care of people where they live rather than consigning them to break the laws of the USA and migrate here illegally. We're just not buying this argument.
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written by John S., June 04, 2014
Thank you, Father Pilon, for bringing critical thinking rather than warm and fuzzy feelings to this issue.
I encourage all desperately poor people to take up residence with Bishop Elizondo and all the bishops who agree with him, whether you have to break in or not. Give these bishops a chance to personally welcome the stranger! The point: A policy that doesn't work on the micro level is not going to work on the macro level.
I suspect that another motive of Bishop Elizondo and like-minded bishops is that they are counting on an influx of Mexican immigrants to revitalize a U. S. Church that has been woefully uncatechized for 50 years. Dear bishops, please read Maria Perez's comment. For every baptized Mexican who remains devoutly Catholic, how many are just as secularized as the average baptized American? Dear bishops, Mexico became part of the post-Christian West before the U. S. did.
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written by PeteBrown, June 04, 2014
Nice article. I have several reactions. There is no question that the Catholic bishops are advocating for what they perceive as being in the interest of their own flock. A large percentage of immigrants from hispanic countries (formerly Mexico but increasingly from El Savador, Honduras, Bolivia etc.) are Catholic. If it were the case that the cast majority were, say, Somali Muslim the bishops would have a far different public posture. Nothing too hard about that.

Second, you are absolutely correct that many Hispanic countries encourage their citizens to come to the US legally or illegally. They are no dummies and have long ago figured out that labor (and the money it sends back home) are their greatest export.

Third, I disagree with your advocacy for greatly increased legal immigration. This is essentially the position of the Obama administration as well as the job creator--chamber of commerce wing of the GOP. The US has enough of a problem with the low wages and life prospects of unskilled labor already in the US to be importing more from other countries. That would be a stronger case for enforcing immigration laws than your invocations of "national sovereignty" --since we clearly have powerful interests in the US in both major parties who want essentially open borders and do not care about "national sovereignty."

What annoys me to no end in this whole debate is that the terms of the discussion are predicated on the idea that the only interests that matter are those of 1) the immigrants themselves and 2) the businesses who want unfettered access to cheap compliant immigrant labor. Heaven forbid raising wages for people who already live and work in the US.

The working class of people of all races already in the US no longer has a voice--and has no party at all to represent them.
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written by Rolando Rodriguez, OFS, June 04, 2014
Dear Fr. Mark A. Pilon,
You write, "Personally, I very much favor greatly expanding legal immigration from our southern neighbors. But undermining of the laws of this country – even if one believes they are unwise – and to call them unjust seems ludicrous, and totally undemonstrated by any natural law principles."

Personally, I think that national borders are artificial, established not for the common good but for national power and control of populations. I do not only believe, I know that many of the laws of this country are unwise, some even ludicrous, as demonstrated by natural law principles.

The children of Abraham were admonished in the Pentateuch, "When an alien resides in your land, do not mistreat such a one. You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; you shall love the alien as yourself; for you too were once an alien in the land of Egypt. ( (Leviticus 19:33-34)

Moreover, immigration, "legal" or otherwise, is not exclusive. Not only "our southern neighbors," but our northern neighbors, our Asian, Middle Eastern, African, Indian, and European neighbors also believe the words engraved at the base of the Statue of Liberty,
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Most of us were once aliens in the land of the Olmecs, the Toltec, the Teotihuacan, the Zapotec, the Maya and the Aztec until the the Encuentro, when the Span invaded, conquered and claimed Mexico, which then included the Southwest, as witnessed by the geographical names of states, cities, landmarks and natural resources. The rest of us can trace or immigrant status to the Republic of Texas, "Remember the Alamo!", and to the Mexican-American War when citizens of the United State of America stole land from Mexico and imposed the current "borders."

With the ever increasing negative effects of recent and continuing climate changes, we have been warned by military, social and government sources of increasing migrations to avoid starvation and drought. Your article ends stating, "It’s is the worst possible solution to a very complex and important social issue." What do you suggest we do?
Paz y Bien, Rolando, OFS.
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written by Marylou, June 04, 2014
I've long thought that the Bishops are off on this (as well as their consistent association with the Democratic Party).

Instead of the Bishops demanding the South-of = the - boarder government treat the citizens with dignity the responsibility has transferred to some obligation of the US?

It's rather disheartening the way Bishop Gomez is a big feature on EWTN who hails his cause.

Accepting ones state in life is supposed to be part of life.
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written by rosemary, June 04, 2014
You are too charitable, Fr. Pilon. The bishops know exactly what they are doing on this issue. They are hoping for Hispanics to supplement their coffers but, lo!, they are not! They are joining Evangelical and Pentecostal churches!

On a recent trip to Guatemala, I noticed that for every one Catholic Church, there were six Christian sects represented in each town (not to mention the pagan worship that enjoys a broad following - even 500 years of Catholic evangelism has not stamped that out!)

Our bishops are tone deaf on this issue. They have no idea what is going on yet persist in their "group think" that immigration will rejuvenate the Church in America. Sadly, Hispanics are not joining the Church in the US and starting new sects that they bring with them from their towns. They also are heavily aborting and contracepting. Most now, have no more than one or two children. And why would they ever want to become citizens? To pay my Social Security and Medicare taxes? Not very likely.

It's just so pathetic. If I were not a Christian, I would say the bishops are fighting to remain relevant in their posts.
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written by Thomas J. Hennigan, June 04, 2014
I am in total disagreement with the article. Are the immigration laws existing in the United States at present jsut laws which promote the common good? I don't think so. From the standpoint of the US maintainging its population and avoiding the demographic winter which is affecting Europe, it is very importat that it regulate immigration properly. Most of the imigrants are from Catholic countries like Mexico, so it is good for the United States, which is a mostly sparsely populated country to not to loose population. Besides, about one third of the present territory of the United States was unjustly conquered by an ofensive war agianst Mexico in 1848. Besdies, from the economic point of view, many immigrants are willing to do jobs that most Americans are unwilling to do. Instead of criminalizing immigration by a country which is comprised almost exclusively of immigrants and their children is not a good idea. According to St Thomas Aquinas a law is a "areaosnable ordinance". Now it seem sto me that the present immigation laws are not reaonsbale nor are they conducive to the common good.

However, I am in favor of restricting the inflow of Islamic immigration as they are in the long term a danger to the society as Islam is not just a religion. It is a political and social ideology, even more dangerous than Nazism and Communism. Its classical texts all promote the kililng of non mulsims, just what the jihadists do. It also allows Mullims to decieve non Musmlims and probably create a fifth column and a seed bed for jihadists, as the Boston bombings among others have shown. I think the bishops are right in their stand on immigration, aa Hispanic immigration can be a good thing not only for the United States but also for the Church.
I belive your position is shortsighted and wrong and does not promote the common good, as there is a real danger of a demographic winter or it is aleady upon America and in an advanced stage in Europe.
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written by DougH, June 04, 2014
I agree with those that believe that our immigration system needs to be both seriously opened up and seriously revamped. But I also believe that we need to gain control over our borders. As for illegal immigrants, I believe that their motives for coming here are understandable, even laudable, but that doesn't change the fact that they are deliberate lawbreakers. As it states in Proverbs 6:

30 Thieves are not despised who steal only
to satisfy their appetite when they are hungry.
31 Yet if they are caught, they will pay sevenfold;
they will forfeit all the goods of their house.
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written by Louis, June 05, 2014
Well said, Father Pilon.

Jo Ann and I are now living in retirement very near the border. It's hard to write this, but we have found that the illegals are mostly bad people doing bad things. They have burned our forests, trashed our land, wasted our water, and in some cases have threatened rural residents -- or worse.

They are coached to say that they are here for work that they can't get in their own country and that they have a family who are in desperate circumstances and whom they need to support. But get them out of range of a camera and away from officials and ask them in Spanish and you can instead get the truth, that they are here to take what they can get.

Specially trained drivers will deliberately wreck a van full of illegals so as to draw first responders away from somewhere else. The last such incident in this area resulted in nine deaths. The blood of those people is on the hands of our bishops. Worse, those killed were not likely to be spiritually prepared for sudden death. The bishops will have to answer for their souls.

It's a all very wrong, and it has brought me to have no respect for most of the bishops in this country.
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written by Tom Nealon, June 05, 2014
Thanks, Father Pilon, for bringing sanity to this issue.
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written by federoff11, June 07, 2014
I live 50 miles (as the crow flies) from the border. America is a steam-release valve for the Mexican government… as long as their citizens can come up here for a better life, they don't need to fix the corrupt patron system that barely functions as a government. And as long as the US continues to enable this, we are culpable, too.
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written by Daniel Beach, July 17, 2014
There is a fundamental conflict of interest between the proclamations of the Catholic Bishops Conference regarding illegal immigration, and the needs of the Catholic Church in America to grow or at least sustain its numbers. There is no growth in the American Catholic Church outside of Hispanic immigration of which a great percentage is illegal immigration. As the largest Christian denomination in America, the Catholic Church derives social and political influence through its vast numbers, as well as through its traditional moral authority.

However, Equating morality with the acceptance of illegal behavior undermines the legitimacy of its power to influence both its believers and those who represent the larger population in the political process.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37), Jesus teaches that everyone is our neighbor, that we owe a duty to all of humanity to insure their well-being through acts of generosity and kindness. The Samaritan binds the wounds of the injured man, takes him to an inn, and pays for his care. However, the Samaritan does not pack up the injured man and take him home to his own family in Samaria to be cared for. Creating conditions in the home countries of illegal immigrants that permit them to live with human dignity in their own lands and in the comfort of their own, familiar culture fulfills the message of the Gospel. The preferential option for the poor does not require that we remake such unfortunate people into Samaritans or Americans in order to treat them as our neighbors.

America can be a moral force in the world, but it cannot be the lifeboat for the planet. However, we can decide to influence the corrupt governments from which these economic refugees are escaping. We can examine our national policies that help to sustain the oligarchies and kleptocracies that subjugate their own people and deprive them of the opportunity to live a life of freedom from oppression and access to the opportunities that they so desperately desire. We can sever our connections to the militaries of these countries that enforce the stays quo, and violently repress the efforts of their citizens to make meaningful changes. We can deprive American corporations of the profits and the security of cooperating with foreign systems that violate human rights so that the few may benefit at the expense of the many. We can re-evaluate our immigration policies based upon the current needs of our nation. But we cannot bring the injured man back to Samaria. This does not solve the fundamental problem, and only leads to a false hope that escape is the only solution.

Is this conflict of interest a deliberate act of deception by church authorities? I would not go so far as to say that. However, I would say that this conflict of interest is unacknowledged; and that, with the sustainability of the power of the church at stake, it cannot help but affect decisions made by people, even people of good will.
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written by Celeste, July 20, 2014
In no way should any Religious Origination be involved with leading or persuading people from other Countries to break laws of other Counties.
This is the problem the Church sticking its nose where it has no business. Teach religion in your own County and stay there. Work with these Governments that you find lacking in caring for their people. But do not Force people of the US to accept Illegal behavior!
I am Catholic but am turning my back on my Religion because of it's immoral Behavior of breaking Laws and the ongoing Sin it the Church is pursuing.
The excuse by a poster above stating that the US is Sparsely populated and loosing population is Propaganda and self justifies breaking the laws of that Country. And then to continue in believe that they belong in the Southern US because the land was unjustly taken via the war of 1848 is Lunacy!
I am normal America, we do not want to be paying higher Taxes to house,feed and educate Illegals. We can barley take care of our own families.
If the Catholic Church is so willing to pursue this please go to Italy and get the money from the Pope and let these illegals go live in Rome.
But do not expect the American people to do it.
And please stop applying and receiving Grant money in the Millions from the US government to continue this masquerade. Isn't that a violation of Chrurch and State? Another Law broken another sin.

As the statement that illegals are doing jobs Americans won't do that is a bunch of Lies (oh yes another Sin).

There are so many Americans still out of work. I personally worked in the fields of Rural America in the 1960's when Blacks worked the Fields. They were considered second class citizens and Farmers took advantage of their lack of education and color statues to pay them pennies on the dollar. I was white and a child laborer ( I to was taken advantage of - it is illegal to employee children but in Rural America they got away with it. I picked Potatoes for 9 cents a basket at age 9 until age 12).

What do you think is going on with Hispanic's they are now the New Blacks being used by Business that are breaking the Laws in name of Profits. That is the Sins that the Church should be looking at. Your are enslaving the Hispanic to Abusive Farmers who are taken advantage of their lack of education and poverty.

Some Church. I no longer donate any of my money to it. Stopped going after the exposure of Priest abusing children.
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written by Celeste, July 20, 2014
Useless to post when you hide the truth

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