Skip to comments.Arizona immigration law shows need for reform, Archbishop Chaput writes
Posted on 05/05/2010 7:05:37 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
(CNA/EWTN News).- Arizonas new immigration law has some flaws but shows the brokenness of the immigration system, Archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput has said. Urging Congress to act, he noted the dangers and wrongs of both illegal immigration and the response to it.
Writing in the May 5 edition of the Denver Catholic Register, the archbishop said Americans have a right to safety and to have solvent public institutions, but that cannot come at the cost of immigrants basic human rights.
Discussing the controversy about the Arizona state law, he advised Catholics to listen first to the leaders of the Arizona Catholic community.
They know the situation there best, he said, adding that their leadership should set the tone for our own response.
Illegal immigration is wrong and dangerous for everyone involved, he asserted. There is nothing good about people risking their lives to enter the U.S., and there is nothing good about Americans not knowing who crosses their borders, especially in an age of terrorism, drugs and organized violent crime.
There is also nothing good about people living in the shadows, or families being separated, or decent people being deported and having to start their lives all over again, sometimes in a country that they no longer -- or never did -- know.
Although flawed, Archbishop Chaput continued, the Arizona law unintentionally accomplishes the good of bringing immigration reform and its human issues to the forefront of the national discussion.
Noting issues like deportation of breadwinners, the division of families, and the anxiety of non-citizen children who grew up in the U.S., the archbishop declared:
Our current immigration system is now obviously broken. Congress needs to act.
He warned that no credible immigration reform will take place if the effort becomes an exercise in partisan maneuvering.
Both of our major political parties got our country into our current immigration mess. Both parties bear responsibility for fixing it. Neither will solve it alone, he explained.
Archbishop Chaput said that the recent debate over national healthcare and its deeply flawed legislation compromised confidence in some key federal lawmakers. In his view, Congress now faces an equally difficult task. This will require a transparency, patience, spirit of compromise and bipartisanship rarely seen in Washington in the best of seasons, he said.
If the immigration debate divides along parties or becomes entangled with very different and unnecessary issues like same-sex relationships, the archbishop warned, real people will suffer.
He encouraged people to remember that America was built by immigrants, who are a blessing for American society in its economy, culture and religious and moral life.
The American Catholic community has a long history of welcoming immigrants and helping them integrate into, and enrich, our nations life, his Denver Catholic Register column finished. Here in Colorado, the Church will continue that work with all of her energy.
Arizona's bishops -- including Bishops Kicanas, Wall and Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted -- opposed the bill as it came through the Legislature. On April 26, Bishop Kicanas on his diocesan website called for the USCCB general counsel to review the legislation with an eye toward having the conference join friend-of-the-court briefs in support of overturning it.At America, the National Catholic Weekly:
Along with Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix and Bishop James S. Wall of Gallup, N.M., whose diocese includes parts of northern Arizona, Bishop Kicanas had called for a veto of the bill and for a more comprehensive approach at the federal level to solve immigration problemsIllegal immigration is wrong and dangerous for everyone involved, he asserted. There is nothing good about people risking their lives to enter the U.S., and there is nothing good about Americans not knowing who crosses their borders, especially in an age of terrorism, drugs and organized violent crime....Although flawed, Archbishop Chaput continued, the Arizona law unintentionally accomplishes the good of bringing immigration reform and its human issues to the forefront of the national discussion....Our current immigration system is now obviously broken. Congress needs to act.
“...but that cannot come at the cost of immigrants basic human rights.”
Archbishop should acknowledge that the new AZ law DOES NOT threaten “basic human rightst”!
We don’t need “reform.” What we need is to enforce the laws already on the books. Since the federal government won’t enforce the laws, Arizona had to.
It’s very simple. These folks are here illegally. When you do something against the law, you get punished. Why is that so difficult to understand?
the bishop REALLY needs THIS old priest’s book! :
This guy’s the King of Wafflers. “Bad for people to risk lives crossing border”, “Bad for Americans who don”t know who’s crossing border”...duh!
“Congress needs to act”
...been there, done that. They had years of opportunity! AZ was committing suicide NOT doing what they did!
Denver Quisling Ping
The credo upon which this country was founded states;
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Tell me how Archbishop Chaput's statement differs from that.
The reasons behind these views needs to be discussed thoroughly.
Very good, and you are right.
There is nothing more useless and counter productive than someone that makes vague complaints about people trying to productively address a real but difficult problem, but is unwilling to put forth any alternative.
The Arizona law does not place any additional requirements on Immigrants than they already face under Federal law. Apparently the "human right" that the Bishop is trying to protect is the right to ignore international borders, and have immigrants ignore any immigration laws that might prevent them from living in the United States.
I am a strong proponent of legal immigration. I believe we should increase quotas for legal immigration AFTER we become more effective at enforcing our immigration laws.
I believe in leniency for otherwise law abiding illegal immigrants in the form of a limited time offer of not prohibiting them from applying to immigrate legally after they have been sent home.
But first we need to start upholding our laws.
Yes, that will cause hardship for people who have broken our laws. While I do believe in trying to be compassionate as reasonably possible, the responsibility for breaking those laws and the consequences fall upon those that broke them. The last amnesty made matters worse. We can't just keep letting people break the law and then granting amnesties for them which reward those that break the law.
That is not right. It's not fair. It's not moral.
The church is supposed to be about repentance and forgiveness. But it is also important that God doesn't forgive the unrepentant.
Send illegal immigrants home, and then give them a fair chance of applying to enter legally. Fair meaning the same opportunity as anyone else with their skills and in a similar situation.
It doesn't mean some kind of communist enforcement of equal opportunity.
Would you be denying your neighbor's kid their human rights if you refused to let them use your car, when you allow your own child to do so? Are they not equal?
Mexico is a country where there are far less opportunities for the poor. I would love for that to change considering that Mexico is not a poor country, and is home to of the worlds richest men, if not the worlds richest man.
However, the pursuit of happiness doesn't just mean material wealth.
Our Constitution, which is the document that defines the United States of America unquestionably treats citizens differently than immigrants. It also charges the Federal government with the responsibility of protecting our borders.
America is a wonderful country, but we simply cannot take everyone in the world that might want to come here.
When our country was founded there was great opportunity, but there was also not a huge government supported safety net. People had the opportunity to succeed or fail based on their own merits, but the government did not try to force some kind of mandated equal opportunity on people coming here.
Those with skills and strong work ethics mostly succeeded. Those without often failed, and in many cases starved as the result.
In that kind of harsh reality unchecked immigration works well.
In today's reality, those that cannot contribute more resources than they consume, become an increasing burden on our society, and in reality we can only bear so much.
Because of the Earned Income Tax Credit, even federal income taxes work as a form of welfare to the poor. People who make little not only don't contribute toward paying for the government services they receive, they actually get back more than they paid.
Workers do not have to be completely dead weight to be a drain on the productive. We have become a country where the majority votes for representatives will give them benefits paid for by those who earn more.
If all men are created equally, why are we not taxed equally? If not by equal amounts, or by excise taxes that are the same regardless of who buys the goods, at least an equal percentage of income.
Chaput isn't a proponent of equality. He has a warped view of compassion in which he wants the government to force us to help everyone regardless of if it is reasonable or practical.
The real solution to the problem of Mexico's lack of opportunity must occur in Mexico, and despite the deluded views of some liberal portions of the church, socialism won't solve those problems. You can't make people productive and self sufficient by continually giving people what they need.
I'm NOT saying that many immigrants from Mexico won't become, self sufficient and productive, and even make large contributions to our society. Some obviously will, and since we simply cannot take everyone, we need to give preference to those who show a higher likelihood to be productive.
Maybe if other countries start losing a lot of their best people, they will be forced to create more opportunities for those people at home. It might even give those people a greater chance at Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness at home.
....Chaput isn't a proponent of equality. He has a warped view of compassion in which he wants the government to force us to help everyone regardless of if it is reasonable or practical.
All great points.
They just need to stay in their own country and exercise their human rights there.
Every once in awhile I think about rejoining the Catholic Church and then I read crap like this.
The equal protection clause has been interpreted by the courts to include all persons within the borders of the US.
Chaput isn't a proponent of equality. He has a warped view of compassion in which he wants the government to force us to help everyone regardless of if it is reasonable or practical."
Archbishop Chaput has as much right to advocate for his beliefs and those of the nearly 70 million US Catholics as anyone else with a differing. In his book Render unto Caesar Chaput has said that;
"A democracy depends on the active involvement of all its citizens, not just lobbyists, experts, think tanks and the mass media. For Catholics, politics -- the pursuit of justice and the common good in the public square -- is part of the history of salvation. No one is a minor actor in that drama. Each person is important.".
Archbishop Chaput further states;
" in a diverse community, tolerance is an important working principle. But it's never an end itself. In fact, tolerating grave evil within a society is itself a form of serious evil. Likewise, democratic pluralism does not mean that Catholics should be quiet in public about serious moral issues because of some misguided sense of good manners. A healthy democracy requires vigorous moral debate to survive. Real pluralism demands that people of strong beliefs will advance their convictions in the public square -- peacefully, legally and respectfully, but energetically and without embarrassment. Anything less is bad citizenship and a form of theft from the public conversation.".
What a monumental exercise in reductio ad absurdum. The founding credo of this country states than all men derive their rights from God. The Courts have upheld that constitutional protections are extended to everyone within the US and Archbishop states that those God given rights must be considered in the calculus of the problem. If we left this up to people who use your convoluted logic we could conclude that it is OK to enslave, rob, rape and murder anyone who isn't a citizen. You aren't advocating that, are you>
Drop the sophistry. I am differentiating between legal immigrants, who are guests, and illegal immigrants, who are invaders. That the same courts who intentionally misread the 14th Amendment ignore this basic principle does not make it correct. And under natural law, you are wrong.
That's rich coming from a practitioner of reducio ad absurdum. There is an ugly irony in declaring that another human is legally something less than a person. It comes just short of using the term untermensch.
Someone entering this country illegally is still a person. They do not have the same legal or moral rights as a citizen or legal alien. There is no natural right for non-citizens to be in any counrty. The natural right is to leave or overthrow ones own.
Over the past week various people from around the archdiocese have asked for help in reflecting on Arizonas new immigration law. As readers will know, Ive used this space many times in the past to urge sensible, national immigration reform. Citizens of this country have a right to their safety and the solvency of their public institutions. But we undermine those very goals if we ignore the basic human rights of immigrant workers and their families.
In the case of Arizona state law, Catholics should listen first to the leaders of the Arizona Catholic community, for obvious reasons. They know the situation there best. Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson and Bishop James Wall of Gallup, N.M. (whose diocese includes portions of Arizona) are all excellent pastors. Their leadership in the coming weeks and months should set the tone for our own response.
Having said that, its worth making a few simple observations:
First, illegal immigration is wrong and dangerous for everyone involved. Theres nothing good about people risking their lives for the mere purpose of entering the United States. Theres nothing good about our nation not knowing who crosses our borders and why theyre here, especially in an age of terrorism, drugs and organized violent crime. Theres nothing good about people living in the shadows; or families being separated; or decent people being deported and having to start their lives all over again, sometimes in a country that they no longeror never didknow.
Second, the new Arizona law, despite its flaws, does unintentionally accomplish one good thing. Thanks to Arizona, the urgency of immigration reform and the human issues that underlie itdeported breadwinners; divided families; the anxiety of children who grew up here but do not have citizenshiponce again have moved to the front burner of our national discussions. Our current immigration system is now obviously broken. Congress needs to act.
Third, no credible immigration reform will occur if the effort becomes an exercise in partisan maneuvering. Both of our major political parties got our country into our current immigration mess. Both parties bear responsibility for fixing it. Neither will solve it alone. Unfortunately, the recent national health-care debate compromised public confidence in some of our key federal lawmakers. Having pushed through a deeply flawed national health-care bill in the face of serious concerns and widespread public displeasure, Congress now faces an equally hard task with an equally volatile issue. This will require a transparency, patience, spirit of compromise and bipartisanship rarely seen in Washington in the best of seasons, and too often completely missing in the recent health-care debate.
To put it another way: If the immigration debate divides along the lines of party advantage and slogans, or becomes entangled with very different and unnecessary issues like same-sex relationshipsthen real people will suffer. And nothing enduring will result.
Finally, we need to remember that America is a nation built by immigrants. For nearly all of us, our ancestors were immigrants; and immigrantsincluding todays Latino immigrantsare a blessing for American society in every sector: our economy; our culture; and our religious and moral life. The American Catholic community has a long history of welcoming immigrants and helping them integrate into, and enrich, our nations life. Here in Colorado, the Church will continue that work with all of her energy.
Most Rev Charles J. Chaput O.F.M. Cap.
My addendum from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.
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.
Chaput, and most of the rest of the bishops, talk about "our broken immigration system" in the same tone as Obama, Chuck Schumer, and Lindsay Graham. They are NOT on the side of American patriots on the immigration issue.
Don't get me started on how they believe every cholita with an IQ of 70 should pop out babies once the get stateside as it is "God's will."
You should vent your spleen on our judiciary not my Church.
Well, pay for their upkeep. All these good Christians, interested in putting butts in their pews by giving away my inheritance, wouldn't be so happy with the illegals if they couldn't force taxpayers to pay for.
I am adding this tidbit to the numerous reasons I am not a Catholic anymore.
Constitutional protections against abuses by the government must be universally applied.
However, privledges that the law can restrict can have different restrictions for different groups of people.
For example, states can prohibit the consumption of alcohol by those under 21. Immigrants can't become president.
You seem to think the equal protection clause can be used to strike down any law you don't like because the criteria for breaking it treats a person different than others.
Aliens do not have an inalienable right to come to the United States.
Archbishop Chaput has as much right to advocate for his beliefs and those of the nearly 70 million US Catholics as anyone else with a differing.
Of course he has that right, but that doesn't make him correct, nor does it in any way contradict my comment. I however doubt that those 70 million US Catholics speak with one voice on this subject. I would even go so far as to say it is questionable if he speaks for the majority. There is no real way to know, because it is not in the nature of the Church to poll it's members. The Church leads, and expect its members to follow, though the church leadership itself is often split on such contentious subjects.
in a diverse community, tolerance is an important working principle. But it's never an end itself. In fact, tolerating grave evil within a society is itself a form of serious evil. Likewise, democratic pluralism does not mean that Catholics should be quiet in public about serious moral issues because of some misguided sense of good manners.
A point of his I strongly agree with. He and I just disagree on what is moral in this circumstance. In my opinion he is tolerating lawlessness and unfairness in the name of "compassion". There are many people who diligently work to enter this country legally. There are many people who have worked hard to attain desirable skills despite hardships. Not only do illegal aliens make a mocery of their efforts and our laws, the quotas of people allowed to legally immigrate are being kept lower because of the amount of illegal immigration.
He ignores the reality, that our country cannot just open our borders to anyone who might want to come here without restriction. We must have sound immigration policy, and we can't have that when our own government ignores our laws as often as not. That is not fair. It is not moral. It is not sustainable.