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Some Church Leaders Are Wrong On Immigration
The Irish Examiner USA ^ | 5-18-10 | Alicia Colon

Posted on 05/20/2010 12:44:08 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic

As a practicing Catholic, albeit not as devout as I'd like to be, I've written several columns defending the Church embroiled in the priest scandals. Now it's with a heavy heart that I have to write one in opposition to what many of its clergy are championing: the plight of the illegal immigrant. I can certainly understand that many are simply following the words of Jesus Christ who said, "Whatsoever you do unto the least of these my brethren, you do unto me." However, advocating for those who enter the country illegally and exploit the services paid for by taxpayers is nothing short of enabling theft, and I doubt that Jesus would be supporting this misguided path.

Church leaders assembled in New York recently at Fordham University to join in protesting the Arizona immigration law, which apparently they'd never read. The forum was called "Immigration Reform: A Moral Imperative."

Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles told the audience, "With the stroke of her pen, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer not only signed into law the country's most retrogressive, mean-spirited and useless legislation, her action has helped to reinvigorate the comprehensive immigration reform movement."

The cardinal is a leading advocate among U.S. bishops for immigration reform and is making the liberal media's error of confusing opposition to illegal immigration with opposition to legal immigration. The Arizona bill is enforcing what's already a much harsher unenforced federal law and is only doing that because of the negative impact of illegals on that state, which includes murder and kidnapping.

Of course, we need reform that will enable easier access to immigrants, but before that can be done, measures must be taken to stop the hemorrhaging at the borders that's endangering our citizens.

Immediately after the Arizona bill was signed, Mexican officials were issuing warnings that are long overdue against trying to enter that state illegally. Politicians are exploiting this issue to push for amnesty, which will generate more voters for their party, and Hispanics will be the fall guys in the eyes of many native-born Americans and legal immigrants who went through the arduous process of naturalization.

At the forum, Cardinal Mahony said that the Arizona law's passage was due to a climate of fear in a time of tension and turmoil in our society. I ask you, cardinal: Who's responsible for that?

President Obama immediately went on a campaign to incite hostility against Arizona by saying that if you're an Hispanic-American in Arizona and take your kid out to get ice cream, you're going to be harassed. How stupid does he think we are? If he'd read the law, he'd have known that the only reason a law officer would ask for your papers is if you'd gone to that ice cream parlor to rob it.

Throughout the Fordham forum, Cardinal Mahony and others repeatedly spoke of immigration rather than illegal immigration. There's a huge difference between the two terms and the biggest distinction must be to recognize that most Americans favor the former but are not racists if they oppose the latter. The anti-illegal rhetoric may be ratcheting up because it resonates with those suffering in this poor economy.

While the government gets bigger, taxes go higher and spending on programs - that the average working-class person is ineligible for - grows.

I receive many angry e-mails from readers suffering from the bad economy who are increasingly resentful of the inequities they face on a daily basis. One noteworthy missive compared the differences between a Joe Legal and a Joe Illegal. While the Joe Legal had a decent salary, he paid for his taxes and medical insurance, rent, food, and other expenses. Joe Illegal earns a lower salary - under the table - pays no taxes, receives free medical and dental coverage from state and local clinics, has no documented income so is eligible for food stamps and welfare, gets a rent subsidy and his children get free lunches and English as a Second Language after-school programs. Finally, Joe Illegal gets the same fire and police protection but only Joe Legal pays for them. Guess who ends up richer?

I have a tough time responding to the anger in these e-mails because I can't refute the truth in them. I have young neighbors who are struggling but don't qualify for government assistance because they don't know how to "work the system" as well as those that they suspect are illegal, and New York City is a "sanctuary city" that protects illegals.

Religious organizations have always provided for the neediest, but they've traditionally been able to do so through the generosity of their congregations not from government entitlements funded by taxpayers.

As a poor child in the barrios growing up, I benefited from the charity of the nuns at St. Cecilia's parish who gave us extra food and clothing. This beneficence kept us off the welfare rolls, but it appears that many in the Church today are instead providing assistance for illegals to obtain public benefits, seriously straining the system. Guess why St. Vincent's Hospital went bankrupt?

In addition, not much attention has been paid to Americans who've been victimized by the undocumented through marriage. I received a communication from an ex-NYPD officer who'd married an illegal immigrant from Honduras and thought it was a happy marriage until she took off with their two children. He learned that she'd married fraudulently twice before and was supposed to be deported. Her defense, he said, was being funded by Catholic Charities. Meanwhile, he'd gone bankrupt trying to get his children back. I learned that his tragic case is hardly unusual. There's even a Web site dealing with these kinds of victims that alleges that this is a national security problem as well (

The Fordham forum participants called for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to support a challenge to the "draconian" Arizona law, but perhaps they should first answer the questions posed by Phyllis Chesler on

"Can America afford to absorb and fund the integration of an untold number of immigrants, especially during an economic recession or depression? Can America afford to follow Europe's example and allow immigrants, either legal or illegal, to work for minimum or sub-standard wages while American-born laborers remain unemployed? Can America afford to follow Europe's example and allow the legal or illegal immigration of those who do not wish to integrate, who will not or who cannot become self-supporting, and who must rely on public funding?"

Here's another one for the bishops to consider. Do you care at all for Joe Legal? That's the real moral imperative.

Alicia Colon resides in New York City and can be reached at and at

TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Moral Issues; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: aliens; catholic; illegalimmigration; immigration; usccb

1 posted on 05/20/2010 12:44:08 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: NYer; Salvation; narses; Coleus


2 posted on 05/20/2010 12:57:22 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

However, advocating for those who enter the country illegally and exploit the services paid for by taxpayers is nothing short of enabling theft, and I doubt that Jesus would be supporting this misguided path.

Also...It hurts the women and children left behind in Mexico and other Center and South American countries. Whole villages are devoid of men between the ages of 20 and 45. Women and their children are abandoned, and their home countries are drained of creative talent.

3 posted on 05/20/2010 12:57:29 PM PDT by wintertime
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Actually, I think the big problem is that we are focusing on Mexicans. In some areas, it’s true that they are the largest number of illegals, simply because they’re the closest group to the border. In other areas, the largest number of illegals are Africans, Middle Easterners, Bosnians, Chinese, etc.

And believe me, a lot of them make much worse faux citizens than the Mexicans, who are either laborers or drug criminals - the first group is a positive, and the second group should be hunted down and killed. But illegal Albanians are huge in organized crime now, the Chinese bring in thousands of girl illegals for prostitution every year, the Africans are big in the drug trade, and a large number of the MIddle Easterners and Southeast Asians are trying to set of bombs and kill short, we need to get a grip on the whole situation.

I think the big problem is that when people obsess on Mexicans, they’re missing the big picture. What Obama is going to do is use this hatred of Mexicans to create an “immigration bill” that will massively favor Muslims and people from the Third World (most of which is Muslim).

And anybody who believes he’s postponed it is too naive for words. Unfortunately, the Arizona bill gave him something that the Dems could distort and build into a wave of hysteria. None of them have read it, but that’s because it doesn’t matter what it says: the Dems have got their version out and that’s what the press is spewing. “Anti-Mexican,” “racist,” etc.

Check back with me in a few months. I’m willing to bet Bambi will have built and passed a massively pro-Muslim immigration policy before November - or that the only Republicans we are going to get in November will be the Scott Brown types, so he can do it at his leisure to make sure it’s a really destructive law.

4 posted on 05/20/2010 12:58:08 PM PDT by livius
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To: afraidfortherepublic
All things considered Mexicans are NOT anywhere near the bottom of the heap in this world. In fact, their country looks pretty good compared to the overwhelming majority of countries, and to a degree it is UNDERPOPULATED.

Jesus certainly wasn't thinking of Mexicans as being among "the least of these".

So, the question is exactly what is it that we owe the world's rich? Where does the Catholic church come down on that question?

5 posted on 05/20/2010 1:00:05 PM PDT by muawiyah ("Git Out The Way")
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To: afraidfortherepublic's with a heavy heart that I have to write one in opposition to what many of its clergy are championing: the plight of the illegal immigrant.

Related threads:
Bishop Slattery calls for secure borders, immigration reform [Tulsa, OK]
Immigration, Politics, and the Church (Ecumenic)
Cardinal: Catholics are key to achieving immigration reform [ or stopping it ]
US Catholic Latino leaders meet with Vatican officials, discuss ‘Hispanic reality’
Welcome the Stranger (Catholic theology & Church history against illegals)
Arizona immigration law shows need for reform, Archbishop Chaput writes
Bishops to the Left of Senate Dems on Immigration
Mahony blesses L.A.'s rally [pro-(illegal)immigration rally]
Jose Gomez (future LA Archbishop), champion of illegal immigrants [2005 post]
Catholic Money and Tax Dollars Finance Illegal Alien Rally
Cardinal Mahony speaks on illegal immigration
Catholic Church Facilitates Foreign Invasion
Archbishop Timothy Dolan: Immigration Reform. Here We Go Again
US Catholic Bishops Opposition To Arizona Immigration Law Leaves Many Unanswered Questions
US Catholic church attacks 'draconian' Arizona law
Pope Benedict urges bishops to work for recognition of immigrant rights
Arizona's Proposed Illegal Immigration Crackdown Akin To Nazi Tactics, Cardinal Roger Mahony Says
Hispanics increasing Catholic numbers in US, but assimilation has downside
Fewer receive sacraments
Does the American Catholic Church Have a Numbers Problem?
Denver Archbishop Supports Tuition Equity [Chaput favors extending in-state tuition to illegals]
US Catholic bishops condemn US immigration raids
Gathering calls for 'fair and humane' immigration policies [Catholic Bishops on immigration reform]
Journey to Justice: A Catholic Vision of Immigration
Catholic Church Chooses Wrong Side Again
Survey: Catholics Adapt to Culture at Cost of Committed Faith
GOP Senator: Immigration Bill's Fate Hangs in the Balance [SBC, Catholic Church support the bill]
Recognize Christ in every immigrant, bishop urges U.S. Catholics
Local Catholics celebrate diversity [Catholic "Immigration Mass" in Apple Valley, CA]
Putting faith in search for rights [Catholic "Immigration Mass" in Chicago, IL]
Praying for immigration reform [Catholic "Immigration Mass" in Los Angeles, CA]
Irish, Latino Catholics march for immigrant rights [Catholic "Immigration Mass" in San Francisco]
Catholics push for immigration reform [Catholic "Immigration Mass" in Raleigh, NC]
Catholic bishop calls deportation policies immoral
Withholding their 'amens' [Catholics object to a call for a revised immigration policy at Lent]
Denver Archdiocese Reacts To ICE Raid

6 posted on 05/20/2010 1:01:22 PM PDT by Alex Murphy (Pretentiousness is so beneath me.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
is making the liberal media's error of confusing opposition to illegal immigration with opposition to legal immigration.

It's not an error. It's a deliberate obfuscation in order to advance a specific political objective.

7 posted on 05/20/2010 1:03:42 PM PDT by RonF
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To: muawiyah
“..”the least of these”.”

He said they are blessed, He said to feed and cloth them, He did not say to encourage them to be law breakers, nor can anything He said be interpreted as such.

8 posted on 05/20/2010 1:18:16 PM PDT by elpadre (AfganistaMr Obama said the goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda" and its allies.)
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To: 1_Inch_Group; 2sheep; 2Trievers; 3AngelaD; 3pools; 3rdcanyon; 4Freedom; 4ourprogeny; 7.62 x 51mm; ..


9 posted on 05/20/2010 2:11:45 PM PDT by HiJinx (~ Illegal is a Crime, it is not a Race ~)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

In Mexico, illegal immigration is a felony, punishable by 2 years in prison. So...when are these Bishops going to start rebuking Mexico for persecuting helpless undocumented Central American refugees, who only want to do the work that Mexicans won’t do? After all, parts of Mexico used to belong to Guatemala, so it’s really their land anyway....

10 posted on 05/20/2010 5:09:13 PM PDT by Rytwyng (I'm still fond of the United States. I just can't find it. -- Fred Reed)
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