IMMIGRATION REFORM - A CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE
Or, The Good Samaritan as Immigration Reform Lobbyist
by Diane Lily.
People are being encouraged to chose sides on the hot button issue of immigration. The issue rarely addresses facts. instead appeals are made to our emotions or our fears. Interfaith groups including the US Conference of Catholic Bishops challenge the faithful to accept all immigrants regardless of country of origin. They intimate that we are prejudiced if we set limits and penalties on those who according to the Bishops statement only want to live, work, raise a family, get education and health care in the freedom and security of the US since they, presumably, can’t get that in their own countries.
In October of 2005, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops joined 174 other politically activist Catholic, Jewish, Protestant and non profit groups in an interfaith statement entitled Strangers No longer calling for a massive overhaul of immigration laws and regulations. The objective is creation of a new “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” program which will “establish a safe and humane immigration system consistent with our values. Our diverse faith traditions teach us to welcome our brother and sisters with love and compassion.” It depicts the illegal immigrant as only desiring to “come out of the shadows” and be recognized as lawful permanent residents who after six years will have the opportunity to become “United States Citizens.”
the use of two words in this statement should alert us to the true nature of the goals of their version of reform - comprehensive and humane. Comprehensive in regard to legislation always indicates a massive new government program and funding including the whole array of social services and humane indicates a large and generous give away program with no questions asked based on some nebulous understanding of compassion.
The February 20, 2006, edition of the Catholic Voice published a thinly veiled obviously professionally done article carrying the byline of Mary Doyle, social justice resource specialist for the Diocese of Oakland, entitled immigration reform - a Catholic perspective.
Following an opening couple of paragraphs intended to rub your sympathies raw by comparing an illegal clinging to the outside of a train with the figure of the crucified Christ, the article quickly becomes a
flat out promotion for federal legislation, S.1033, sponsored by Arizona Senator John McCain,(R), and Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, (D). The bill and the Interfaith statement were both issued around the same time so it’s hard to say which came first. The bill is closely patterned on the demands of the interfaith statement incorporating previously failed foreign Agriculture worker language creating a guest worker program (Title lll).
This legislation entitled Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act, has an identical House bill, HR 2330, cosponsored by Cong. Nancy Pelosi,(D-San Francisco). It would create several new layers of commissions and advisory groups comprised of government appointees, representatives from the unions, community organizations, religious and educational groups creating public/private partnerships to advise the government on the care and feeding of these guest workers while delivering an expanded array of social services and work related training programs to those who have entered our country illegally,
The interfaith statement supporting Comprehensive Immigration Reform, published October 18, 2005, entitled “Strangers No More.” is co-signed by 175 different religious, social, health and service groups and individuals including some aggressive street activist types such as the Gamaliel National Clergy Caucus Leadership council closely allied with the PICO groups within our two counties of Alameda and Contra Costa. It calls for the following reforms to encourage “hard-working immigrants to “come out of the shadows.” presumably into which they were thrust by our harsh, inhumane immigration laws by:
1 Legalization of the undocumented regardless of country of origin.
2. Speeding up family reunification for entire families.
3. Creation of a temporary worker program with appropriate worker protections
4. Restoration of due process protections for immigrants.
5. Partnerships for Prosperity. Bilateral international programs and policies which impact the root causes of migration.
the article neglects to inform the reader that there are at least three other immigration bills in congress awaiting action, HR 4437, which already passed the House awaiting Senate action (vehemently opposed by the Catholic Conference) and another bill by Arlen Specter (R-Pa) that has no bill number or title as of yet but which also creates a very generous guest worker program.
The article also fails to inform the reader that there is a very strong and legitimate sentiment within our country of opposition to furthering the cause of illegal aliens numbers usa”
Cardinal Roger Mahoney has made headlines recently by stating publicly that he intends to defy any laws restricting aiding illegals already in this country and he encourages others to do the same. Section 1106 Volunteers at the end of the legislation states that:
It is not a violation of clauses (ii), (iii), or (iv) of subparagraph (A) for a religious denomination described in section 101(a)(27)(C)(i) or an affiliated religious organization described in section 101(a)(27)(C)(ii)(III), or their agents or officers, to encourage, invite, call, allow, or enable an alien, who is already present in the United States in violation of law to carry on the violation described in section 101(a)(27)(C)(ii)(I), as a volunteer who is not compensated as an employee, notwithstanding the provision of room, board, travel, and other basic living expenses.
Apparently Cardinal Mahoney believes that he is above the law and Senators Kennedy and McCain are encouraging him in this regard. Why is it that in the eyes of so-called social do gooders it is okay to defy the law when it comes to expansion of governmental programs and funding and not good when it comes to limiting government involvement and funding such as in parental consent legislation or abortion funding?