Migration and the Limits of Charity

A reader with the name of Meunke asks:

I’m really confused about this immigration question. I can understand how many want to assist the suffering of others who are seeking a better life. As a Catholic myself, I can’t helped but be moved to pity at the plight of these people, particularly the children.

Then again, I can’t quite get behind the idea of many that, if we are to be truly generous, we should make no attempt whatsoever to prevent or slow ANYONE who wants to come to the US by any means, in short, simply pretending that we have no borders at all, or if they exist, they are meaningless.

The latter seems particularly dangerous to me. Most of these immigrants don’t come here to be US citizens, they come here to earn some money for a better life of some kind. This of course matters a LOT, particularly if you don’t have any money and no real way of getting any in your own country. Most have family they are trying to support back in their home countries. Just stop by any place that does Western Union transfers on payday and see. These people (again, yes, exceptions can be found) don’t want to ‘become American’. How this shakes out is that you have large and growing sections of population that don’t really share much in common with the rest of the country. I personally have never automatically believed that ‘diversity is strength’. If that were always so, then Kosovo, northern Ireland, Syria, etc would all be havens of solidarity. Maybe things will work out great. I sincerely hope so.

So, directly to my question: What is someone like myself to think of this immigration issue? I know very well that what one’s government wants is NOT always in accord with what we as Catholics must do. We MUST feed the hungry, clothe the naked as they are made in the image and likeness of God. Does this mean we must NEVER turn away anyone away. Must we abandon any borders or control to do this?

My reply:

Allow me in answer directly to quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which contains teachings on social justice conservatives find distasteful:


V. Justice and Solidarity Among Nations

2437 On the international level, inequality of resources and economic capability is such that it creates a real “gap” between nations. On the one side there are those nations possessing and developing the means of growth and, on the other, those accumulating debts.

2438 Various causes of a religious, political, economic, and financial nature today give “the social question a worldwide dimension.” There must be solidarity among nations which are already politically interdependent. It is even more essential when it is a question of dismantling the “perverse mechanisms” that impede the development of the less advanced countries. In place of abusive if not usurious financial systems, iniquitous commercial relations among nations, and the arms race, there must be substituted a common effort to mobilize resources toward objectives of moral, cultural, and economic development, “redefining the priorities and hierarchies of values.”

2439 Rich nations have a grave moral responsibility toward those which are unable to ensure the means of their development by themselves or have been prevented from doing so by tragic historical events. It is a duty in solidarity and charity; it is also an obligation in justice if the prosperity of the rich nations has come from resources that have not been paid for fairly.

2440 Direct aid is an appropriate response to immediate, extraordinary needs caused by natural catastrophes, epidemics, and the like. But it does not suffice to repair the grave damage resulting from destitution or to provide a lasting solution to a country’s needs. It is also necessary to reform international economic and financial institutions so that they will better promote equitable relationships with less advanced countries. The efforts of poor countries working for growth and liberation must be supported. This doctrine must be applied especially in the area of agricultural labor. Peasants, especially in the Third World, form the overwhelming majority of the poor.

2441 An increased sense of God and increased self-awareness are fundamental to any full development of human society. This development multiplies material goods and puts them at the service of the person and his freedom. It reduces dire poverty and economic exploitation. It makes for growth in respect for cultural identities and openness to the transcendent.

2442 It is not the role of the Pastors of the Church to intervene directly in the political structuring and organization of social life. This task is part of the vocation of the lay faithful, acting on their own initiative with their fellow citizens. Social action can assume various concrete forms. It should always have the common good in view and be in conformity with the message of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church. It is the role of the laity “to animate temporal realities with Christian commitment, by which they show that they are witnesses and agents of peace and justice.”

 

***

My comment:

Likewise with this teaching that the rich nations must help aid the poor nations and reform institutions that sustain that poverty, so too the rich nations have an obligation absorb a reasonable amount of immigrants who wish to come here and become Americans, speak our language, adopt our culture, and vow on their lives to defend our Constitution.

I do not read the Catholic teaching as a suicide pact saying rich nations must welcome hostile populations in limitless numbers from poor nations bent on fundamentally transforming or abolishing the institutions which make us Americans, suckling on the public teat, and aiding the growth of the World Caliphate or (what is much the same thing) the Democrat Party.

The Good Book says we must care for widows and orphans and the stranger.

It does not say that if a countless number of, let us say, Babylonians, want to move into Jerusalem and outnumber and displace the current population, that this is the purpose and pleasure of the Almighty.

We Christians are supposed to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. That means we help the poor until it hurts, but it does not meant that we set ourselves up to be chumps for con men. If you don’t know whether the bum on the streetcorner panhandling is going to spend your money on drink, don’t give him money. Call him by name, walk with him across the street, and buy him a meal at a burger joint. It takes more time and effort and more love, but that is how you act charitably without being a chump.

The difficulty is learning how, with caution and discretion, to find the solid ground between these two evil extremes.

If our nation wants to have an open border with a nation who also has an open border with us, so that people may move freely back and forth, if we are convinced that the partner nation has a population which carries no communicable diseases, and has laws similar to ours, and the people coming will adhere to our language and our cultural norms, I have no objection to that.

If our nation, on the other hand, in order to avoid the drawbacks of minimum wage laws and socialist policies that create unemployment, our elite wish to import cheap labor and Dem voters, where the laborers can be treated like slaves in that they can be turned over to the border patrol if they cause trouble for their employers, this is both an evil according to the laws of men, and a hypocrisy, and an evil according to the laws of God.

Such laws are antilaws; they are in direct opposition of the purpose laws are supposed to serve. They are laws meant to punish those who follow them and reward those who break them. The solution there is to abolish the minimum wage (for noncitizens if not altogether) and issue some sort of worker’s permit for migrants, and severely punish employers who overstep those bounds.

The current so-called crisis was created by the Obama administration the same way the gunrunning crisis in Mexico was created by ‘Fast and Furious’. There is no famine and no plague in Central America. The illegal aliens are coming in droves because they have been told that this administration will not deport anyone here illegally. They were encouraged to come and told to come.

There is a law in place since the Bush Administration that requires minors being brought across the national boundaries to be detained for a time if there is a credible suspicion that the child is being used as a sex slave. The operant provision reads, in part:

Upon receiving credible information that a child described in subparagraph (C)(ii)(I) who is seeking assistance under this paragraph may have been subjected to a severe form of trafficking in persons, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall promptly determine if the child is eligible for interim assistance under this paragraph. The Secretary shall have exclusive authority to make interim eligibility determinations under this clause. A determination of interim eligibility under this clause shall not affect the independent determination whether a child is a victim of a severe form of trafficking.

Any child coming over the border, legally or not, who falls under the provision of this law must be detained while his eligibility for interim stay is examined. This law does not apply to the vast majority of cases under consideration here.

As for the rest, the law which prevents the free movement of peoples across national borders is neither unjust nor heartless, but absolutely necessary for this or any nation to maintain its sovereignty. That said, there are current provisions in our laws to allow persons to enter the country if they are fleeing political oppression, and certain other hardship cases.

The current laws are wise and fair and easily in keeping with Catholic social teaching. The problem is that these laws are not being enforced, and this encourages trespassers to come across the border, secure in the knowledge that they will not be sent back. This creates an incentive to encourage more to come, who are not welcome.

We can have a welfare state, or we can have low immigration barriers, but we cannot have both.

Now, the current law does not have a working bureaucracy to enforce it. The Naturalization and Immigration Service does not keep proper records and does not enforce the laws we have.

That said, we cannot, as Christians, merely let the children starve. Each man personally should feed and cloth one or more of them for the amount of time it takes to locate their parents and send them home. The Catholic Social teaching does not forbid the government from exacting taxes to pay for some of this charity work, albeit we Christians get no spiritual benefit from that. However, as a practical matter, we have to care take of them in such a way that it does not create an incentive for more lawlessness.

The idea of allowing anyone in any numbers across our borders to receive free food, clothing, housing, education and medical care in not in keeping with Catholic teaching, or with reality.

At the moment, whether or not this administration created the crisis artificially, we must take care of them until they can be shipped home.

We need to abolish the current Naturalization service and hang its leaders from lamp posts, and create a new bureaucracy that will actually do the job they are hired to do. We can fund them with the money we will save when we abolish the IRS and Department of Education and Department of Energy and every other unconstitutional bureaucracy. Placing the national guard on the border and allowing the immigrants to enter according to normal legal channels will act as an interim solution.

The current immigration law, with its emphasis on bringing in family members and assigning citizenship to anchor babies needs to be reformed dramatically, and laws akin to what we had in the 1960s and 1970s would be more reasonable, namely, asking for educated and skilled workers to enter. English must be made the national language, and immigrants required to learn it to conduct legal transactions here.

During wartime, no one suspected of being exposed to Jihadist training or sympathies should be allowed to enter the country. Even if we had an open borders policy as a matter of law, during wartime, we would have to secure the borders to weed out enemy agents attempting to enter the country to do us harm.

In the broadest terms, this general problem will not be solved until the Welfare state is dismantled. The welfare state is counterproductive, as it creates more poverty than it cures. It is not sign of sympathy to the poor to set taxfunded paymaster over them.

The less welfare we have, the more immigrants we can absorb, and this will benefit them and benefit us.

83 Comments

  1. Comment by Mary:

    One notes that the number of immigrants appear to indicate we have a nice thing going here.

    Our first duty is therefore to ensure its preservation so that natives and current and future immigrants can enjoy it.

    • Comment by ConceptJunkie:

      Although the question approaches the immigration issue in terms of charity and our duty as Christians to help out the less fortunate, and this is an important question, but it is completely orthogonal to what’s actually happening.

      The real problem is that the United States immigration policy is being driven entirely by politics and in no meaningful way by concern for the actual people who wish to immigrate to the United States. The policy considerations are especially hostile to the rule of law and the rights of the actual citizens of this country.

      This issue has been kicked down the road, like most tough issues in U.S. politics, for decades. Ted Kennedy promised, when the 1986 amnesty was passed, that the border would be secured and we wouldn’t have to deal with this problem again. Clearly that hasn’t happened and I doubt if that was ever the intent. We go through this charade every few years, where the Republicans demand any changes to the law be predicated on fixing border security, and the law gets changes, but the border security never improves in any meaningful way.

      While the laws surrounding immigration issue has always been one that have been fairly quietly ignored, the current administration is brazenly flouting the law, and bragging about it, while a supine Congress wrings their hands, but does nothing. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court seems to think the only thing that could possibly rise to the level of violating the Constitution is preventing two people of the same sex calling themselves “married”. Other than that, pretty much anything goes.

      Harry Reid claims “without fear of contradiction” that the border is secure, and for that reason alone I would hold every Nevada voter who voted for him guilty of having nothing but utter contempt for this country, for honesty, and common sense in general.

      Why would anyone tolerate this kind of nonsense? It would be no more shocking for people like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to declare the sky is red with green polka dots than what comes out of their mouths on any given day, and the fact that anyone outside of an asylum would support either one of them or the many others like them (including some on the Republican side, except the press tends to call them out immediately) show that the level of cognitive dissonance, or pure cynicism, in the average U.S. voter is beyond the debilitating level.

      Until we reach a point where the motivation of anyone involved in the policy decisions has any other goal than scoring political points, the only thing a thoughtful citizen should be trying to do is VOTE THE BUMS OUT.

  2. Comment by sparrow:

    We have an obligation to charity certainly, but charity is only authentic if it’s voluntary. This uncontrolled open access is not the same thing. I think our laws are overly complex and that we should be more open to a degree, but that degree must be debated and chosen by the proper authority. Now it’s forced on us through the deliberate lack of law enforcement. Beyond our legal requirements as citizens, as Catholics we have an obligation to God to help the poor personally. Ideally that means face to face. Social justice mediated by caring individuals fosters gratitude in the recipient and compassion in the giver. By contrast, a laws or a crisis imposed from on high that redistributes wealth through force fosters a sense of entitlement in the recipient and resentment from the taxpayer. Some of the greatest evils are distorted goods. So welfare, meaning government largesse, can become a distortion of charity manipulated by those in power to stay in power. Remember that old joke: whoever robs Peter to pay Paul can count on Paul’s support.

    There’s a world of difference between asking for assistance and demanding it. I want to be generous as possible but this lawless, untethered crisis tests the limits. I’m open to hearing other ideas on this – I think there is room for debate here and I’m no expert on Catholic social teaching.

    David

  3. Comment by ConceptJunkie:

    I have always said as long as I can remember that it’s very simple: enforce the border and increase legal immigration. Really, what is so hard about that?

    Why must we continue with this decades-long charade that makes a mockery of the rule of law? The conservatives have been insisting for decades that they would agree to immigration reform if enforcement of the borders is secured and maintained first, and every time that’s happened, the Federal government has reneged on its promise to secure the borders. Presidents, both Democrat and Republican barely give lip-service to the idea, leave alone do anything about it.

    The extremely cynical way the current administration is exploiting the current crisis, which it helped precipitate, is sickening, and yet half the country (give or take) doesn’t care, or is too stupid or distracted to understand. I’m all for the reiteration of the fact that we are “nation of immigrants”, but before that, and more important than that, we are a “nation of laws”. Without the rule of law, which we are quickly abandoning for every possible bad reason, all we will have is corruption and anarchy, and it’s going to escalate quickly.

    There’s no reason we cannot dedicate the resources necessary to let honest migrants, who are just looking to work for themselves and their families, in while keeping out the criminals, the gangs and the diseases. This is the charitable thing to do. The President has been forcing an ugly confrontation with the southern border governors like Perry and Brewer, for years and is now literally taunting his political opponents about it. Meanwhile, the GOP wrings their hands because they know impeachment would be a waste of time, especially when to half to country the ends always justify the means. The President and his besotted supporters are completely indifferent to the children being found drowned in the Rio Grande, dead in the desert or lost to crime or the sex trade. They are nothing more than pawns for the Left to use to score political points.

    This isn’t government with the consent of the governed, and it isn’t helping the country or the people being lured in because of our government’s dereliction of its duty. This nothing short of deliberate undermining of the security of the Republic, of its laws and of the health and safety of its citizens.

    Do we have to wait for an epidemic of TB or MRSA, or God forbid, a WMD strike in Phoenix or El Paso before we can start reining this lawlessness in? I’m afraid we will. I’m afraid the only thing that will stop the insanity being wrought by the idiot electorate and their corrupt leaders will be real pain, real suffering on a scale that the U.S. hasn’t seen in nearly 100 years, if ever. Only then will people maybe start to realize how foolish they have been.

    • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

      “enforce the border and increase legal immigration. Really, what is so hard about that?”. Well, both parts are quite hard, actually. We have, on the border side of the equation, thousands of miles of border to walk across, as well as, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of ports accessible to the open sea. The Soviets couldn’t stop people from going over the ninety odd miles of the Berlin Wall, and they had people willing to murder to enforce it, something we are still not willing to do, as seen in that little dust up in Montana.

      Then on the “Increase Legal Immigration” side of the equation there is the aforementioned INS/ICE/Whatever they are calling themselves today. It can take over twenty years, and over $20,000 in “fees” and various other payments to become a legal immigrate. I wouldn’t put up with that, and despite the example of Clinton and other Democrats, you shouldn’t pass laws or regulations you would find unjust if applied to you, yes? “Equal protection under the Law”, shouldn’t just apply to enemies who took up arms against America, I would think. Then there is the odd fact that the INS/ICE/Whatever has shown itself able to act quickly, when it comes to Arabs who need visas so that they may crash our planes into building, as well as Russian Spies. As Mr. Wright said in the Primary post, those clowns need to be hung, and their buildings burnt to the ground, which will be salted. Until that happens, many very clever and motivated people will be coming to the “Shining City on the Hill”, without papers…..

      • Comment by ConceptJunkie:

        No they aren’t hard. They aren’t completely easy, but they definitely aren’t hard. There just has been no political will to accomplish them and lots to be gained from the cynical and corrupt by keeping the system broken .

        If we can put a supercomputer with high-speed telecommunications capability, access to global satellite positioning, various media capabilities and sensors, basically a Star Trek tricorder minus the made-up physics… into the pockets of almost everyone in the country, then it should be possible for the government to figure out how to screen and process an applicant for entry into the country with less paperwork and effort than it took to complete the Louisiana Purchase.

        There are thousands of miles of border? The Chinese built a 1500-mile wall thousands of years ago, and we have a little more technology available to us these days.

        We have literally dug a canal through a continent, dammed up rivers, brought mountains low and raised valleys. We smash atoms to power our XBoxes. We tease our cats with lasers and heat our Hot Pockets with microwaves. We harness quantum mechanics to look at pictures of Yvonne Craig. We have cars that can drive themselves. Any one of us can communicate with a significant number of the people in the world in real time for negligible cost. I could find a satellite image of your backyard in about 3 minutes if I knew your name and enough to uniquely identify you. My phone tells me traffic conditions for my daily commute in real time, and I never had to tell it where I work or live. I’ll read about a new book while eating lunch at work, buy it and read the first chapter on my tablet without leaving my seat (Amazon is proving very dangerous for me).

        So I don’t buy that keeping the monthly number of people entering this country under the size of a small town needs to be “hard”. I don’t buy that we can’t screen these folks to find obvious criminals, communicable diseases or other problems with much more manpower and paperwork than it took our employers to do the same for you and me.

  4. Comment by The OFloinn:

    Most of these immigrants don’t come here to be US citizens, they come here to earn some money for a better life of some kind. This of course matters a LOT, particularly if you don’t have any money and no real way of getting any in your own country. Most have family they are trying to support back in their home countries.

    But this describes a substantial number of those in the Great Immigration of the 1880s-1920s, before the immigration door was slammed shut because too many non-Nordics were getting in. About one-third of all the immigrants of that era went home. (And going home was more onerous in that era than today; so the proportion would have likely been higher.) All of them sent money home. Then there were those who could not or dared not go home.

    My grandfather’s grandmother, Anne Elizabeth Lynch, was the daughter of Lynch of Bannalynch in Co. Waterford. She was born in Burlington VT, “two days after her parents arrived in America.” A quick check of geography reveals that in 1846 Burlington wasn’t no two days from no seaport; and a quick check of history reveals the clandestine smuggling of Irish Catholics by steamboat across Lake Champlain during the Know Nothing era.

    The Germans who came after the ’48, my mother’s Volk, kept their own language, built their own German RC church, ran German newspapers, and in general spooked the turkey herd with the idea that they would subvert the entire English Protestant Nation with their German beer-swilling Catholicism. There is a cartoon of that era showing a caricature German in lederhosen with the body of a keg and an Irishman with the body of a whiskey-bottle running off with a ballot box between them while the Real Americans look on with dismay. In Northampton Co, PA, for the school year ending 1 June 1858 only 1318 students out of 9004 spoke English only; 3149 spoke English & German; and 4537 (50%) spoke German only.

    The Republic was clearly doomed to drown in a sea of Papists, who could never grasp the principles of republican democracy in their priest-ridden souls.

    Or not.

    • Comment by ConceptJunkie:

      The thing is, even if people want to come here to work and send money home, that’s still a net gain for the Republic if they are actually working and doing so above-board. Let’s set aside for the moment that the allure of hiring illegals is that they will participate in the underground economy and escape the taxes, etc., but even if most of the money is going back home, there are (or should be) some taxes going into the coffers and constructive work being done.

      Nowadays, I’m sure there is a significant number of people who think they can just show up and go on the dole because everything we do with respect to the “welfare state” eases and encourages gaming the system.

      No one in the 19th century was going on the Federal dole because there was wasn’t any. If they needed help, there were other more effective ways to get it (Fr. McGivney, call your office) and that’s exactly how things were supposed to work. And if people wanted to maintain their own cultures and languages, that was fine, because they still had to assimilate to function in society. There were enclaves for all the different regions people came from, and sometimes even race problems, but you couldn’t waste all your time sitting around hating the Irish or Germans or Chinese or Coloreds all day long because you had to go do some work at some point. There was more to do that sit around drinking with the Know-Nothings or the KKK 24/7 and inventing new ways to lynch people… but today the MS-13, etc., types are doing just that.

      Now when the average twenty-something is still living with Mommy and Daddy (disclaimer: I did for about 6 months after college) and 30 is becoming the new 22, we are allowing millions of people to flow into a system that is already much worse off for the people trying to pull themselves up by their bootstraps than it was a couple decades ago. It’s only reasonable to conclude that this will cause a negative feedback loop and make things worse for everyone. [major sarcasm] On the plus side, when people under 30 have a 50% unemployment rate, there probably won’t be as many illegals wanting to come in.

      Oh, and speaking of that sea of Papists… did you know McDonald’s came out with the “Hula burger” to sell on Fridays back before the 60s? It was a slice of fried pineapple on a bun. Yum.

    • Comment by Nate Winchester:

      I think, however, you are missing a critical step between the great influx of germans and now. Vox likes to point out that a lot of immigration proponents seem to have this theory that just relocating people will cause their beliefs to change. As it reads it’s almost like you’re demonstrating Vox’s critique: If people just show up in our land, they’ll magically become citizens! C’mon Mike, I know you’re better than that with arguments. 3 problems with your analysis I note: 1) What was the birth rates of the two demographics? I haven’t checked yet but I’m willing to bet the native americans (note: I refer to “indians” as “1st americans” so this would be “people born & raised in america) had a birth rate close to equal to the immigrants. 2) The flow of immigrants were, eventually, stopped. Meaning that pressure to assimilate into the host country was increased. What sign do you see of anything remotely like that happening with Mexico when much of our nation is accommodating their culture? 3) Cultures then and now were a lot different. Let’s face it, the self-hating, self-loathing, suicide wish of the nation’s culture wasn’t as prevalent back then that I’ve ever seen signs of. I mean where was the germans organization back then CALLING itself “the Race”? Or the germans complaining about the land America stole from them?

      The Republic was clearly doomed to drown in a sea of Papists, who could never grasp the principles of republican democracy in their priest-ridden souls.

      Considering nancy Pelosi and a few others… one wonders if that many Catholics did grasp the principles of republican democracy. (esp on the internet: you, John, Dave G and the American Catholic seem to be the exception) Maybe back then they were onto something.

      • Comment by The OFloinn:

        One interesting factoid: the greatest resistance to bilingual education came from Hispanic mothers.

        The usual pattern with immigrant waves is that the first generation speaks auf deutsch (or whatever); their children are bilingual; their grandchildren speak English. If there is any problem with that today it is not with the immigrants as a whole, but with the elite culture, which sneers at the Melting Pot concept and tries to keep mascot groups marginalized so that they remain dependent on their padrones.

        “For the hate they had taught through the State brought the State no defender,
        And it passed from the roll of the Nations in headlong surrender!”
        — Kipling, “The City of Brass”

        • Comment by The Deuce:

          It has to do with the amount of immigrants. The immigrants have to be assimilated into a new culture, not simply a new landmass, for the melting pot thing to work at all. If you were to simply relocate the entire population of Mexico into Houston, you wouldn’t suddenly get a bunch of Americans. You’d just have Mexico in the landmass formerly known as Houston. There’d be no more reason for them to learn English, or adopt any American principles, than there is for them to do so in Mexico, since their whole country would be right there. If there are enough immigrants to create balkanization, then balkanization you shall have. The immigrants have to see themselves as joining a different culture rather than supplanting it.

          Of course, the culture in question has to have enough confidence in itself to consider itself worth joining, and to pressure the immigrants to do so. It’s sort of a Catch-22 though. It’s a pretty sure sign of widespread cultural self-loathing for their to be mass unrestricted immigration in the first place.

  5. Comment by simplemind:

    Charity is personal it does not come by law. Paying taxes isn’t charity. Politics is not religion. If you want to help the poor in other countries do so. There is not a moral obligation to change immigration laws on a voter because you as a citizen derive no moral benefit from your country’s immigration laws. Immigration, well regulated and legal is useful to the country and always has been. It should continue in this way, not a reckless flood of children thrown to the wolves in the hopes of later getting a whole family amnesty. That’s insane and God help the parents that do this to their children.
    Voting for a politician or party because you think they will act in a moral way is I suppose a nice gesture, but that’s all it is . . .a gesture. Don’t get bamboozled. This business is out of control and innocents are dying. Dying for politics/power. And 52% of the country voted for what they were convinced was a more morally upright candidate/party – right?

    • Comment by ConceptJunkie:

      There is not a moral obligation to change immigration laws on a voter because you as a citizen derive no moral benefit from your country’s immigration laws.

      I don’t think that’s entirely true. If you have a choice between voting for someone who would round up all the illegals with truncheons and tear gas and deport them with extreme prejudice, as opposed to someone who would secure the border and offer entry to a reasonable amount (as many as possible) immigrants, while screening for criminals, etc. and you choose the pro-immigration candidate, that’s a moral decision, and there’s a moral benefit from supporting doing the right thing. Of course, as citizens, we don’t really have that choice, but my example is contrived for clarity.

      I think the fatalist attitude that no matter who you vote for it won’t make a difference isn’t healthy one, even though I think it’s pretty much correct. However, if it’s really not possible to elect politicians that will behave in a reasonable and moral fashion, then it’s time to end the experiment and try something new. As it is, I think there’s still hope that we can reform what we’ve got before it’s too late. The biggest problem isn’t corrupt politicians, but an ignorant and gullible citizenry, and that can be fixed.

      The odds are long and the enemies are legion, but hey, we’re the good guys.

  6. Comment by sator:

    Obviously my country is now taking the next step in suicidal liberalism: since immigrants come here by boat, and it would be inhumane to let them sink in the mediterranean with their sad excuses for ships, we launched a whole military operation to save as much of them as possible. The obviously result was that criminals started cramming their ships even more and being even more cheap in regards of their “security measures”, because Who cares if we sink the italian navy is there to save us!
    Illegal immigration went up of 800% in a few months and the deaths by sea grew exponentialy. We could have invensted in internationaly run relief camps in lybia but NOOO that’s the FASCIST thing to do! It’s so FASCIST of you to even think about it!

  7. Comment by dangerdad:

    I don’t know any conservatives who would react to this as distasteful “teachings on social justice”, with the possible exception of:

    “2439 Rich nations …” to read “2439 People of rich nations …”, that is the responsibility is incumbent on the individuals. However, It’s reasonable to interpret the statement as already meaning that, given 2442.

    It’s true that in the current climate, a lot of traditional conservatives are frustrated, and in the “nuke ‘em all” mindset, but philosophically I don’t see an objection.

    • Comment by Mary:

      Ah, but should we assume that by “rich nations” is meant “governments of rich nations”? That would concede ground that shouldn’t be conceded.

      • Comment by The Deuce:

        Indeed. This part would seem to imply that rich nations’ governments throwing money at poor nations is specifically NOT what’s being talked about in the main, except temporarily after catastrophes:

        Direct aid is an appropriate response to immediate, extraordinary needs caused by natural catastrophes, epidemics, and the like. But it does not suffice to repair the grave damage resulting from destitution or to provide a lasting solution to a country’s needs.

  8. Comment by SMM:

    Thank you for posting the Catechism on this: It is a difficult pill for me. Nonetheless, your comments on the Catechism are what strikes home with me. There is no virtue in aiding lawlessness. Plain and simple, these “immigrants” are illegal. We must treat criminals humanely, but to encourage the illegal action is abetting the criminality. It really discourages the legal immigration we want and which furthers most of the ideals espoused by the Catechism.

    As said above, “God help the parents that (sic) do this to their children.”

    As TOF points out, a full third of immigrants were turned away in 1848. This was a different time. A period with vast areas of open land and vastly fewer laws. Interestingly, it was the year the CA gold rush (immigration?) started which dramatically altered the complexion of CA away from the more Spanish culture.

    Immigration has commonly been a way to “drown the Republic (a culture) in a sea of Papists (name your group). This can be something to be feared (e.g. Sons of Jacob told not to marry Canaanites because THEIR allegiance was being changed, not vice versa). Legal immigrants go through a naturalization ceremony in which allegiance (seeming greater than that required of those in political office) is pledged to the USA. We need to further this naturalization. Mr. Wright gives a few key ways to begin doing so including enforcing a border and revamping INS. In the meanwhile, we need to care for those at our doorstep so we can help those to whom we are returning them.

    • Comment by The OFloinn:

      Amendment: One-third of the immigrants arriving in the heyday of 1880-1920 returned home on their own because they never intended to become US citizens, but were only seeking economic opportunities unavailable in Italy and elsewhere.

      In 1845, interestingly enough, there were no immigration laws to violate. The animus against the Irish and Germans was entirely social and did not have the fig-leaf of “illegal.” It was “undesired” immigrants, pure and simple.

      • Comment by Rainforest Giant:

        Hmm, you make it sound like the desire to control our own nation’s borders is illegitimate. By using the word animus one would almost think that you were accusing people who believed the whole open border and endless streams of illegal aliens to be a bad thing as being bigots. That couldn’t be the case could it?

        The illegal immigrants are illegal because even our opponents have to acknowledge than open borders will ruin a society like ours. It is the permanent lowering of our nation’s wages for the low to mid-skilled worker that concerns folks. It is the impossible strain/drain on our social services that worries us. It is the proliferation of crime, fraud, and illegal voting that worries us.

        But I guess we just have some kind of irrational ‘animus’ against these migrants good thing we have the ‘fig leaf’ of calling the illegal immigrants illegal. Otherwise we would simply have to reconcile ourselves to living in Mexico-North and enjoy the inevitable.

        That doesn’t even include any of the horror stories you can find if you dig. You have your home overrun by gang members/drug mules/drug dealers and the occasional wife/girlfriend and tell me how you would enjoy it. You have the murder rate of your tiny community go from zero in twenty years to five in ten years (that doesn’t include the suspicious suicides) and get back with me. When your wife sees on more than one occasion gang members fighting with machetes or chasing someone down the street tell me how you would enjoy that. Here’s my kicker a drug dealer running from the police jumped the fence at my granddaughter’s birth day party with a knife in his hands. My daughter was closest and intercepted him as he ran for the little children. It was only a matter of a couple seconds but she received injuries that nearly killed her and her unborn child.

        My son and I grabbed the man, disarmed him and held him for the police. He was deported with no assault charges filed against him. The officers told us privately they were directed to file no charges in cases like this simply deport the criminal.

        Now did your Irish and German family engage in these kinds of activities? The worst part is is you’ll simply dismiss me as a bigot instead of reexamining your support for the unsupportable without knowing anything about me or my family. You don’t know how many people I’ve fed and clothed because it was the right thing to do. You don’t know how many homeless I have let live with me or children I’ve taken in but you lump people who want a controlled border in with bigots without fig leafs to hide their animus.

        • Comment by Nate Winchester:

          Sheath your sword, RFG, Mike up there is actually conservative so I don’t think he’s calling you a bigot, but he does enjoy interjecting historical perspectives and facts into discussions (he’s not at all like Shea).

          I hope your unborn grandchild survived to see the light of day. (and I’m very impressed you let the guy walk out of your property alive – you’re a better & more merciful man than I)

          • Comment by Rainforest Giant:

            My daughter and grandson are fine and healthy. She might have trouble with more children but she’s going to risk it after her most recent surgery heals.

            To Mr Flynn,

            If I came off as too angry I apologize. That was not my intent. And I was angry, I should do better than that.

            • Comment by Nate Winchester:

              Congrats man, I’m glad you and yours are fine. :)

              Though I will point out there are times to be angry (just watch out for friendly fire). I get you, though. Some commentators out there seem to forget that there are real people being really affected by these policies and it’s not just “bigotry”.

        • Comment by The OFloinn:

          open borders will ruin a society like ours. It is the permanent lowering of our nation’s wages for the low to mid-skilled worker that concerns folks. It is the impossible strain/drain on our social services that worries us. It is the proliferation of crime, fraud, and illegal voting that worries us.

          The same arguments were deployed in the 1840s. The main difference being that there were fewer social services, and those were locally (and often privately) provided.
          Crime skyrocketed with the Irish. The murder rate in Cleveland, e.g., quintupled; and gangs like the Dead Rabbits, the Daybreakers, the Forty Thieves, et al. proliferated. The Italians likewise brought crime with them. I don’t know any specifically German gangs; but there were certainly free-lance German criminals. However, as is the case today, most Irish, Italian, Jewish,… immigrants. simply wanted to live better lives. The Real Americans used the criminal element to stereotype the immigrants.

          Most of the crime hereabout is not committed by immigrants, except for immigrants from New York City, most of whom are US citizens.

          @Rainforest: I know nothing about you, and said nothing about you.

          • Comment by Rainforest Giant:

            My apology still stands you did not say anything, I was simply angry.

            Yes the same argument was made at the time and we eventually closed the border. And it worked. We were able to assimilate the immigrants. Currently there is no reason to assimilate, no reason to feel loyal to this nation, no reason to give up their former allegiance and no sign they will assimilate to our Republic’s norms. Given a secure border, time, and ending the merry-go-round at the border might allow all that to happen so why not close the border today?

          • Comment by Mary:

            Those arguments were part of the assimilation. Nothing like having people giving you an eye and wondering whether you can be American to make you show off that yes you can.

          • Comment by The Deuce:

            The same arguments were deployed in the 1840s.

            Were those arguments actually wrong though? Imo, assimilation happened to the extent that it did largely because those arguments ended up being heeded.

            Crime skyrocketed with the Irish. The murder rate in Cleveland, e.g., quintupled; and gangs like the Dead Rabbits, the Daybreakers, the Forty Thieves, et al. proliferated. The Italians likewise brought crime with them.

            That suggests to me that either immigration should have been shut off earlier than it was, or it should have been kept at a slower rate in the first place. Sure, the Irish and Italians mostly reformed in the end (there’s still the mafias), but in the meantime, those were real citizens that were murdered and subjected to gang violence, and a government’s *primary* responsibility is to its citizens. Are people now supposed to accept that they and their families are going to be subjected to a big increase in murder, rape, and gang violence, on the hope that maybe history will repeat itself if the right things happen, such that their children’s children’s children won’t be?

            • Comment by The OFloinn:

              Yeah, send them Papist mackerel-snappers back where they came from! But this overlooks the fact that the majority of the Irish were entirely law-abiding and pretty much staffed the police and fire departments of the big cities, built the railroads, and so forth.
              It also overlooks the fact that the victims of most ethnic crime are in their own communities.

              • Comment by The Deuce:

                I don’t think it overlooks it. Yes, the fact that the murder rate quintupled in Cleveland didn’t mean that the large majority of Irish weren’t law-abiding, but by that same token, the fact that the large majority of Irish were law-abiding doesn’t mean that the murder rate in Cleveland didn’t quintuple.

                Certainly there was a fair amount of bigotry and spurious reasons for shunning Irish people, but not liking it when your city is overrun by gangs and the murder rate spikes way up isn’t one of them.

                It’s easy to look back now, since things mostly worked out in the end, and say that therefore there was no problem, but I don’t think that “Your cities will be overrun by gangs and your murder rate will go through the roof, but it probably won’t be permanent” is exactly a model of a successful immigration policy. I certainly don’t think most Americans would be on board with it if they were told that upfront. I think a sensible immigration policy aims to keep things at a level so that that sort of thing doesn’t happen in the first place, and people are assimilated as they come.

  9. Comment by Rainforest Giant:

    It hardly matters if we do not close the borders. In ten years we will have a permanent Democratic majority. A one party socialist nation.

    I know the illegals vote now. I know they register to vote. I know they are encouraged to register. Government services like welfare and the DMV are required to offer them the opportunity to register without seeing any proof they are eligible. I asked the DMV person once why she had registered our community’s most notorious illegal alien (he was regularly featured in our newspaper being arrested and deported for drug dealing etc) and she said she had to let him register. He had signed the affidavit saying he was eligible to vote and she wasn’t allowed to challenge it or to report it in any way. So this well known drug dealer illegal alien used to receive jury notices and taunt me with them (I was a police officer). I reported the violation to everyone and anyone and all the agencies refused to do anything about it.

    Not only do they not know how many register to vote when encouraged at the welfare office and DMV but they do not want to know. Close the border now. Assimilate those aliens here legally deport the illegal ones and maybe we might get our republic back. Otherwise enjoy the inevitable.

  10. Comment by HMSLion:

    Given the numbers of unskilled immigrants the United States has taken in, it’s clearly time to seal the southern border and repatriate the illegals. Then take a break and teach the legal immigrants how to be Americans.

    Ultimately, Latin America must fix its own problems. There’s no excuse for any country in the Western Hemisphere to be poor. But incompetent, dishonest government can impoverish people living in the midst of plenty.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      Yours is a perfectly reasonable attitude, but Christians are required at the peril of our souls to help the poor and weak and miserable, even if they are poor and weak and miserable because they have bad governments.

      • Comment by Nate Winchester:

        But I wonder… what if allowing the immigrants to come here is causing a kind of “brain drain” effect on their host nations? Like if the south-american Bill Gates comes up to America, sure he might make it here and become rich etc etc, but wouldn’t it have been better for him to remain in his home nation and improve it with his creation and business?

        It’s the old “give a man a fish” vs “teach him to fish” dilemma. What, as a Christian, should we do? Sure, a lot will probably say “give him fish while you’re teaching him” but they seem to not realize that for many people, (as pointed out by Hoyt) they’ll just steadfastly refuse to learn how in order to keep the supply of fish coming.

        Though judging from what I’ve read and seen, it doesn’t look like even the saints quite figured out where is “too cruel” and “too kind”.

        • Comment by John C Wright:


          But I wonder… what if allowing the immigrants to come here is causing a kind of “brain drain” effect on their host nations?

          I cannot think of a concern with which I could possibly have less sympathy. If their princes and parliaments erect bad laws and support evil customs and squeeze the hardworking and liberty loving men among them so much that such men are willing forsake everything, submit to a painful divorce, and come as a stranger into a strange land where our laws will treat him fairly? I cannot possibly even being to start to think about imagining shedding a tear for those evil princes and unwise parliaments. They lose. We win.

          • Comment by The Deuce:

            There is something to this though. We’re told by liberals that an unlimited flood of immigrants is “good for us,” but if that is so, then ipso-facto it must be bad for the people remaining in their home countries.

            • Comment by Nate Winchester:

              I was also about to lead into: What if the immigrant is Mexico’s answer to Washington or Jefferson?

              True, I agree with John about the home nation screwing over its own golden geese, but what will ever be the impetus for change?

              Actually you don’t even have to look at South America for a hint of this. It will take me awhile to find but I recall once reading a testimony by someone who pointed out they were having an influx of people moving to their south/midwest area from the northeast. Why? Because of the insane policies and governments of those states. The feeling “refugees” even frequently complain about how the place they came from was. And then what happens? These “refugees” frequently end up voting for the same government and policy they just fled from.

              So I’m not sure how much we’ll win. The wisest words I’ve read outside the Bible were Thomas Sowell’s: “[Y]ou do not get a free country just because everybody wants freedom— for themselves. You can have a free country only when people are willing to let other people have freedom.” I’m not convinced a lot of current immigrants are that willing. Somedays it really seems like they want the same government they fled from, just this time THEY get to be in charge of it.

              • Comment by HMSLion:

                Yes. California was once a wonderful place to live – fifty or sixty years ago. Then the Liberals came. Having turned places like New York and Mass. into hellholes.

                First, they drove out the native Californians. They were conservatives, you see. Decent folk.

                Then the liberals started bleeding out…and turning every place they moved into a replica of what they left…including their reasons for leaving.

                It’s why I’m a big advocate for residency requirements to vote, particularly in local elections.

            • Comment by John C Wright:

              I cannot keep track of Liberal switchbacks. Why is it so good for immigrants to come to this racist, sexist, homophobic and capitalist culture of cowards who never talk about race and who make war on women?

              Or is it good for us and not for them, because once we are flooded with unassimilated Jihadists sneaking in among the second-class worker bees from Mexico for agro-businesses to exploit, with no love for democracy, the Leftist desire for a utopian dictatorship will be ushered in on the wings of violent revolution?

      • Comment by HMSLion:

        I don’t dispute this. But there is also a duty toward our countrymen. Every unskilled worker we import from abroad is an unskilled American without a job, or the hope of one. Who stands up for them?

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          Here we get into a complex thicket. If the unskilled worker from overseas is here legally, and his employer has to suffer all the costs and drawbacks and meaningless regulations that apply to an American unskilled worker, I would laugh at the idea that an American unskilled worker has anything to fear from any unskilled worker from anywhere in the world. We have the hardest working and most reliable unskilled work force, and the competition for jobs drives down the prices to the consumer, and ergo is generally beneficial. However, in the welfare state, not only are our unskilled workers trained to be lazy, and trained to think Uncle Sugar will save them if things get rough, but the unskilled foreigner who is here illegally can he hired for below the legal minimum wage, and ignore onerous safety regulations, union thuggery, and so on.

          I do believe that we are better off with a policy asking for people with skills to come here. We should also make room for a certain number of refugees, just out of Christian charity.

          • Comment by Rainforest Giant:

            I would agree to accepting true refugees. The problem is separating the sheep from the wolves. If we took all refugees we’d simply have everyone claiming they were refugees. We already have agencies that do nothing but coach people. We accept admitted terrorists. Heck we got the Tsarnaev brothers out of our refugee system.

            I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. But we have to be sure.

      • Comment by Rainforest Giant:

        I couldn’t agree more. We should go that extra mile every time we can. We are known as a house where someone can find a bed, meal, clothes, etc.

        Some come to our house asking for money but we rarely have enough to give. We had a lady come asking for money for her daughter’s birthday. We had gifts set aside for Christmas we were willing to give as birthday gifts. Food for her daughter’s party and would have baked a cake (my daughter is an excellent baker and decorator). When she saw we were not going to give her money she grew angry and left. Wise as serpents and gentle as doves.

  11. Comment by Vicq Ruiz:

    Mr. Wright:

    Cardinal O’Malley of Boston thinks (at least by my reading) that your position is bigoted, xenophobic, and racist.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/06/18/Boston-s-Cardinal-O-Malley-Americans-Against-Amnesty-Have-Irrational-Fear

    He apparently thinks you should be a chump. A chump with a checkbook.

    Are you, as a Catholic in good standing, allowed to compose your own interpretation of Church teaching, lay it up against that of the good Cardinal, and conclude that yours is right and his is wrong?

    If that is so, then it does remove one of my most deeply held criticisms of the church.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      Are you actually gullible enough to believe that the Daily Beast reported the nuanced, carefully-worded answers of Cardinal O’Malley with anything close to accuracy? He did not say people who oppose amnesty are xenophobic. He said he had been reading up on the history of the Know Nothings, aka anticatholic nativists, and warning the current generation not to fall into the same trap.

      The quote is: ““Obviously,” said O’Malley, the fear is “not rational, and I think we are dealing with it in an irrational way.”” But, reading the previous paragraph, we see that the fear of which he speaks is bigotry, which someone named Reza Arslan (described as a ‘religious scholar’ whatever that means) says is based on fear. The next sentence is the interjected opinion by the reporter that many fears directed against foreigners are unfounded, which is logically irrelevant to the question of whether bigotry is based on fear, or whether opposition to foreigners is based on fear, or opposition to foreigners illegally crossing the border during wartime is based on fear, and also logically irrelevant to whether opposition to a general amnesty for foreigners illegally crossing the border is based on fear and also based on bigotry. From the location of the sentence, the reporter clearly wishes the reader to think the Cardinal is talking about amnesty, but, upon inspection, it is clear that this is not what he said. The cardinal said something (not quoted) is irrational, and the reporter paraphrases the not quoted part of the sentence as ‘fear’, meaning, in this context bigotry.

      So a Christian priest says bigotry is an irrational fear. That does not make any headlines. The priest says we must help the poor and oppressed, the widow and the orphan. That is what priest have said since the time of Moses and Job. That also does not make any headlines. He says some things that favor immigration in the abstract, in general. And the writer need to make it ‘sexier’ by adding language (and lies) to make it look like the Cardinal is criticizing the Republicans, and calling half the nation irrational bigots. Aha! THAT makes headlines!

      The article is here. Read it. It is a propaganda piece. Look at the organization of the paragraphs, what is introduced, what is said, and what is not said but is implied.

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/03/cardinal-o-malley-s-fight-against-global-indifference-to-immigration-s-humanitarian-crisis.html

      The Church is the defender of the poor, the widow and the orphan.

      Even had the Cardinal actually said he favored amnesty, so what? The private opinions of a cardinal about the prudence of general amnesty for lawbreakers trespassing into this country are not part of the deposit of faith the Christian is obligated, for the sake of the salvation of his soul, to believe, any more than the CO of a platoon can tell a private under his command how to vote. He can tell him how to salute and how to march and what to eat and when to wake and what mood to be in, and everything related to the business of the military, but he has no authority beyond that.

      (And even if he did have the authority, he is not in my chain of command. I am from the Parish of Saint Veronica, Diocese of Arlington under the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Baltimore.)

      If this is one of your deeply held criticisms of the Catholic Church, please forgive me for being entirely blunt, you are a total ignoramus. You have no right to your opinion if you have not even bestirred your lazy buttocks enough to talk to a real Catholic and find out our church is not the cartoony evil church of mindless zombie evil the atheists and the Protestants slander us to be.

      The authority of the Church extends to matters of faith, morals, and discipline, not matters of history and politics, except where those fields touch matters of history and politics (a Catholic cannot, for example, believe as an historical matter that Christ never lived; nor can a faithful Catholic accept a political party or policy that accepts abortion, torture, or (since the 15th century) slavery). Your bishop does not have the authority to tell his flock what their opinion on tax policy should be.

      • Comment by Vicq Ruiz:

        If these various prelates –

        a priest taking sides in a political primary
        a cardinal speaking about immigration law
        a bishop making a fuss about global warming
        a pope attacking (massive air quotes) economic injustice (massive air quotes)

        – were all just using the public access given to them to express their personal opinions, I don’t see a real problem.

        It would be much the same thing as when Yoko Ono opines on fracking, or Sean Penn makes kissy-face with pimply Hugo C. – personal opinion only, unleavened by economic or scientific knowledge.

        But somehow I get the impression that these various individuals don’t do very much to dissociate their personal views from the authority granted their offices. Am I wrong in this impression? Please feel free to correct me.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          I am trying with the most charity I can muster to answer this question without either calling your intelligence or your honesty into question. I find that I cannot, even while clenching my teeth and squinting my eyes.

          Are the simplest of distinctions between things, such as a man versus his office, or a private opinion versus an official teaching, something you have perhaps given up for Lent? I am happy to report Lent is over.

          • Comment by Vicq Ruiz:

            I suppose I may as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb here, so:

            I have reached the conclusion that the leadership of the Catholic Church, setting aside only the issues of sexual morality, has allowed itself to be joined at hip and thigh to the redistributionist, statist Left on nearly all the major issues of our day. Taxes? Environment? Guns? Immigration? You name it, the Church and the DNC speak almost as one.

            If you think that I am the only human on the planet to reach this conclusion, then I question neither your intelligence nor your honesty, but merely the breadth of your observations.

            And frankly, it makes me question the formidable reputation which the Church carries for rational thinking (though I certainly do NOT question the rationality of individual communicants) when I observe that many of its leaders, who by dint of intellectual effort have risen to positions of great authority, exhibit no more public awareness of how economics works, and what freedom is for, than does the typical Oberlin sophomore.

            Nomex? check. Kevlar? check.

            • Comment by John C Wright:

              What is your point? That most Catholics vote Democrat? Brilliant observation.

              What does that have to do with your question of whether a priests private opinions on political matters confuse you, because you cannot tell the difference between that an the official teachings of the Magisterium of the Church?

              Oh, you are repeating back to me what I said because when I said something obviously true, this is the same as you saying something obviously boneheaded. Very witty. I saw what you did there.

              In your original question, you were scoffing at the Church because she neither expels bishops who vote Democrat nor requires her votaries to vote Republican. You framed your sneer in the form of a question, but unfortunately, taking the question seriously made you sound like an idiot.

              Now you just sound like a bigot grasping at any straw in desperation to mock the Church. Please go away.

              • Comment by Vicq Ruiz:

                All that would be necessary for the Church not to be my political enemy would be for her to say:

                (1) Economic liberty is a good thing.
                (2) Given the implementation of economic liberty, there will be some who will suffer financial hardship.
                (3) Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Church and other charitable institutions, -acting in a private capacity-, to provide aid to the materially needy.

                The Church seems to have held this position, to its credit, for the first 95 percent or so of its history.

                It’s only in the last few generations, and particularly in the West, that it seems to insist that taxpayers be conscripted into the service of point (3).

                To the subject at hand, I suggest that the Church is welcome to advocate for opening our borders for every single illegal entrant which it is willing to succor within its own residential facilities. But not welcome to advocate for a single one whose sustenance is provided by Section 8 housing abd EBT cards.

                • Comment by John C Wright:

                  Sir, it is hard for me to imagine where you are picking up these false impressions, so I will say only that one should look at the catechism of the Catholic Church, which contains the body of the authentic Church teachings on this and all topics; whereas if one reads excerpts of speeches of bishops or archbishops in newspapers, the newspaper will slant, distort, omit, and lie.

                • Comment by Patrick:

                  “Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Church and other charitable institutions, -acting in a private capacity-, to provide aid to the materially needy. The Church seems to have held this position…”

                  You are substantially wrong on this point. You should learn more about feudalism and the obligations entailed between the manor lords and their serfs, the Christian understanding of usury, natural equiality in exchange, and other topics.

                  “…not welcome to advocate for a single one whose sustenance is provided by Section 8 housing abd EBT cards.”

                  What a strange idea. I wonder, if misfortune were to strike you and leave you needy, would you be more willing to accept food stamps from the government or food from the Church down the street?

        • Comment by Patrick:

          “But somehow I get the impression that these various individuals don’t do very much to dissociate their personal views from the authority granted their offices.”

          Seeing as how nobody else is confused about these distinctions besides you, I’m sure they must be doing it “somehow”.

      • Comment by The Deuce:

        Daily Beast propaganda aside, I suspect there’s more than a little something to this. Watching how many of the bishops happily sold out and dug their own graves on Obamacare, even though the HHS mandate was practically telegraphed from a mile away and everybody with any sense was pleading with them to get a clue and have nothing to do with it, I don’t find it at all hard to believe that their actions imply just what they seem to imply to a lot of people: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2dw-KnKEak&list=UUX17igkZ9JhU64JoTBVSWeQ

        • Comment by Vicq Ruiz:

          Exactly. One gets the feeling that what the bishops are really asking is: “Please, cut us just a little slack on this abortifacients issue, so we can all climb back on board and be happy passengers on the welfare state express.”

  12. Comment by Patrick Hadley:

    From the US Conference of Bishops:

    “no country is bound to accept all those who wish to resettle there. By this principle the Church recognizes that most immigration is ultimately not something to celebrate. … [N]o country has the duty to receive so many immigrants that its social and economic life are jeopardized.”

  13. Comment by Patrick Hadley:

    As for the praiseworthy O’Floinn’s history of immigration from long ago, well, that was then. No debate about modern mass immigration will be possible until a debate about modern mass immigration is commenced.

    The whole sick-making thing about America’s self-immolation on the national question is that the American people are not being asked what they want. They are not being asked, and there appears to be nothing they can do about it. Your poor sad nation is being fundamentally transformed, and none of you will be allowed to stop it. Unless the debate ceases wallowing in the 1840s or 1920s and faces the reality of today’s world–welfare state anyone? ethnic spoils systems? Bueller? Flynn?–then America will become a third world country. And all without a serious debate.

    How bizarre. How sad.

    • Comment by Rainforest Giant:

      You’re right we haven’t discussed the issue and any attempt to discuss it is suspect. The street is one way only always to the left.

    • Comment by Sarah Hoyt:

      The problem too — and I speak as an immigrant — is that the long ago immmigration came into a country where neither language skills nor advanced training were required to make a good living. Now, it’s a different story.
      And yes, I do have good language skills (Hey, I learned English at 14) BUT good living as a novelist… (Waggles hand.)

  14. Comment by Montague:

    I think it a bit too uncharitable to say we ought to hang anybody in the administration (since we wish to avoid unnecessary killing to preserve, on the off chance, some lonely soul; not to mention once they are all in prison, the prisons could be reformed so they wouldn’t be mooching off them either. If I am not mistaken, the Catholic doctrine on Capital Punishment requires pressing need for a just execution.)

    To reference GKC’s poem, “The Port of London Authority,” we should say not that these fools be dead, but “Sunburst that blasted Lazarus,/ Lord, let this dead man live!”

  15. Comment by The OFloinn:

    The polity with the largest percentage of immigrant population is the Holy See, which is 100% immigrant. Coming in second is the United Arab Emirates, which consists of 83.7% immigrants, followed by Qatar, American Samoa, Caribbean Netherlands, Monaco, etc. Farther down the list is Luxembourg, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Liechtenstein, which run between 33% and 43%. Switzerland clocks in at 28.9% and Australia at 27.7%. To our north, 20.7% of Canadians are immigrants, while across the pond, Ireland comprises 15.9%. The United States comes in behind these at 14.3% immigrant and the UK at 12.4%. Meanwhile, only 7.7% of Russians, 5.9% of the Palestinian National Authority, and 5.6% of Serbia are people who went there on purpose. North Korea has lured 0.2% of its population in and Cuba has attracted 0.1%.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_foreign-born_population

    Percentage Foreign Born in US, by Census:
    1850 9.7
    1860 13.2
    1870 14.4
    1880 13.3
    1890 14.8
    1900 13.6
    1910 14.7
    1920 13.2
    1930 11.6
    1940 8.8
    1950 6.9
    1960 5.4
    1970 4.7
    1980 6.2
    1990 7.9
    2000 11.1
    2010 12.9
    2011 13.0 est.

    The contention that “this time it’s different” overlooks that what is different is not the complexion of the huddled masses, but the fecklessness of the State. You will also notice why it’s useful to recollect the 1880-1920 period, when a far higher proportion of the US population was composed of immigrants. Most of us here recall only the relatively fallow years of 1940-1990, and now things are returning to normal we think they are exceptional. The world of our youth is the Way Things Oughta Be. But the problem is not really that other people are coming; it’s that our government is going.

    Immigration is a bigger problem in Europe, where States define themselves by their Nations. France for the French, Germany for the Germans, Norway for the Norse, and so on. That makes it hard for others to fit in. A third generation Turk in Germany could not ever become German. This is something G.K. Chesterton noted almost a hundred years ago. America is founded on a creed, not a nation.
    http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/america.html

    • Comment by Nate Winchester:

      You will also notice why it’s useful to recollect the 1880-1920 period, when a far higher proportion of the US population was composed of immigrants. Most of us here recall only the relatively fallow years of 1940-1990, and now things are returning to normal we think they are exceptional.

      Wait… why is a 40 year period considered “normal” while a 50 year period considered not? Purely because it was earlier? Then what about the 1770s-1880s period? According to wikipedia it seems very small: “All the colonies, after they were started, grew mostly by natural growth, with foreign born populations rarely exceeding 10% in isolated instances. The last significant colonies to be settled mainly by immigrants were Pennsylvania in the early 18th century and Georgia and the Borderlands in the late 18th century, as migration (not immigration) continued to provide nearly all the settlers for each new colony or state.” So… Mike I’m not sure where you’re getting your metric for “normal”. If anything the 1880-1920 period looks like the aberration.

      Also 2 other factors that I think are also big problems you’ve glossed over.

      1) Birth rates of the native born. (still looking for charts but so far it looks like they were much higher then than now)
      2) The nation was physically expanding – there were still a lot of frontier land to explore and tame.

      Given also that Great Depression 2.0 looms over the nation (oh… what happened after that great influx you mentioned was “normal”?), if history is going for a repeat, I think it’s going to be unpleasant.

    • Comment by Rainforest Giant:

      So why should we be bringing in more people who support the way our government is going? Not only support it but drive its engines and are used to fuel the fires.

      We’re burning our children’s patrimony to keep our illegals fat, happy, and available for exploitation. We are deliberately subverting our own health, safety, and employment laws for the benefit of the rich.

      I could understand if we needed more people we don’t we have a huge unemployment/under employment problem. Real wages have stagnated for decades. Profits are up but none go to the worker.

      If you’re in a hole quit digging.

      On the other hand if you want an endless stream of ever poorer workers for the government and rich to exploit and the middle class to support please continue in this vein. If we are to live in a socialist system let’s get it over with.

      • Comment by Nate Winchester:

        RFG, this article may be of interest to you.

        John Derbyshire summed it up as:

        This entire century so far, from first quarter 2000 to first quarter 2014, the entire net growth in U.S. employment went to immigrants.
        In the first quarter of 2000, there were 114.8 million working-age natives — that’s ages 16 to 65 — holding a job, 114.8 million; in the first quarter of 2014 it was 114.7 million.
        The native-born working-age population actually grew by 17 million in that period. Since the number holding a job declined slightly, there were 17 million more working-age natives not working in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000.
        In 2000, 74 percent of working-age natives held a job. That fell to 71 percent in 2007 , before the recession. So this trend was well under way before the recession. Today’s figure is 66 percent.
        By contrast, the employment rate of working-age immigrants increased from 2000 to 2007. Since the jobs recovery began in 2010, 43 percent of employment growth has gone to immigrants.
        There’s a huge supply of native workers at all educational levels: 8.7 million native college graduates are not working, as are 17 million with some college, and 25 million high school graduates.

        • Comment by The OFloinn:

          8.7 million native college graduates are not working

          Perhaps if they had majored in chemical engineering instead of literary criticism, this might be less true. But then, as the joke runs, to get a good job you need a high school education; but you have to go to college to get one.

          You did not cite Derbyshire on which jobs were being filled by whom. Employers will tell you how often some people turn their noses up at work because it’s not their thing, or it’s beneath them, or the number of applicants they must interview to find one suitable candidate for entry-level work. Native-born are not usually lining up for picking crops. My son works in a law office up in Alaska, and so far the “second desk” in his section has had three occupants in the past month, as people come to work, find it boring or distressing, and walk away.

          Here’s a local example of jobs going to immigrants. A new restaurant opened up in the West Ward called “Daddy’s Place.” The owner is an immigrant from the Lebanon, and he employs his son and nephew plus a few others to prepare and serve Lebanese food. He bought the place, gutted and renovated the interior, and set up the menu. Across the street is a taqueria. I don’t know where the owner is from, but Norway would not be my first guess. There is an Italian restaurant out the highway which is owned by and largely staffed by Hispanics. The diner we frequent is owned by Greeks, employs Anglo waitresses, but the busboys and kitchen are Hispanic. The Subway shop is run by Indians, but one of the staff is Anglo. In the same shopette is a Japanese take-out, but it is run and staffed by Chinese.

          • Comment by HMSLion:

            This is why Mr. Wright is correct in arguing that we need to dramatically cut welfares.

            We are lectured endlessly about the obligation of the rich to provide charity to the poor. (Though our tax code puts the heaviest burdens on professionals, craftsmen, and small businessmen, not the truly rich)

            But what is the obligation of the poor to the rich? Do not the poor have a duty to show gratitude? Not treat charity as their right and due? Above all, to get off charity as quickly as possible – if for no other reason than to make charity resources available to others?

            We need to cut welfares. As Reagan said, it’s supposed to be a safety net, not a hammock.

            • Comment by Zaklog the Great:

              But what is the obligation of the poor to the rich? Do not the poor have a duty to show gratitude? Not treat charity as their right and due?

              This is something I’ve said for a while now. Government handouts and private charity are not remotely the same. Private charity, from one individual to another, or from a voluntary group to individuals, fosters compassion on one side and gratitude on the other. If you see the person who needs help, and he sees the person helping him, this is inevitable.

              Government handouts on the other hand, create resentments on both sides. The taxed resent having what they worked for taken from them; the recipients resent not having more. If the government has to take care of me, why aren’t they taking better care? Why does that guy over there have more than me? This is also inevitable.

              Ah, but private charity cannot take care of people for their entire lives. Yes, this is a feature, not a bug.

            • Comment by Mary:

              The poor have the duty to not covet or envy and to show gratitude.

          • Comment by Rainforest Giant:

            Working in restaurants? Sure. Lots of them are exploited that way. You get to work them as long as you want and pay them what you want. It’s almost like slavery except you don’t have to care for them in their old age. You can just fire them.

            Entry level. Horse hockey. They are taking plenty of meat packing, construction, plumbing etc from citizens. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen first hand how they scam the benefits system. I’ve seen first hand how they work their slaves in all but name. Of course business owners say they can’t hire Americans to do the job. I can’t see where it would be in their best interests to maximize their profits, socialize their costs and hire people who cannot complain, ask for a raise, or report you for health and safety violations. But I am sure crops are simply rotting in the fields the crisis is worse ever year. If you read the newspapers. There simply will not be a pear for sale in America this year because they can’t get another 3 million across the border in time.

            But sure, they’re just doing the jobs Americans won’t.

            • Comment by The OFloinn:

              Working in restaurants? Sure. Lots of them are exploited that way.

              You missed the part where it was the immigrants who started the restaurants and hired the help and they and their relatives work like hell to make it work.

              Your complaint seems to be about the native born rich people, not the poor immigrants whom they supposedly exploit.

              They are taking plenty of meat packing, construction, plumbing etc from citizens.

              Meanwhile, the natives have been scammed into college prep courses, which do not generally turn out vocational workers. Or their parents are college-educated and don’t want their kids to work menial jobs.

              Most of the plumbers I know are individuals. They might have a couple helpers if they are big enough. Other plumbers may be taking business away from them; but these are people who have it together to get a plumber’s certificate.

              The local paper had a photo of the seven doctors who graduated their residency programs at the Easton Hospital. All seven doctors were Indian: four men, three women. Of the doctors I was seeing in may recent illness, the majority were immigrants from India, except one who was an Indian from East Africa. So, yes, not all entry level indeed.

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  17. Comment by meunke:

    There were a couple of things I had mentioned in my original post that asked this question that weren’t carried over, certainly for brevity’s sake as they didn’t add any greater depth to the question itself, but I feel I sould share.

    I work in C and D class real estate, that is, low income apartment building. Hispanic immigrants are often our customers and I have to say, I wish they were the ONLY ones we got. If you have a friend who works in this range of real estate ask him, and I’m fairly sure they will say the same thing. They’ve been some of the best people to work with, even if some of them can’t speak English.

    Another blogger I read on occasion had this to say.

    “We say to impoverished Mexicans, “See this river? Don’t cross it. If you do, we’ll give you good jobs, a drivers license, citizenship for your kids born here and eventually for you, school for said kids, public assistance, governmental documents in Spanish for your convenience, and a much better future. There is no penalty for getting caught. Now, don’t cross this river, hear?”

    How smart is that? We’re baiting them. It’s like putting out a salt lick and then complaining when deer come. As parents, the immigrants would be irresponsible not to cross.”

    • Comment by Patrick:

      If you and your kids lived on dirt floors in a starving Mexican town with no hope of ever having anything and somebody told you about the United States, you’d do everything you could to get your family here, too. Even if you were a single mom with drug problems, kids by 3 men, no education or job skills, bipolar, and ugly.

      Many people do not understand this; many of us live well in attractive communities, doing good to attract good people. Success is a beacon for the successful, we reason, and we grow dismayed to see more and more hard foreign faces around us every year, so many lost, delinquent, dismal new people. But they are here because of hope nonetheless. Hope is for the squalid.

    • Comment by Zaklog the Great:

      If they were coming here for good jobs, I’d have less of a problem with it. The reality is, many of them are coming here for government handouts. If that’s what you want, we don’t need you. Aiding such behavior is not, in any meaningful sense, helping them. Counselling circles have a word for this: enabling.

      If you can come here, stand on your own two feet, and contribute, good for you. If you want to come here and sit on the couch collecting welfare checks and EBT cards, stay home.

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