Current immigration policy satisfies no one

By Stephanie Block

The nation’s current immigration policies don’t seem to please anyone – not the right, not the left, and certainly not the immigrants, legal or otherwise.

Roman Catholic Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston, speaking at a November 2008 conference, said, “There are 200 million migrants. War, famine, economic collapse drive them, and it’s unstoppable. In our own country, 12 million undocumented people work and live in the shadows.”

His solution – and also the solution of Janice Huie, resident bishop for the United Methodist Church’s Texas Annual Conference – is some form of broad-based legalization.
It’s also, interestingly enough, the solution of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the largest and oldest of the Alinskyian networks, all of which organize ecumenically among religious institutions to create “social change.”

Testifying before the Texas House of Representatives, Joint Committee of State Affairs and Border Affairs in 2007, Kevin Collins, OMI, a Catholic priest in Houston whose parish is part of the IAF network, presented five (supposedly “Catholic”) “principles” he, and presumably the IAF, wanted legislators to consider. They were that:

1. People have a right to find opportunities in their homeland, including work that provides a just, living wage.
2. People “have a right to migrate to support themselves and their families. All the goods of the earth belong to all people. When persons cannot find employment in their country of origin to support themselves and their families, they have a right to find work elsewhere in order to survive. Sovereign nations should provide ways to accommodate this right.”
3. “Sovereign nations have the right to control their borders”… unless that control is exerted by a “powerful economic nation” for “the purpose of acquiring additional wealth.”
4. Refugees and asylum seekers should be afforded protection.
5. Human dignity and human rights of undocumented migrants should be respected.

You may have noticed that there’s a bit of tension between the various “rights” Father has identified. While one may have a natural “right” to seek one’s welfare, of whom do we demand the “right” to find it?

Or the second “principle” – sounds as though Father has just eliminated property rights…which then makes the notion of finding opportunities a bit confusing.

And if “all the goods of the earth belong to all people,” on what basis can Father claim “sovereign nations have the right to control their borders”?

So let’s try this again: sovereign nations don’t simply have the right to control their borders – they have the moral responsibility to do so, particularly when drug gangs and state enemies are trying to cross them, too, along with innocent, would-be immigrants. Hey, undocumented workers are looking for a better life – not the importation of the same chaos they left behind.

And what about this “all the goods of the earth belong to all people” business? Well, some of the earth’s “goods”, such as air and water, are held in common by all people – but some aren’t. It may not be equitable that I own a pair of corrective eyeglasses and you, who also need them, don’t – but if you take my eyeglasses, we’ll both be blind and no one can help anybody. The real moral principle here isn’t our “right” to equal goods but the responsibility of the “wealthy” to be generous.

Yes, refugees and asylum seekers should be afforded protection but most undocumented workers aren’t refugees or asylum seekers, and they’re the people we’re discussing here. Yes, the human dignity and human rights of undocumented migrants should be respected – just as the laws of a sovereign nation with the right and responsibility not only of controlling its borders but of protecting the people within them should be respected.

Honestly, most of what passes for “anti-immigration” sentiment is a reasonable reaction to how those working to secure (undocumented) immigrant “rights” frame their arguments. Americans aren’t “anti-immigration” – but they are against being morally bullied into positions that hurt everyone.

Stephanie Block is the editor of Los Pequenos - a New Mexico-based publication. Her columns are made possible by the sponsorship of generous individuals who believe information about the development and dissemination of progressive ideology needs to be more widely understood. Please fell free to share -- acknowledging authorship -- these articles with others. If you would like more frequent publication of Stephanie Block's work, tax-deductible donations can be sent to: Catholic Media Coalition - PO Box 427 Great Cacapon, WV 25422 Attn: Progressive Watch

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