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Monday, September 24, 2007

But It Ain't Racism

A friend of mine told me the story of his illegal immigration. It was quite an eye-opener.

When he was young, his family lived in a country crushed by poverty and crime, government corruption and greed. Bribes to government officials were frequent and necessary because the country was a conduit for drug trafficking, which was rampant.

Nearly all of the citizens were dirt-poor, many keeping subsistence-level gardens in order to assure themselves of enough food during the year. Because everyone was poor, because no one had anything, everyone shared. It was the only way to survive.

His mother slowly scrimped and saved enough over the years to pay what we now call a "coyote" to smuggler herself and her son out. She recognized that neither she nor her eight-year old boy could survive a walk across the border - another way had to be found. So, she negotiated with a man whose company regularly ran a van filled with workers back and forth across the border checkpoint. Because the van made the transit every day, border guards were used to it, they paid less attention to it than to the general population.

Each seat in the van could be opened to store tools underneath the cushions. The cavities were also large enough to store people, if the hidden person was willing to put up with the contortions necessary to fit inside.

On the appointed day, he and his mother each climbed into their box, the seat cushions were adjusted and a worker took his place on the seat for the ride across the border.

They made it, but, as it turned out, their success was simply the first trial. The van didn't travel very far past the border checkpoint. Once they were safely across, they needed to get away from the area as quickly as possible. They had tickets for the train and began to walk towards the train station in order to get to where relatives would take them in.

On their way to the station, they were stopped by the police. The police officer noticed that they appeared to be lost, discovered they were not legally in the country, pointed them back to the border, ordered them to return to their own country and walked away. The mother and her boy walked in the direction the officer pointed out until he was out of sight, then turned and quickly headed back towards the train station.

This happened six times.

Finally, they made it onto the train, to their relatives and to freedom. The young man joined the air force, became a jet pilot and spent years ready to defend the country against attack. But it would be years longer before he finally became an American.

As Horst told me the story of his escape from East Germany, I thought it incredibly ironic. The same conservatives who used to champion every escape from the oppression, fear and poverty of communist governments now vilify those who wish to escape similar oppression, fear and poverty in Mexico. The same liberals who used to decry the way these communist immigrants were lauded in the West now themselves laud the migrant.

Despite the fact that these illegal migrants (from East Germany's point of view) were often deliberately infiltrated with spies and criminals intent on destroying the West, despite the fact that East Germany deliberately trafficked drugs across the border, despite the fact that the communist East bent every power at its disposal to destroy the capitalist civilization its citizens invaded, West Germany welcomed the immigrants and the West applauded her for it.

What a difference a few decades makes.

35 comments:

Patrick said...

It has less to do with time passing as it does with methods used. In East Germany, there were no legal ways to emigrate. The procedures were in place in the law for government forced emigration but seldom allowed by user request. However, people from the Americas can legally emigrate and immigrate all the time. In my community there are literally thousands who have done so legally and are outraged by illegal immigration into the US. It's the equivalent to asking someone for the keys to their car or simply driving the car away when no one is looking. No matter what decade you do it in, the effects from the methods used are the same.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

For the person attempting immigration, there is no difference between a zero immigration policy and an immigration quota that has been filled.

The East German government would say the same thing about keys and cars in reference to illegal emigration that you now say about illegal immigration.

Patrick said...

Using that logic I will agree that all crime is equally justified.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Exactly.

It was a crime to emigrate from East Germany in at least as great a sense as it is a crime to immigrate into the United States.

Certainly the staunch communists in East Germans complained about emigration as much as certain groups in the US complain about immigration.

Patrick said...

I would go further with the logic of that argument. There is no difference between killing randomly and in self defense. If it's OK in one instance then it is in all situations. Really, it can be used to justify any crime, misbehavior or sin. You hear those types of phrases all the time as they cuff people on Cops. As long as you believe that different situations can all use the same solution, even if other legal means exist but are too inconvenient, then only chaos will ensue. We all choose the world we live in.

Jordan Potter said...

It's the equivalent to asking someone for the keys to their car or simply driving the car away when no one is looking.

That's a false analogy, since stealing a car is always a crime -- is an intrinsically evil act -- whereas moving from one country to another is not a crime, is an intrinsically good act. Some moving from place to place is bad, for example in the case of military invasion or secret infiltration for the purpose of terrorist attack or other forms of hostility to the new country, but going to a new place to find a good place to live and work are positive things. So your logic is defective, Patrick.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

This column consists in orthodox Catholic commentary on current events.

We have to be able to explain why men as different as Cardinal Mahoney and Archbishop Burke both agree on how to treat Hispanic immigration.

If we were facing an issue like giving the Eucharist to John Kerry, we can see that Burke and Mahoney differ dramatically, and can therefore argue that Burke has the right attitude and Mahoney does not. But what do we do when Burke and Mahoney AGREE???

What do we do when we can't find a Catholic bishop anywhere in the world who disagrees with their position?

In that case, we have to re-examine what the media is saying. We may have to conclude - as I have - that the media is entirely in error, that even leading lay Catholics who hold to a different position are, in fact, in error.

Read the Magisterial documents on migration, try to think about how political factions have changed their positions on immigration over the years and then see if you can really convince yourself to hold an anti-immigrant position. I have tried, and I can't see how it can be done.

I agree that some individual migrants are not saints, but I can't agree that our immigration laws are really much more just than our abortion laws.

Patrick said...

Bad argument. As the sitting Pope has stated, "It is imperative that people must respect the laws of a country when it comes to immigration issues." However, he also stated that countries must do more to alleviate the plight of immigrant candidates. I'm sorry, but the Pope has the right attitude on how to address the issue no matter what a local bishop may say.

Patrick said...

I'll even go further and agree with the argument that the Pope is just a bishop among bishops and this was just his opinion. Per the Catechism:
"2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin."

That would tell me that the church does support limits that a country places on immigration - it's not open to all as if you should have no borders. Also:

"Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens."

Seems pretty simple, individuals should obey the border laws and countries should seek ways to maintain the dignity of immigrants to the extent they can. So, do we continue to support Catholics who believe that it's OK for immigrants to ignore the Catechism? Certainly not. Should we find a lawful solution to illegal immigration? It would be the Catholic thing to do.

Mike Hussle said...

One other thing, Steven: East Germany and West Germany were the same country divided into two governments. All the policies of West Germany (despite the Soviet opposition tooth and nail) was geared toward future reunification.

East Germans and West Germans are all... Germans. They are unified culturally, linguistically, and ethnically. Their country was simply torn by the tragedy of communist expansionism. The West German government, therefore, would reasonably open its arms to any counterparts from the East who could make it there.

Which brings me to the next difference- the East German government would shoot anyone they caught trying to GET OUT. The Mexican government encourages it. An East German making it to West Germany was truly escaping; Mexicans who break OUR laws to come here are evading our own just laws to take advantage of what we have worked hard to build.

Mexico is not a cut off, oppressed portion of the US. They are not imprisoned by a totalitarian government that would kill them if it thought they were even planning to come here. They are, rather, kept poor and fostered with every reason (and resource) to sneak into the US by their gov't. The second biggest source of revenue in the Mexican GNP is money sent home by illegal immigrants. The Mex. gov't's corruption is propped up precisely by illegal immigration.

In short, the comparison of people escaping a murderous communist dictatorship into freedom with those who sneak from a not-so-prosperous into a prosperous republic to take advantage of it rather than try and change things at home is simply a bad analogy. There is no comparison between yearning for life and liberty and yearning for monetary advantage.

And dont' get me wrong, I totally understand wanting to no longer be poor, but I do not therefore think that our society should turn a blind eye to the crime of illegal immigration, nor do I delude myself that open borders are right and workable. Nor, finally, do I buy into the lie that because I believe laws should be strictly enforced, I am a racist.

Mike Hussle said...

...Let me add that my sister and brother in law are missionaries in Mexico. I've gone down and worked with them at some of the tiny roadside villages of run down shacks. I know that people there, having not only very little "bootstrap" to pull themselves up by, naturally look to the US as the logical place to go. Furthermore, because their government, by way of largely ignoring them, is a less present aspect of day-to-day life(especially in the desert region my sister works in), the uneducated poor there do not understand our perspective as an organized society with the rule of law, and therefore don't "get" what the big deal is.

But that doesn't change the fact that we are not racist or cruel to want our laws enforced and to not want open borders. Are European countries racist to try and fix the problem of Islamic immigration by moving away from "open border" policies? Of course not. They are protecting their societies from the problems massive immigration from 3rd world countries can cause.

Furthermore, one solution to the problems the common Mexican faces (which nobody seems to want to talk about) is simply fixing the Mexican government and economy. The government can be "encouraged" to reform, granting more equal access and accountability. The economy in these impoverished areas can be jump-started through the microfinance of new businesses owned and operated by the lower class Mexicans (which my sister is involved in down there, to try and offer more jobs to young women besides prostitution).

Nonetheless, I still stand by my assessment that sneaking OUT of East Germany and sneaking INTO the US are not fair comparisons, nor is the assertion that I am a racist.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Germany was not as unified as you think. Remember, Germany had only been a country since 1871, and barely held together even then. During WW II, one of Hitler's (justifiable) concerns was that Catholic Bavaria would break away and join Italy. The East-West split imposed by communism seriously altered the Prussian dominance over the rest of Germany which had characterized the 1871-1944 period. Thus, to argue a cultural homogeneity is not really accurate.

At most, you can argue for no language barrier, but even this not a particularly strong argument. In Europe everyone knows at least two or three languages. Only monoglot Americans think the sharing of a common tongue is a huge deal.

Mexico's government has historically been totalitarian, although it is less so at the moment than is usual. To say that they are pushing people out right now is only to say they are doing what Castro found expedient to do during the Mariel boatlift. As I recall, conservatives welcomed the fleeing Cubans.

Did we encourage Cubans to stay put and fix their government? Because, ultimately, they have as much probability of fixing theirs as the Mexicans have, or we have, for that matter.

People have the government they want. Castro has been in power in Cuba because not enough Cubans want to see a bullet in his head. Italians lived with Mussolini until he was no longer convenient - then they hung him from a lamppost. We got Bill Clinton because there weren't enough Americans who would do ANYTHING NECESSARY to prevent him from taking office.

Strong men are only as strong as the population permits them to be.

I see no problem with open borders, and I join the Mexicans in "not getting" what the point of immigration law is. The communists actively infiltrated agents across the German border in order to destroy West Germany.

If our country is so weak that it can really be destroyed by a bunch of impoverished campesinos, then we are lying when we say America is a strong nation.

Mike Hussle said...

It would not be destroyed by "impoverished campesinos", it would be destroyed by increased welfare dependency (especially by those who are not even citizens of the nation that pays that welfare with citizens' money)

It would be destroyed by the constantly increasing levels of crime stemming from drug cartels and gangs from Mexico. Gangs like:
18th Street Gang
La Nuestra Famila
Latin Kings
Los Solidos Nation
Mara Salvatrucha
Netas
Norteños
Sureños
Texas Syndicate
MS-13

When we have problems like border guards and national guardsmen getting fired upon by cartels/smugglers from Mexico, I doubt that saying "then why guard the border?" is much of a solution.

The country would be destroyed by a lack of any basic cultural/linguistic unity, by a lack of coherent understanding of the role of gov't. It would be destroyed by Latino Nationalist groups like La Raza, seeking to take back the southwestern US for Mexico.

As far as your argument that we have allowed Cuban refugees, so why not Mexican? I point out that you yourself admitted that the Mex. gov't is not totalitarian now (unfair, corrupt, yes, but not totalitarian). Mexicans do not stand at the US Border shooting people as they try to leave Mexico. Again, I point out that the Mexicans who come here do so with their gov't's help, because it is easier for them to export their problem of poverty to the US than to deal with it meaningfully.

And as far as the Cubans not trying hard enough to get rid of Castro, are you forgetting the Bay of Pigs? All of the assasination attempts? A brutal dictatorship preserving itself doesn't mean that people want it. It just means it's successful. Regardless, Mexicans do not flee a gov't that would kill them for wanting capitalism. Again, it's not a fair comparison.

Whether or not Germany was always unified, the fact remains that post-WW2, modern day, peace-loving Germans wanted to reunify. And it's a moot point compared to the fact that the reasons for people fleeing East Germany and the reasons for people sneaking into the US are different. One group sought to live and be free; another group seeks to better themselves financially. One group seeks a God-given right. The other seeks something which is great, but not a right.

Mike Hussle said...

Info on illegal immigrant related gangs:

http://www.milnet.com/mex-nat.html

Jordan Potter said...

The other seeks something which is great, but not a right.

But the Catholic Church says it IS a right for people to migrate in search of a better life for themselves and their families. The right of a nation to its own integrity (and ultimately, even its own continued existence) and to respect for its immigration laws is not absolute and supreme, but must be balanced with the right of others to immigrate from places where life is unbearable to places where life is good, or at least better.

Essentially the reasons people tried to flee East Germany are no different from the reasons people flee their countries to come here: it's to find a better life, to escape a miserable, unjust, cruel life. Everyone has a right to that.

And as far as the Cubans not trying hard enough to get rid of Castro, are you forgetting the Bay of Pigs?

Straw man. He didn't say Cubans haven't "tried hard enough," he said "not enough Cubans" want to get rid of Castro.

Also, those Latino drug-running, immigrant-smuggling gangs won't "become" a problem: they're already a problem, and they exist because Americans love illegal drugs and because not all those who live south of the border who want to live or work here are permitted to come here.

I wonder if those who favor tougher immigration laws and tougher enforcement of immigration laws would favor tough immigration laws between the states. The U.S. Constitution wouldn't allow that, at least on paper, but then the U.S. hasn't abided by its constitution for a long, long time. The same logic deployed here to justify tougher border control and tougher enforcement of immigration laws also would buttress a state or county or city strictly regulated who can move there: they've got to safeguard their economies and culture and the integrity of their communities.

Mike Hussle said...

Ok, so I responded to this before, but it either didn't go through or Steve deleted it. But I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and rewrite it.

The right of a nation to its own integrity (and ultimately, even its own continued existence) and to respect for its immigration laws is not absolute and supreme, but must be balanced with the right of others to immigrate from places where life is unbearable to places where life is good, or at least better.

Ok, let's go with that argument. Let's grant open borders, and let in whoever wants in. They want in because we have some semblance of rule of law, because we have economic success, and because we have the safety and security of a society built on trust. What will become of the nation they wanted to come to? The rule of law? Gone, replaced with sundry ideas about the authority law enforcement should/does have. Economic success? Drowned in a welfare state. Safety and security? Left up to the whims of drug cartels (because lo and behold, letting everyone and anyone come in won't solve the problem of drug addiction in the US. It will just bring supply closer to demand). Matter of fact, the country won't be much better than where they came from at that point. Where will they go next? Canada? Europe? To allow everyone in would ultimately degrade the country to the extreme, removing the prospect of a better life from those who are willing to respect our laws to get here. And we wouldn't want to remove innocent people's prospect of a better life, would we?

As far as the constant nonsense about East Germany and Mexico being the same, East Germany was a Marxist police state. Mexico is not. Again, I reassert my point, which is based on reality instead of guilt-mongering (which is what I would call insinuating that people are racists because they don’t agree with you): East Germans sought to get out to preserve their freedom and indeed their very lives. Mexicans who seek to come here illegally do so, yes, to improve their lives, but primarily financially. The two simply do not compare, and most certainly the latter does not override a nation's right to preserve its own existence!

Steve Kellmeyer said...

I haven't deleted any comments in this thread, and I don't delete comments unless they are porn spam. Fortunately, the captcha seems to stop that now.

This country survived active assault by Indian tribes bent on destroying our way of life. It survived the dregs of European humanity coming across the border from Canada and Mexico for the first 100 years of its existence. It survived the hordes shipped across the Atlantic prior to 1900.

We had open borders for the first century and it didn't destroy us. But now that we have 21st century technology and a 21st century economy, you're saying that 19th century immigrants will destroy us.

If we are that weak, we deserve to be destroyed.

Jordan Potter said...

What will become of the nation they wanted to come to?

It will become rather more brown-tinted and rather more Catholic.

The rule of law? Gone, replaced with sundry ideas about the authority law enforcement should/does have.

You mean we don't already have sundry ideas about the authority law enforcement should or does have?

How would the rule of law in this country suffer if we were more open to immigration than we are now?

Economic success? Drowned in a welfare state.

How would changing the legal status of most of the immigrants living here cause the collapse of the U.S. economy and an increase in the number of people on welfare?

Safety and security? Left up to the whims of drug cartels (because lo and behold, letting everyone and anyone come in won't solve the problem of drug addiction in the US. It will just bring supply closer to demand).

Trying to keep everyone and anyone out isn't solving the problem of drug addiction either, so it sounds like a wash.

Matter of fact, the country won't be much better than where they came from at that point.

Oh, we're already speeding in that direction without their help.

To allow everyone in would ultimately degrade the country to the extreme, removing the prospect of a better life from those who are willing to respect our laws to get here.

If our immigration process were more lenient, there would be more people willing to respect our laws to get here. Stiff immigration laws work as well as (and are as just as) the prohibition of alcohol.

And we wouldn't want to remove innocent people's prospect of a better life, would we?

Precisely -- we shouldn't be classifying so many innocent people as criminals when they haven't done anything wrong.

As far as the constant nonsense about East Germany and Mexico being the same, East Germany was a Marxist police state. Mexico is not.

The manner and the degree of injustice in their societies is different, but essentially injustice is injustice, and people have a right to live in a just society, and to flee unjust societies if they cannot change them.

Again, I reassert my point, which is based on reality instead of guilt-mongering (which is what I would call insinuating that people are racists because they don’t agree with you)

No one here has insinuating that anyone is a racist because they don't agree with him. Instead, we have been invited to consider why some illegal immigrants are acceptable but other illegal immigrants are unacceptable. Advocates of stiff anti-immigration laws insist racism isn't the reason . . . and yet some nationalities/races are welcomed far more than others are.

the latter does not override a nation's right to preserve its own existence

Nations don't have an inalienable right to preserve their own existence -- nations lack the ability to lock themselves in amber. Culture changes constantly, if gradually; languages evolve; laws change; religious affiliations change; ethnic compositions change. It's just life. Nations rise and fall, they come and go. No nation, no matter how just, no matter how prosperous, and no matter how assured of their superiority over all other nations (as America has always been), has an overriding right to preserve their existence. They have that grace from God, but there is only one nation that God has ever promised would always exist, and it's not the United States of America, which has already changed so much during its history that in truth the U.S. today bears little resemblance to the U.S. of 200 years ago. Nations may defend themselves (for the sake of the people who are their members -- for no nation exists for its own sake), but they may not do so at the expense of the rights of others.

Patrick said...

"Nations may defend themselves but they may not do so at the expense of the rights of others."
The Catechism doesn't agree. Again:
"Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens."
So, let's apply the same flawed logic to other areas. The Catholic Church supports the right for people to worship as they wish and should not be hindered. Using your logic, a Protestant should have no issues receiving Communion in a Catholic Church even if they do not believe in the rules of the Catholic Church. They may feel they have a right to Communion as well. Well, the Church does support hinder-free worship and as long as rules and laws shouldn't apply if you decide they're inconvenient then there should be no issue at all. I know priests who right now are making that same argument to the Church, using your logic.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Patrick,

Excellent example! Let's consider why Protestants cannot flout the laws on the reception of Eucharist while people can, under certain circumstances, flout human laws.

It is a doctrine of the Church that if I do not have enough food to feed my family, if I have no way to get more, and if you refuse to give me any food after I beg for it, I may take the food from you and it isn't stealing.

You see, as stewards of good things, you have a duty to help me when I am in need. John Chrysostom is pre-eminent among the doctors of the Church in pointing out that if I have two coats and I only need one, then I have someone else's coat in my closet.

Created things are meant to be shared according to need - that isn't Marxism, that's Christianity.

Now, the Eucharist is an encounter with Jesus Christ, it is participation in the Last Judgement. If a eat and drink without discerning the body and blood or discerning myself prepared, then I eat and drink judgement on myself.

So, the Church encourages us to share our goods in order to maintain physical health, but she discourages the same policy in regards to the Eucharist precisely because She wants us to maintain our spiritual health, and not be damned.

Different policies because the goods involved are different.

Patrick said...

But wait, we're using your logic, not mine.
"So, the Church encourages us to share our goods in order to maintain physical health, but she discourages the same policy in regards to the Eucharist precisely because She wants us to maintain our spiritual health, and not be damned."
Representing a Protestant who is flaunting your rules for inconveniences sake, I believe that simply worshipping however I want is healthy for me. It is you who are putting rules in place that I don't agree with. With your logic, rules are irrelevant because it is I who decides because I ignore your authority for rules when it inconvenient me This is why the Pope and the Catechism specifically wants us to adhere to border policies: your logic placed in all areas of your life turns to anarchy. This is a slippery slope Property Rights argument that even the Church recognizes is not the same as a specific Pro-Life argument.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Ah, but it isn't a question of what you feel is right or what you think is right - it is a question of what is OBJECTIVELY true and right.

Human law can be just or unjust, and human permissions or refusals can likewise be just or unjust. Divine law cannot be unjust - it simply isn't possible.

So, if I have excess food and you ask for food for your family, I have no objective right or reason to refuse you food: I have excess, after all.

I *MIGHT* still refuse you food because I'm an ass. But if you take some of my food in that situation, you have not stolen anything from me because it was my duty to give it to you to begin with. I might prosecute you as a thief, I might even get you jailed, but the entire process by which I do it is unjust and YOU have been treated unjustly because I *OWED* you the excess food I had.

With the Eucharist, it is different. God doesn't owe us anything.
At all.
Nothing, nada, zip, zilch, goose egg, empty set. We're lookin' at a great big empty here.

He permits us to partake of the Eucharist if we have diligently prepared ourselves, but He doesn't *OWE* us the Eucharist.

Thus, the law against any but well-prepared Catholics receiving is a just law, in the same way that the divine law which says it ain't stealing to take from someone whose duty it is to give is also a just law.

Patrick said...

However, I have an obligation to stop you from taking from others as a matter of self-defense and the defense of others. The Church has always recognized this right. As Pope John Paul II's Annual Message for World Migration Day states: "Today the phenomenon of illegal migrants has assumed considerable proportions, both because the supply of foreign labor is becoming excessive in comparison to the needs of the economy, which already has difficulty in absorbing its domestic workers, and because of the spread of forced migration." He goes on: "Illegal immigration should be prevented, but it is also essential to combat vigorously the criminal activities which exploit illegal immigrants."
The vast majority of people agree that legal ways should be found to implement helpful migration policies, however both the Pope and the Catechism agree that illegal immigration is wrong. Anything less does not follow Catholic policy or philosophy because by suggesting that people should break laws you are indirectly allowing people to be exploited into dangerous situations. You are not only advocating that people be placed in danger, but you are indirectly supporting that culture. The Church obviously recognizes that danger - it's amazing anyone would have issues with the Catechism or the popes on this matter.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Patrick, that statement is from 1995 - over twelve years ago.

We've currently got an unemployment rate of 4.7% - which is considered full employment.

In other words, if it were not for illegal immigration, we would have an acute worker shortage.

Patrick said...

So, we ignore our current Catechism? Do we ignore our current Pope? Do we continue to push for a way of life that places the life of immigrants into both danger and exploitive behaviors instead of into a culture where they can be legally defended because they went the more inconvenient route? Is that where we are as Catholics? I'm happy the Church does not agree with that attitude either in spirit or fact.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Let's take a look at the statement you quote:
"Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption."

Are the political authorities making it difficult to immigrate "for the sake of the common good"? I don't see how that's true, given that our common good requires workers to fill all the job openings we have. They're earning money and sending it home keeps Mexico stable - would you prefer a civil war down there? How would that help ANYONE? So, no, I don't see how immigration obstacles are for the sake of any common good.

"Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens."

Immigrants pay taxes at the same rate as the general citizenry. They are Catholic, so they have at least a generic Christian respect for the country's spiritual heritage. I don't know what "the material heritage" of a country is, so I can't speak to that.

The only laws these immigrants consistently break are immigration laws, laws that are roughly equivalent to letting your grass grow too high or doing 40 in a 25 mph zone. That is, they show as much respect for American law as Americans do.

I can't see how the immigrants are violating anything the Church teaches.

Jordan Potter said...

I said "Nations may defend themselves but they may not do so at the expense of the rights of others."

Patrick said: The Catechism doesn't agree.

I'm not aware of any statement in the Catechism that says national self-defense may legitimately encroach on the rights of others.

"Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens."

There's nothing in there that says nations may defend themselves using means that violate human rights. Your Catechism prooftext is a non sequitur in this context.

Anyway, I haven't seen it demonstrated that Steve or I contradict the general principles summarised in your Catechism prooftext. It certainly doesn't endorse stern anti-immigration laws, nor does it prescribe what a nation should do with those who enter without permissory documents.

Mike Hussle said...

Steve-
A random question- in your post "But it ain't racism", you don't address the fact that legal immigrants to this country, including hispanic/latino, are opposed to illegal immigration. Are they suddenly racist too? Or could there be valid reasons why those who respect the rule of law do not want open borders or amnesty for those who've broken our immigration laws?

Check out: http://dontspeakforme.org/

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Legal immigrants are often (not always) opposed to illegal immigration for the same reason Cesar Chavez, the organizer of unions among farm laborers, was opposed - it's competition.

And don't think there isn't racism among Hispanics.

Spanish citizens are the highest in the hierarchy.

South American Spanish speakers do not like Central American Hispanics, Central Americans in turn look down on Cuban Hispanics and absolutely EVERYBODY thinks the Mexicans are scum. They're at the bottom of the totem pole.

Most of the Hispanics you see opposed to Mexican immigration are from Guatamala, Chile, Argentina, etc.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

As an aside, the hierarchy of Hispanics is kind of like the reaction of New Yorkers and Californians to Alabama cotton farmers and other inhabitants of "fly-over" territory, only with a lot more venom...

Patrick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick said...

Two documentaries you may want to watch on the topic is "Brown is the new green" or "Loving Mexico to death." You may be using really old information.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

I work in a Catholic parish in the DFW area - the Hispanic minister (a recent college grad) was shocked to discover that not all Hispanics love each other.

I already knew about the hierarchy of love, but she independently confirmed it from among the people she has worked with every day for the last eighteen months.

c matt said...

I agree with you on the Hispanic hierarchy thing, except that everyone knows Argentinians are at the top ;)

c matt said...

Another problem is that "Hispanic" is not a racial category. So you have South Americans of European descent (i.e., white) categorized with indigenous South Americans (eg, Guarani tribe). So it would look to an outsider as a wierd intra-racial prejudice when it is more realistically your typical inter-racial preijudice. True, there are regional animosities as well. But a lot of it falls along the European/white vs. native/indigenous category. For some reason, the further south you go, it seems the more white, less indigenous the population gets.