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« Free stuff! | Main | The National Secular Society sort of gets it. The priestettes are clueless. »

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Comments

Jeff

While I'm glad to hear the USCCB state something about immigration reform other than, "We all just need have a big group hug," they also sound a lot like the folks we've sent to Capitol Hill -- out of touch.

Howard

Sadly, there seem to only be 3 positions getting any attention.

1. Have no restrictions on immigration whatsoever. This would be a disaster economically and socially. Unfortunately, many priests and bishops seem to think this would be a great idea.

2. Strengthen and rigorously enforce existing immigration laws. Deport all illegal aliens. If your plan is to speed up the transformation of the US into a police state, this is a great way to go.

3. Maintain the current system. This has most of the faults of the other two positions: immigration is barely restricted and contempt for the law is fostered, but the law can come down with crushing effect when it is arbitrarily enforced. I can't see why anyone would support this system unless they want the immigrants here, but afraid to go the police; the system seems designed not to prevent illegal immigration, but to unjustly exploit it.

There are better alternatives, but voters today seem to prefer one cartoonish extreme or the other.

AJ Mauldin

1. Hold employers accountable for hiring illegals.
2. Stop forcing communities (ie tax payers) to provide services for illegals.
3. IF the current course continues, allow legal aliens and citizens to pick one law to ignore with impunity.

John Herreid

Let the record show that there is some disagreement by co-workers here.

Carl, may I offer a different take?

The situation we have in the US, epecially in states that grow lots of food, is an economy that relies on cheap labor—mainly immigrant workers. Since we have a restrictive worker visa program and very restrictive immigration quotas (put in many years ago), its kind of a given that illegal immigrants are going to be filling the labor pool. And whoever fills that sort of labor pool will inevitably take more in state services than they pay in, whether they be citizen or non.

As for this:

A May 9, 2005, study from the United States Government Accountability Office re: illegal aliens noted that:

you don't mention that it is about illegal immigrants in prison already. This does not reflect every illegal immigrant. In fact, the areas that have high amounts of immigration (legal or non) tend to see lower crime. See here.

The Arizona law comes at a time when the area has been hit hard by the recession. As such, it seems to me that the problem of illegal immigration has served as a convenient scapegoat for Arizona's politicians to aim anger in one direction. Which is what the bishops are concerned about. The rationale behind the bill (high crime, etc) has been shown many times to be either non-existant or flawed. See some helpful links from the American Catholic blog here.

Anyway, I tend to agree with Bishop Kicanas here. There's been a lot of mis-directed rage here at a broken system, where the target hasn't been the system itself, which needs reform, but at the people who are here filling a labor need that many Americans don't wish to acknowledge.

Carl E. Olson

John: Just to be very, very clear: I am not opposed to immigration. Not in the least. I'm not saying you think I am, but experience tells me that if I don't say it clearly, someone will manage to put words in my mouth. I am, however, opposed to illegal immigration.

Thanks for the links. The American Catholic piece states that one problem with the AZ law it it "would making it a crime for an illegal immigrant to try to get a legitimate job..." How, pray tell, can an illegal immigrant get a legitimate job if it is illegal for illegal immigrants to work in the U.S.? It's this weird "illegal but legal" thing that continues to befuddle me. But, of course, we made this bed, so we have to sleep in it; there is plenty of blame to go around, without a doubt.

Having said that, I should note that I actually agree with many of the concrete solutions proposed by Bishop Kicanas. Personally, I think it is insane on every level to try to round up all illegal aliens and deport them. His proposals seem practical and balanced. What is maddening to me is that there is a constant appeal to the federal government to Do Something, yet the federal government not only seems unwilling to do anything of substance, it seems more intent on playing politics and bad-mouthing states that are trying to address real problems.

Patrick Coffin

And there is sending employers of illegal aliens to jail for violating Federal law. The sight of a golfing buddy CEO getting escorted into a cruiser on the 6 o'clock news would have a salient and quick effect on the problem from the hiring POV. Actually, the AZ law will REDUCE the chances of so-called racial profiling because all stops and queries by law enforcement will have to be justified by more paper work and upstairs accountability, unlike the status quo.

Undocumented schmundocumented. This Canadian living in the US and married to a Latina is fed up. Bishop Kicanus' line about the back of the line, etc. sounds about right.

Is this post misdirected rage? And where is the system broken, exactly, apart from the lack of enforcement and of legislative spine? I'm asking.

John Herreid

Just to be very, very clear: I am not opposed to immigration.

No worries, I didn't think otherwise.

The American Catholic piece states that one problem with the AZ law it it "would making it a crime for an illegal immigrant to try to get a legitimate job..."

Yes, that is confusingly worded. Not sure what he was trying to say there.

the federal government not only seems unwilling to do anything of substance, it seems more intent on playing politics and bad-mouthing states that are trying to address real problems.

Well, the states seem to be more than willing to play politics with this as well (witness the posturing of Joe Arpaio or John McCain's recent embarrassing campaign ads). To a certain extent, it seems that a fair number of people know this is a hot-button issue and would like to keep it that way, the better to play political football with.

Thomas Mellon

Your example about your house being taken over is an extreme, fanciful example to justify a legal position which reminds me of the extreme, fanciful examples that pro abortionists use to justify their idea of the rule of law.They might be hard and and tragic but they never, or very rarely occur.
By all means have reasonable laws that control immigration, but stop the scaremongering,or at least stop being so scared.

Carl E. Olson

an extreme, fanciful example

Also known as an analogy. It's not meant to induce fear, but to make a simple point: proper language is essential to addressing issues of law, order, and morality. How, exactly, is this "scaremongering"? Goodness.

justify a legal position

Yes, and that position is this: illegal aliens/immigrants are here illegally. I know it's an extreme, outlandish position, but there you have it.

Howard

Carl, even criminals and scoundrels retain certain rights. Let's take another example: Should landlords be required to rent apartments to couples who cheated on their first spouses, divorced, and married someone else? They've profaned a sacrament and (I would argue) are more damaging to society than a typical pair of illegal immigrants, yet the law says they may not be denied housing that is available to others. The reason, of course, is that housing is needed for survival. Well, employment is needed for survival, too.

LJ

"We are concerned that passage and implementation of these laws take away time and resources from local and federal law enforcement, making it more difficult for them to focus on dangerous criminals."

Interesting. Someone else who hasn't read the AZ law. Under that law it is precisely and only when a law enforcement officer arrests or detains someone for another violation, (in other words, doing their jobs as they would normally be doing) that they can check someone's immigration status, and then only with probable cause, such as failure to produce ID.

The federal law doesn't come anywhere near to that rigorous a standard. The feds could stop you for any reason at all, if they were so inclined. What a bogus argument.

It has also always puzzled me that the Bishops, the self-righteous political left and the unions are all so perfectly happy to pay these poor illegals dirt for wages, claiming that the economy depends upon it. Wasn't that the same kind of argument that the south once used to justify slavery?

Here's an idea. Use some of the stimulous money, or left over TARP money or even some BP money and build several massive employment offices right on the border, staffed with ICE people. Supply office space for employers of all kinds to set up camp, even the AFoL/CIO. With very little investment they could set up photo-ID machines (COSTCO can make a photo-ID in three minutes)

Then build the fence with a well lit and electronically monitored highway along the rest of the border. Yes, even over the rough terrain. If it's a technology problem, get the Mars Rover guys on it, they will soon have nothing better to do.

The only legislative requirement would be a modification in the guest worker program, and the green card system. Any one without photo ID could go to the border, register and get one. Ultimately, anyone working without such an ID would have to get one post-haste or be deported. In the long run it would be possible to know exactly how many guest workers were in the country at any given time and who they are. Companies would be able to hire anyone with that ID, but because it would now be above the table, such things as wage rates and deductions would have to be above board too.

On the Mexican side of the fence there could be placed large signs with arrows pointing toward the employment centers.

So what does this do? Puts the coyotes out of business for starters. Stops the drug cartels. Leaves the ranchers in peace. Creates a photo-ID computer file for each guest worker. Anyone that is actually coming from the Middle East via S. America with terrorism on their minds could be ID'd and/or diverted. Employers would have a one-stop labor shop. Those who come to the border legitimately looking for work would find it right there at the border and would have an ICE ID to show anywhere in the country. Photo ID would help cut down on ID fraud.

Bottom line. Those who are legit would have legal status and jobs. Anyone else would be out of luck. Then start dealing with those who are already in the country.

gb

"why would Catholic bishops wish to support the unlawful over against the lawful?"

Well, actually, they have before. E.g., abortion is currently "the lawful" in this country & so they've consistently supported the 'unlawful'. The issue here isn't the legalities of the USA but the natural law.

You say, along with many others, that you don't have a problem with immigrants, just with illegal immigrants. May I ask, when, exactly, did your ancestors come into this country? Mine came in a variety of ways...some fought in the Revolutionary War, some came through Ellis Island and, at least one that i know of, simply sailed from his home in Europe & landed in Wisconsin & said often thereafter that he was just "waiting for the government to catch up with him." Fortunately for him, he died about 50 years ago or he'd be an illegal too I guess.

My point is that, if you're going to go by who is here illegally & who isn't, I doubt very much that anyone would have a 'purebread' card punched and, if we come down to that, we'll be in the same camp as the Arayan Nation. I think the point the Kicanas is making is that, while penalties need to be imposed, every single person has to be treated with the dignity due their personhood first and not with retribution or as a political pawn...which both parties are obviously eager to do.

Carl E. Olson

Carl, even criminals and scoundrels retain certain rights.

Did I say or argue otherwise? No. And the AZ law doesn't either. But nations and states have the right to have reasonable laws about citizenship and responsibilities that come with living in a country as either a citizen or a non-citizen. I went to school in Canada for two years (1989-91), and during that time I couldn't work there, even though I was lawfully in the country as a student, and I went through all of the proper channels to attend school there. Was that fair? Well, I knew such was the case, and I obeyed the laws of Canada. An illegal alien does not have a "right" to gainful employment in the U.S.

The issue here isn't the legalities of the USA but the natural law.

I'm not sure what you mean by this, gb. The point about ancestors possibly being illegal immigrants is rather beside the point, especially since the U.S. grants citizenship to those born in this country, regardless of how the parents made it into the country. The argument that I shouldn't point out the illegal status of illegal aliens because my great-great-grandparents may have been illegal is hardly persuasive. Does this also mean I can never say anything about the objective nature of sin because I have sinned?

every single person has to be treated with the dignity due their personhood first and not with retribution or as a political pawn

That's all fine and good. And, as I've noted, I do like many of his suggested proposals. But his criticism of the AZ law is ill-founded and not helpful. Something is upside down when states seeking to address real problems with legitimate means are considered the bad guy, while those who have engaged in illegal activity are given every benefit of the doubt.

Manuel G. Daugherty Razetto

Carl:

Boy, am I glad that bishop Kicanas has, finally, appeared in our comments...

The man is worth looking into, for many reasons.

Kicanas, came to Arizona to help Bishop Moreno of Tucson when the old bishop was quite sick. Once he became the Bishop of Tucson, which is where I live, this Diocese began to learn how liberal he turned out to be.

Kicanas was, prior to his being transferred to Tucson, the Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago where he grew up, and was later ordained. He was also head of an old and well known seminary, which after many years had to be closed due to lack of vocations.

Since his inception as Bishop of Tucson, Kicanas has shown to be a typical liberal prelate that is highly politicized; one of his pet projects is the treatment of illegals as victims; for him they are not illegals, but persons with Dignity deserving all our care and help. He never mentions that such invaders come here, willingly, with only a desire to cross the border, in hiding and knowingly that what they do is against the law. None of this bothers the mind of our good Bishop.

I would hold judgment about Kicanas if I were you, for now. The man is, evidently, a priest with great personal aspirations and desire to be of importance in the Church. I have come to know him rather well; although we have not conversed personally, from our correspondence and reading his work, etc, I can attest that one should be cautious about this ambitious and progressive bishop.

Later on I'll be glad to inform you more about our Most Rev. Bishop of Tucson.

Rich Leonardi

The sight of a golfing buddy CEO getting escorted into a cruiser on the 6 o'clock news would have a salient and quick effect on the problem from the hiring POV.

Bingo. Leaders in industries like construction practically have smirks on their faces over their lawbreaking. Meanwhile skilled native-born or legally resident tradesmen can't find work.

Robert Miller

Let's not forget that it was the US that conquered and/or fire-sale "purchased" much of the West in the early 19th century. It is the US that has interrupted the natural settlement and movement of peoples in North America (not to mention, "ethnic-cleansing" it, in contrast to the Spaniards and Portuguese who, with all their faults, at least tried to create a New World Indian-European Christendom). The future hope of the Catholic Church in North America is precisely in the in-immigration of Hispanic people from south of Texas/New Mexico/Arizona/California.

The legal/illegal distinction was created in the 1920s (an era that also gave us Prohibition). By all means, let us keep and strengthen measures to keep terrorists and hoodlums out. But Catholics should welcome the Hispanicization of the US and Canada. After all, Pope Alexander VI granted our part of the world to los reyes catolicos and their subjects, not to the pack of English pirates and heretics who later exploited it, and aggrandized their expropriation with faux noble sentiments we call the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (when, in fact, as I was taught in grade school, the English colonists' main grievance was England's toleration of the Catholic Church in French-Indian War acquired Quebec).

My main problem with Bishop Kicanas is that he wants more legislation. I say the answer is to repeal what we have on the books. Most of our forebears were neither legal nor illegal (certainly mine weren't). Why should we go back to the 1920s now?

I say: Arriba America Catolica! Viva Cristo Rey!

Howard

"Carl, even criminals and scoundrels retain certain rights.

Did I say or argue otherwise?"

Yeah, now you pretty much have. So you visited a country where you were not allowed to work. That's great if someone else is picking up the tab of if you have a wad of cash from somewhere.

An illegal alien does not have a "right" to gainful employment in the U.S. Do you think that illegal aliens have a right to be fed in custody at the expense of the taxpayer? Do they have a right to transportation back to the Mexican border? Hey, you won't find those rights enumerated in the Constitution. (You won't find the "right" to buy food from a grocer or to rent from a landlord either. You didn't address those, so I have no idea if you see the analogy.) Maybe we could confiscate everything that's owned by each illegal we capture; if it's enough to pay for his food while in captivity, transportation back to the border, and the expenses of the courts and police, we deport him; otherwise we could send him to forced labor until the bill is paid off. After all, An illegal alien does not have a "right" to gainful employment in the U.S. Well, gainful for *him*, anyhow.

Carl E. Olson

Thank you, Manuel, for the information.

Rich: Exactly. This whole issue is a great example of how the supposed rift between Big Government and Big Business is mostly for show. The two are, more often than not, in complete cahoots.

Howard: I hear you. The problem is, you're not making much sense.

John Herreid

But his criticism of the AZ law is ill-founded and not helpful.

Carl, even Archbishop Chaput--who is not a person anyone can call a liberal--has criticized the Arizona bill. As have many in Arizona law enforcement. It's very hard for me to see it as anything other than a bit of election-year politicking at the expense of an unliked, unwanted minority. And since Bishop Kicanas is the pastor not just of the citizens but of all who reside in his diocese, it is required of him to speak out when illegal immigrants (who are mostly Catholic) are being used in this way.

Carl E. Olson

John: Thanks for mentioned Abp. Chaput's column, which I missed back in May. I just read it. He states:

First, illegal immigration is wrong and dangerous for everyone involved. There’s nothing “good” about people risking their lives for the mere purpose of entering the United States. There’s nothing “good” about our nation not knowing who crosses our borders and why they’re here, especially in an age of terrorism, drugs and organized violent crime. There’s nothing “good” about people living in the shadows; or families being separated; or decent people being deported and having to start their lives all over again, sometimes in a country that they no longer—or never did—know.

Second, the new Arizona law, despite its flaws, does unintentionally accomplish one good thing. Thanks to Arizona, the urgency of immigration reform and the human issues that underlie it—deported breadwinners; divided families; the anxiety of children who grew up here but do not have citizenship—once again have moved to the front burner of our national discussions. Our current immigration system is now obviously broken. Congress needs to act.

The flaws he mentions are, apparently, the fact that illegal aliens might be deported and thus be separated from family here in the U.S. Fair enough. But that is a much more sober criticism than saying, as did Bp. Kicanas, that, "These laws also could put U.S. citizens and legal residents at risk of arrest and detention." That is hyperbolic at best; fear-mongering at worst. So while Chaput offers criticism, it is quite different in nature and tone, I think. It avoids being partisan, something Bp. Kicanas veers into in a couple of his prepared remarks.

John Herreid

"These laws also could put U.S. citizens and legal residents at risk of arrest and detention." That is hyperbolic at best; fear-mongering at worst.

Not really. I know people who have heavy accents, are Hispanic, and are citizens. Under this law, police could detain someone like this if they didn't have adequate identification when being stopped for a minor offense. I could see how this would be a worry in a heavily Hispanic state.

It avoids being partisan, something Bp. Kicanas veers into in a couple of his prepared remarks.

How are his remarks partisan? Is criticizing a law partisan? If so, why did we get involved in Prop 8 here in California? Catholic issues are bound to be seen as partisan by some, hence the left-wing Catholic criticism that the USCCB has been playing favorites with Republicans merely by being pro-life and pro-marriage.

Manuel G. Daugherty Razetto

Bishop Kicanas most serious Pastoral Letter deserves escrutiny in order to lay bare his preferential interests and mode of achievement.

"You Welcomed Me" was published on December 12, 2005. Developed and approved by the Arizona Catholic Conference. Signatories to the Pastoral Letter are: Bishop Donald E. Pelotte of Gallup, Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix and Bishop William S. Skurla of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Van Nuys (!).

After a few chosen quotes from Sacred Scriptures the bishops expressed sadness for the deaths occurred in our border, then "We have seen mounting expressions os hostility and opposition to undocumented immigrants".. "as Catholics, we are called to live out the principles of Global Solidarity".. "Based on Biblical and ancient Christian teaching that the goods of the earth belong to all people"..."Very few legal avenues are currently available to migrant workers who wish to enter the U.S. legally". All these are common expressions used by the Left as slogans in the field of 'open borders' ideology.

The 4,000 words Pastoral -I learned later from comments made by a Phoenix journalist- was the work of only one of the above mentioned bishops: the Most Rev. G. Kicanas. The meeting of the 4 bishops that took place
in Phoenix, lasted only 2 hours. It is thence evident the work was created by the bishop of Tucson who cleverly convinced the others to sign the document. The Catholic Sun, printed by the Diocese of Phoenix,published the Letter.

The principal points of the Patoral are:
- Legalization of the undocumented.
- Temporary worker program
- Immigration Reform
-Restoration of the due process protection for immigrants.

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