Illegal Immigration and the Church





I admit to some puzzlement as to why the Church in this country is so stridently in favor of illegal immigration.  The Church in America being in favor of legal immigration I can understand, with so many Catholics tracing their ancestry to the waves of immigrants from Europe in the 19th and early 20th century.  But until the day before yesterday in historical terms the Church was never in favor of illegal immigration.  I think much of it tends to be that many of the powers that be within the Church in this country tend to favor the political left in most contexts.  They are embarrassed that fights over abortion,  gay marriage and religious liberty aligns the Church with political conservatives.  Being in favor of illegal immigration allows these clerics to align with political forces they find much more congenial.  Jack Cashill at The American Thinker gives us a case in point:



Motives, however, are rarely as simple as money. On the question of the church’s motives, one local Catholic explained how the noisy “peace and justice” cliques within the church seized a new opportunity to lure the Church leftward. As she explained, these cliques were attempting to negate the rightward drift of practicing Catholics on life issues by elevating workers’ rights to a comparable status. In the 2000 election, she noted, they tried the same tactic with the death penalty. 

The problem for the P&J crowd is that the Catholic Church considers abortion “always morally evil” — “murder” in fact — but has no official position on immigration, legal or otherwise. One can read all four gospels and every encyclical ever written without encountering a single “undocumented immigrant” swimming across the River Jordan. Serious Catholics treat the hierarchy’s showy preference for immigration issues over life issues as some sort of Job-like test of their fidelity.

I had absolutely no intention of saying anything at the press conference. But with the woman’s lucid argument still resonating in my head, I could not resist the urge to inject a note of realism into the Q & A happy talk that followed the speeches.

“Bishop,” I blurted out, “what do you say to those Catholics troubled by your alliance with these left-leaning groups given their historic affection for abortion rights?”

The Bishop looked at me as if I had just peed on his shoe. “What are you talking about?” he scoffed. As respectful as I try to be to my Catholic clergy, I did not appreciate the public dissing. “Let me tell you what I mean,” I answered and elaborated in more detail what I had already said.

“This isn’t about left or right,” he finally answered. “This is about justice.”

“Bishop,” I smiled, “May 1st? International Worker’s Day?”

I had expected the other reporters to give me the evil eye, but they did not. My question seemed to remind them of the role that reporters used to play, “Bishop,” said the next fellow. “You keep saying that the Church is supporting immigration. Isn’t this really about illegal immigration?”  I did not have time to listen to the answer. I had a 12 o’clock appointment across town, and I had already spent $9.00 on parking.

A few months later the unions repaid the Catholic Church for its support in a way that left me feeling much more insightful than I actually am. The Los Angeles Times summarized the issue succinctly enough: “California’s leading union organization, bucking organized labor’s long-standing neutrality on the issue of abortion, is for the first time taking a strong stand in favor of abortion rights.” 

Specifically, the union asked its 2.1 million members to reject Proposition 85. This initiative would merely have required abortionists to honor the standards of ear-piercers and aspirin dispensers and get parents’ permission before going to work on their daughters.

Spearheading the union assault on parental rights was none other than Dolores Huerta, star of the press conference I had attended at the Cathedral. As the Times noted, Huerta, “a Roman Catholic,” had persuaded a pro-choice group to put its many interns to work passing out pro-abortion propaganda to the union delegates before the vote was taken. The union support proved crucial in defeating Prop 85 by a narrow 53 to 47 margin.

Said Tod Tamberg, an Archdiocesan spokesman, “It doesn’t preclude us from working together on those areas where we do share common concerns.” The “it” in question is the union’s decision to sanction what the church considers to be murder. In the battle for the Hispanic soul, the Church hierarchy had already surrendered, and God only knows why.

Go here to read the rest.  When it comes to illegal immigration, faithful Catholics are being taken for a ride either by duped clerics or by clerics eager to join forces with groups who have no love for the Church and her teachings.

More to explorer


  1. “I was a criminal and you welcomed me.”

    “I was a murderer and you welcomed me.”

    “I was a thief and you welcomed me.”

    Shaw 7:9

  2. Said Tod Tamberg, an Archdiocesan spokesman, “it doesn’t preclude us
    from working together on those areas where we do share common concerns.”
    The “it” in question is the union’s decision to sanction what the Church
    considers to be
    So, if I follow Mr. Tamberg’s line of thinking, the Church should avert Her eyes
    and lend support to any group with whom “we share common concerns”.
    I’d ask Mr. Tamberg and his fellow travelers: if NAMBLA sought the Church’s
    help setting up a program of, say, mentoring inner-city youth, would Tamberg
    likewise urge the Church to ignore Her revulsion and give the group Her
    support? And if not, Mr. Tamberg, then why not?
    I would agree that there are all too many in the US Church’s administration who
    are more interested in using Her infrastructure and public presence to further
    their own political ends– even when those ends are contrary to the Church’s.
    What can we do about it?

  3. “What can we do about it?”

    By protesting it and calling the purveyors of this type of malarkey out each and every time. Too many times Catholics simply suffer in silence when “professional Catholics”, ordained and unordained, use the Church as a hobby horse for their cause du jour.

  4. Immigration has been a ‘theological issue’ from the time of the Exodus and giving of the Torah. They did not use the word ‘immigration’ but instead, ‘resident alien’. Now that can embody many categories today, it certainly encapsulated those Canaanites, etc who still lived in Israel [as the Native Americans do with us today]. Rahab and her family were a prime example of this-and became the forebear of King David, Solomon and Jesus Christ Himself [see Matthew 1.1-18]. It encapsulated those who migrated into Israel for many reasons-famine, etc. as we see in the Moabitess Ruth, who again became the forebear of David and the Lord Jesus. Justice was to be done with and for them for Israel themselves had once been ‘aliens’ in Egypt (as had the Patriarchs at various times).

    Archbishop Kurtz, the present head of the National Bishop’s Conference recently wrote a pastoral letter to his own diocese which is instructive. I believe. In it he called for immigration reform within the law. That’s the way to go IMHO. Make legal immigration, one that does not split families etc ‘easier’ [now the exact dimensions of what that means is way beyond my pay scale and I presume each person in here has their own position on the matter] However, I know that at least one wing of my ancestry from Ireland landed in New York long before Ellis Island was set up and working. They certainly did not have papers when they arrived. I have a sense they were lucky to be walking off the boat. At that point, the Irish men were met at the docks by reps of the Democratic Party offering to help them at least get a meal etc. They were also met by the military who needed ‘able body’ men to enlist in the US Army to fight in the Mexican-American War [Somehow my male ancestors did not get into that war, they would later fight in the Civil War].

    A major issue at the moment of the illegal immigration is the failure of Mexican, Central and some Latin American countries to establish justice within their own borders. Some are still ‘banana republics’ where oligarchies rule and the rest suffer destitution. They do little or nothing for their citizens, and now with the drug cartels do nothing to protect their citizens from these new ‘mafiosa’.

    There should be and is a way, although I also know that it is complex, through this whole problem of ‘immigration’. I can tell you that the solution is not to do anything. Another solution is not to make this a liberal/conservative issue as tempting as that may be. Socialism in Cuba and now Venezuela is not working. Liberation theology in its ‘politicized’ [social class based and open to acts of violence] is dying or dead. Thanks be to God. However, the Church [and I mean from the Pope on down to all of us] cannot collude either with ‘the status quo’ in these ‘banana republics’ or in the byzantine politics of liberal and conservatives in America. “You shall not oppress the resident alien” still holds.

  5. Don, you’re right about the illegal alien thing being used to draw the Church leftward. But you know, helping these criminals will backfire on the Church. This idiocy will tick off all the Non-Catholics in this country and turn many of them into Anti-Catholics. And also, what guarantee do we have that these ‘immigrants’ will be good Catholics or good citizens? They’re already criminals by virtue of being illegal aliens. News story after news story shows these people tend to be drawn into other illegal and criminal activities, and reports over the years show that even many legal south of the border immigrants tend to drift away or outright leave the Church for Evangelical sects a few years after they come here. Our fearless leaders need to do some serious rethinking of their immigration policies before they do even more damage to the Church and our country.

  6. ‘You shall not oppress the resident alien’ still holds.”

    But the right and duty of the State to set reasonable limits on immigration also still holds.

  7. Milton Friedman said, “You can have a welfare state or open borders, but not both.”

    About 92 million Americans (ages 16 to 64) are unemployed or no longer looking for work – lowest labor force participation rate in decades.

    God Almighty has not altered the laws of supply and demand, nor has He willed the necessary, immediate globally-huge expansions in the Earth’s exploitable resources, jobs, and capital assets.

    The mendacious Messiah has been unable to save the American middle class even despite $7 trillion in added national debt and the FRB printing $3 trillion (most of which went to Wall Street, special interests, crony-capitalists, et al).

  8. Some Catholics and evangelical Christians are beginning to feel like resident aliens in their own country.
    Ruth did cross the Jordan from Moab. She accepted the Torah and abided by the laws and customs of Israel.
    When we find ourselves in a hole, the standard advice is to stop digging. And dithering. Closing the border and severely limiting new applications for even legal immigration until we can get a hold on it. O for leadership that pleases God!
    People who are here and cannot be immediately turned back will just have to be converted! to pro life, law abiding Catholic capitalists! 🙂

  9. “But you know, helping these criminals will backfire on the Church. This idiocy will tick off all the Non-Catholics in this country and turn many of them into Anti-Catholics.”
    I was thinking this on the way home just a few minutes ago. If reports of a January job memo are to be believed (the gov’t looking for logistics companies to bus massive amounts of people throughout the country), then perhaps this was part of the plan all along–to divide the Church internally. The bishops and priests may be all for keeping these people here (many are in fact children), but vast numbers of laity are not, including many who are regular contributors to the collection plate.
    For my part, I’m at a loss as to what to do about this. I don’t see any good answer to this problem.

  10. “When we find ourselves in a hole, the standard advice is to stop digging. And dithering. Closing the border and severely limiting new applications for even legal immigration until we can get a hold on it.”

    I think even 10 years would be a great advance down the road of assimilation. We could maintain the one million legal immigrants per year with no trouble. Currently we have 37,000,000 legal immigrants in this country which is the highest in our history. The number of illegal aliens is anyone’s guess. I think the best estimate is between 12-15 million, overwhelmingly from Mexico and Central America, with a net 700,000 each year, which I expect to decline due to the birthrate of Mexico and Central America rapidly declining.

  11. to paraphrase from The Incredibles, if everyone is an American, no one is an American.

    What does it mean to be an American citizen? Do citizens have claims on their government that differ from the claims of non-citizens?

    In a way, it seems that Sister Walsh wants our earthly government to act as the Body of Christ. But who is suffering from the heresy of Americanism, then?

  12. Don

    When I read the source documents on Catholic Social teaching I see a lot of good common sense.

    When I hear or read the Social Justice advocates I really wonder how they got here from there.

    Perhaps I got through grad school with zero reading comprehension skills. Or not.

  13. I think the difference Hank is because those who claim to be champions of the SJ teaching of the Church often seize upon only a part of it, rather than attempting to understand and implement the entire teaching.

  14. I don’t know about others but it seems at least from reading Shea and some others, some Catholics believe importanting a bunch of mexicans will end up making this country more Catholic.

    Stephen Dalton, this article may be of some interest to you.

    After reading it I’m ready to compromise: Let’s seal up the border so that people can’t come north, AND guns can’t go south.

  15. Nate, I read the article you linked to, and I agree with you, seal the southern border, and I’d add, revive Operation Wetback, and send every illegal back to Mexico!

  16. Bear with me, folks, as I tell a little story.
    My wife is a Filipino immigrant. It will be another two years before she can become a citizen. She had to fight tooth and nail to get this far. Her children in the Philippines (she is a widow) find it next to impossible to get a visa to visit her here in the United States. We even considered me taking a job at new nuclear build in the United Arab Emirates (they are building five new 1500 MWe APR-1000 reactors – super System 80+ pressurized water reactors originally designed by Combustion Engineering – Obama wouldn’t think of a useful project like that here in the US, but I digress) because it would be easier for her children to visit her there in a Muslim country than to visit her here in the post 9-11 People’s Demokratik Republik of Amerika.
    I once worked with an Iraqi nuclear engineer and a Nigerian nuclear engineer at a former place of employment. Both had to go through hell and back to get here into the United States. The Iraqi man had a devil of a time getting his wife over here. He and his family are devoutly Catholic and he used to attend apologetic sessions that I ran as religious education training at a local parish. The Nigerian girl (also Christian but not Catholic, and by the way drop dead gorgeous in addition to having a better brain in her head than I have in mine) had no hope of bringing her parents here. Both were freaking great engineers. If either had been Muslim or Mexican, then the Obama Administration would have welcomed them with open arms.
    Indeed, if you’re a Mexican drug lord or welfare recipient or a Muslim protected under liberal diversity, then you get a free pass under the Obama Administration, whose enforcement of the law selectively favors criminals and indolents and anti-Christian religions. and is biased against those (especially Christians) who actually work, produce something for a living, and pay taxes. I have seen it happen with my own eyes. My legal immigrant wife worked two jobs before she married me just so that she could make ends meet and not go on state assistance. The idea was abhorrent to her. She would make a bad Democrat. (Fortunately, she has since been able to quit the night job.)

  17. It’s curious that Mexico suddenly decided to relax security on its southern border to allow immigrants of all ages from Ecuador, Honduras, and Guatemala to illegally enter into, and then pass through, sovereign Mexican territory.
    Why didn’t Mexico halt the progress of these immigrants at its southern border by denying them access to Mexico or by deporting those who successfully breached Mexican border security?
    This American border crisis appears to be a well coordinated international effort which does not pass the smell test.

  18. I agree with Slainte on this. Strange the very tough southern border of Mexico lets all this huge number of people through.
    Slainte said “This American border crisis appears to be a well coordinated international effort which does not pass the smell test.” It seems an almost unavoidable conclusion to me.

  19. Slainte & Anzlyne said: “I agree with Slainte on this. Strange the very tough southern border of Mexico lets all this huge number of people through.
    Slainte said ‘This American border crisis appears to be a well coordinated international effort which does not pass the smell test.'”

    I agree with both of them.

  20. My daughter attended an all girls Catholic school. There were no illegal in that school. Why isn’t the Catholic church educating the illegal? Why does the taxpayer need to pick up the tab. The Catholic church should put its money where its mouth is and pay to send every illegal to a Catholic school. They are so much better than public schools and illegals deserve a good Catholic education at the expense of the Catholic Church

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