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THE FLOUTING OF THE LAW AND THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION CRISIS

November 28, 2021 Comments off

The immigration crisis that has garnered so much attention for this entire year is a direct result of Joe Biden’s actions when he came into office of, for all practical purposes, just inviting swarms of people to ignore the law and cross the southern border into the country. Nor was there any secret about what his and his obliging party’s intentions were: let substantial numbers of immigrants in and move them to citizenship down the road so they will, in gratitude, become faithful Democratic voters–with the result that the Democratic party will have permanent political power. The Biden administration, taking its cue from what Obama’s administration did, has then acted to move and settle the illegal immigrants to different regions of the country. Part of the intent under Obama was to either swing certain states to the Democrats or solidify their advantage in them, as seen with his settling of Somali immigrants/refugees in Minnesota.

Meanwhile, the U.S. bishops and their bureaucratic machinery seem to have welcomed the illegal immigrants. They have said that this is in line with Church teaching and is the proper Christian response. They don’t mention that Church teaching also stresses the need for the rule of law. Both Church teaching and sound ethics make clear that people have an obligation to follow the law, unless a sound ethical analysis indicates that a law is unjust–which is not the case with current American immigration law. While Catholic social teaching can perhaps be judged to favor a relatively liberal immigration regimen, it also makes clear that there is no absolute right to immigrate. Nations do not have to have open borders. As the social encyclical Pacem in Terris stated, one has a “right to emigrate” when “there are just reasons for it.” While political oppression and the systematic violation of human rights would meet that, it is doubtful that the simple desire to make more money would. Perhaps trying to escape abject poverty would qualify, but one wonders why so little is said about trying to further develop the economies of the nations the immigrants are departing from. For that matter, why don’t our Catholic leaders in the U.S. more vigorously seek to call attention to the substantial wealth disparities in these countries and stress the obligations of the privileged classes to do such things as use their wealth to create jobs and invest domestically. The Church has made clear that economic development should be promoted in poorer countries so people would not be motivated to immigrate. Further, it has been suggested that the massive flight of people from certain countries is actually damaging their economies because shrinks the workforce.

Further, the Church has said that a nation’s immigration policies must always be in line with its common good. So, a nation has no obligation to let immigrants flow in if it means that its indigenous workers will have their jobs threatened by newcomers who are willing to work for sub-par wages. Stimulating unemployment and ignoring the need for a just wage to be maintained hardly promotes the common good. This is in addition to the harm to the common good done by allowing the rule of law to be ignored additionally by government turning a blind-eye to businesses that violate minimum-wage laws in doing this (here, again, the Church’s emphasis on the need to obey the laws is spurned). Nor is the common good upheld–or basic fairness to the actual citizens of a country–when the state is expected to provide all types of social services and even, perhaps, public assistance to people living in it illegally.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that immigrants must respect “the material and spiritual heritage” of their new country. What this means is that they cannot set up alternative cultural arrangements that can, again, do harm to a nation’s common good. It seems as if this has been happening with Islamic immigrants in some European countries who have congregated into ghettoes and seem to be disconnected from–and even resistant to–the traditions and practices of the indigenous population. This is seen strikingly in the attempts to have sharia law instead of the laws of the nation govern in their communities. While we may not see something to this degree with the immigrants coming to the U.S., it is not at all clear that they are willing to respect our traditions and practices.

There are other, more serious implications of large numbers of people present in a country whose traditions and even animating principles they do not support. The result is almost inevitably –at some point–division and civil tension and strife. It is one thing to talk about ethnic diversity. Rightly understood, this is a healthy and even enriching thing for a nation. However, as Americans have traditionally understood, e pluribus unum–out of many, one–must be our aim. Nations must be built on unity if the common good is to be upheld and, in the long run, if they are even to survive.

There are further serious implications for our American democratic republic in the future if massive numbers of people are here who really don’t believe in it and its fundamental principles. At bottom line, republican government is only sustained if there is a commitment to it in the minds and hearts of the people.

Back to the rule of law: besides being stressed by the Church, it has been almost at the center of the American political and legal tradition. It could not be otherwise for a democratic republic; it is the means of avoiding arbitrary rule. One wonders if people who from the outset are lawbreakers–who are present in the U.S. because they flouted the law–are likely to uphold that principle and can be depended upon to not violate other laws when they are here. Indeed, by holding down jobs here as illegal immigrants they are in an ongoing illegal arrangement. Moreover, if massive numbers of people who have flouted the law to get here are allowed to stay –even more, were encouraged by our government officials to ignore the law and come here–will it not encourage others to violate other laws? Pretty soon the rule of law may become meaningless. So what is to be done? To seriously address the illegal immigration situation requires a national response and the federal government is the key because it controls immigration; it’s a matter of federal law. Obviously, nothing will be done by the Biden administration. Even when they feel some political pressure about it, they don’t reverse course but instead engage in such devious maneuvers as flying illegal, unaccompanied minors from the border to places in other parts of the country in the dead of night and have them quietly slip into the population. The needed response must await a Republican administration. Even though in strict terms a massive barrier at a nation’s borders is not desirable, in light of the massive illegal immigration–to say nothing about human trafficking and drug smuggling–the border wall must be completed. The Border Patrol must also be beefed up, perhaps with a larger number of personnel than ever before. That will not solve the problem, however, since millions of illegal immigrants are now in the U.S. The federal government must simply undertake a nationwide effort to find and round up the illegal immigrants and make arrangements to transport them back to their home countries and even to the very locales that they came from there. This would not apply to the Dreamers, who were brought here illegally years ago as children by their parents and have never known another country, or to people–small in number–who have genuine asylum claims. Nor does standing law seem to necessitate some kind of legal process for removal, except to discern such things as asylum claims. Illegal immigrants have no legal right to be here–they violated the law in coming here–and they simply should be removed. If any of them want to come here legally, it will be up to them once back in their home countries to follow the proper procedures to do that.

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