Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

A Letter on Immigration

Below I am reprinting a letter that I just sent to the editors of Zenit, in response to a letter they published by Ms. Carole Winder, concerning immigration reform and the situation of persons dwelling in the US without the authorization demanded by our government.

I found her letter appalling. She quotes St. Thomas Aquinas but knows nothing of His spirit.

"Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the letter of Ms. Carol Winder. I hope that you will publish my thoughts as you published hers. She is correct in citing St. Thomas Aquinas that there is no charity in injustice. But she is badly under-informed about the current conditions under which illegal immigration is undertaken in the US.

Immigration laws are currently very hodgepodge and self-contradictory. Moreover, their enforcement is remarkably variable. Enforcement of immigration laws is negligible, for instance, during the harvest season, and then draconian immediately afterwords. This pattern is hypocritical. A friend of mine reports a like hypocrisy detected during his time in the Catholic Worker House in Houston. Busloads of illegal workers were taken to New Orleans to be hired by contractors (who knew they were illegal) for rebuilding projects. They were told that in the US, pay isn't daily, but every other week. On the thirteenth day of work, the buses to take the men back to their bunk lodging instead took them to INS centers set up for the occasion. The men were deported, deliberated left unpaid for their labor, and on the following day more busloads arrived from Texas.

This treatment is slavery by fraud, with the implicit consent of the government, in an effort to keep costs down so that re-settlers can profit thereby, and should sting any well-formed Christian conscience.

The selective enforcement of immigration laws is hypocritical and amounts to a new wage-slavery at best, and outright slavery at its worst. It is not a secret, one only has to open newspapers to read accounts of slave rings busted up or of truckloads of immigrants locked and abandoned in holds on the side of the road to roast to death under the hot sun in broad daylight.
We do not have a glut of unskilled labor in the US, but a severe shortage of it. The middle class is experiencing hardship because its skilled and professional job opportunities are wearing thin, not because there is a run on jobs at McDonald's or your local landscaping service. Yet, our true job competition, skilled and professional workers from India, China, Africa, and Eastern Europe escape any vitriol, all of which seems to focus on 'the Mexicans,' only a fraction of whom are actually Mexican.

I support an authentic reform of our immigration laws, in which we gain control of our borders, and in which our decision about how many and who we can generously permit to enter is based not upon nationality and prejudice, but upon the desire to contribute to and benefit from America's common good. An immigration reform that looks toward everyone's long term good, rather than to short-term political gains and an economy based on exploited laborers, would be heartily welcome.

We turn a blind eye to the situation at the peril of our souls. We Christians are called to be aliens of a sort in every land, with a higher allegiance to a King who dwells elsewhere. Many of those seeking entrance to this land are our brothers and sisters in Christ, baptized into our holy Faith and members of our holy Church. Woe to us, shame upon us, if we put the passing concerns of this world upon the eternal will of God for His Kingdom. Rather than that, let us use our resources and influence to structure this nation to be more in accord with the Kingdom, and yes, even to give aid and comfort to the afflicted.

Or are we not Christians, we Catholics in America?

Mr. Ryan Haber
Kensington, Maryland"

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