According to Roman Catholic Archbishop Michael Sheehan, the U.S. House proposal to build 700 miles of fence along the Mexican border in New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and California is "a very hostile act".
What is really “a very hostile act” is the recent incursions by the Mexican army across our southern border, allegedly to assist drug runners in bringing their poisons into the country. The drugs are aimed at our children and grandchildren.
Archbishop Sheehan seems to have no condemnation of the open border that allows this to happen.
Sheehan condemns the U.S. House bill as “mean-spirited” because it does not include a “guest worker” (amnesty) provision to allow the twelve to twenty million (latest Bear Stearns estimate) illegal aliens to stay and work in this country. He calls on the Senate, which will soon take up the bill, to include amnesty. It is widely thought to be a vehicle for the senators to include the “guest worker” provisions demanded by the president. Many of these senators have contributors who profit from the cheap labor of illegal aliens. Republicans are in this category. Also, the Democrats see nothing wrong with the amnesty because they perceive that the Mexicans who settle here will be their voting bloc.
Mexicans are outraged by the House bill calling for a border wall, likening it to the Berlin Wall. Of course, they have it backwards. The Berlin Wall was erected to keep a communist country’s people in. A wall on our southern border would help to keep people out who have no legitimate right to be in this country.
Sheehan said the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also favors the McCain-Kennedy bill so far because it shows more mercy and practicality. In touting the 1965 Immigration Act the same Senator Edward Kennedy reassured his colleagues with the following:
“First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same…Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset…Contrary to the charges in some quarters, (the bill) will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia…In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think.”
Senator Kennedy concluded by saying:
“The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standard of admission. It will not cost American workers to lose their jobs”.
The senator was wrong on all counts except one: it did not inundate the country with immigrants from Africa or Asia, because they were required to use the legal and more difficult procedures for entering the country. They could not just come across a border and stay here illegally. However, adding twelve to twenty million of one nationality does “upset the ethnic mix of our society”. One has to wonder why the bishops think that one nationality should be favored over all the other people who are waiting in line to come here legally. The advocacy for one nationality above others leaves them open to the charge that the bishops want to swell their ranks and fill their pews with new Hispanic Catholics.
Catholic membership has been decimated since the 1970s. An indication of the drop is the information that priests have gone from about 58,000 to under 45,000. In 1965 1,575 new priests were ordained; in 2002 only 450. The number of teaching nuns fell 94% during this time. The bishops were in charge while this decline was happening, but instead of examining their part in it, they call for disregard of America’s laws.
The bishops have mounted a campaign to “welcome the stranger”, urging their fellow Catholics to make their political will known in this regard. They have voiced concern that their “aiding and abetting” by helping mostly Mexicans get jobs, live here and even purchase houses here is coming under the microscope of the general public and fear they may be held legally accountable for doing so.
If the amnesty is passed it will make all the illegals suddenly legal and the bishops will no longer have to worry about possibly being liable for breaking the law. As it is, they ARE breaking this country’s immigration laws for the aid they are giving some illegals right now.
The Federal Immigration and Naturalization Act spells out laws and penalties for “aiding and abetting”:
A person (including a group of persons, business, organizations or local government) commits a federal felony when he or she
Assists an alien s/he should reasonably know is illegally in the U.S. or who lacks employment authorization, by transporting, sheltering, or assisting him or her to obtain employment or
Encourages that alien to remain in the U.S. by referring him or her to an employer or by acting as employer or agent for an employer in any way, or
Knowingly assists illegal aliens due to personal convictions.
Further prohibitions are spelled out, but of particular concern to the Catholic Church is the part of the law which says:
IT IS ILLEGAL FOR NONPROFIT OR RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS to knowingly assist an employer to violate employment sanctions, REGARDLESS OF CLAIMS THAT THEIR CONVICTIONS REQUIRE THEM TO ASSIST ALIENS.
Harboring or aiding illegal aliens is not protected by the First Amendment. It is a felony to establish a commercial enterprise for the purpose of evading any provision of federal immigration law. Violators may be fined or imprisoned for up to five years.
The law is further defined at length. RICO is mentioned as a redress to obtain injunctions and treble damages against enterprises that conspire or actually violate federal alien smuggling, harboring, or document fraud statutes under the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO).
Catholics have always been taught to obey the laws of the countries in which they live. They have also been taught that the end does not justify the means. It seems that certain church leaders should have had enough of paying millions of dollars in penalties to victims of child molesting priests who were shuffled around to avoid detection. No further disregard for the law, well-intentioned as it may be, is acceptable to the laity, who support the church and have to pay the penalties.
Catholics are part of the over seventy percent of citizens, when polled, who say they want illegal immigration halted. It seems The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has put itself above the law and out of step with its fellow Catholics.
Barbara regularly writes for CapitolHillCoffeeHouse. She also appears in California Chronicle, Border Patrol, and Citizens Caucus. Her primary interest is illegal immigration, but she writes about other subjects as well.
Barbara lives in a large city on the West Coast. Her loyalties are with God, family, country, heritage and borders.
She enjoys music, painting, poetry and song writing.