Friday, June 30, 2006


Fr. Richard Neuhaus is one of the brighter lights on the East Coast, and he ruminates on the question:

In terms of what’s good for the American economy, I am impressed by the arguments of the Wall Street Journal and many economists that a more or less open immigration policy is, all in all, an economic plus. The Catholic bishops are also undoubtedly right in their insistence upon compassion for the twelve million or more illegal immigrants already here, and it does not detract from the moral integrity of their position that the great majority of immigrants from the South are Catholics, and therefore immigration is seen as benefiting the Church.

At the same time, as Mary Ann Glendon notes in the current First Things, there is in the bishops’ statements a conspicuous lack of concern for obedience to the law. Law and order does not guarantee justice, but there can be no justice without law and order. I expect that most Americans are not sure precisely what should be done about immigration but are appalled by the specter of lawlessness. What they perceive is a non-policy for immigration that is wildly out of control, and they have slight confidence that the people who framed the laws now so widely violated with impunity can be trusted to bring the situation under legal control.

...The snarled muddle of laws and regulations for getting into the country legally is manifestly not working, which gives people little confidence in the complexity of new procedures proposed by the White House and Senate. Meanwhile, there is the prospect of millions of more illegals pouring across the southern border.

The political elites seem to be indifferent to the disruption of communities resulting from unbounded illegal immigration. I expect that is in large part because they don’t live in those communities. ...

...I have been critically appreciative of the urgings of Samuel Huntington (Who Are We?) and others who contend that at stake is whether the United States will remain a sovereign nation in legal and cultural continuity with its history. Such arguments may be overblown, but they cannot be dismissed as nativist or lacking in moral seriousness. Anyone who thinks a devotion to nation and peoplehood is incompatible with Catholic social doctrine should spend some time with John Paul II’s last published book, Memory and Identity.

There is a local businessman who virtually froths at the mouth when he mentions Jim Sensenbrenner. This businessman claims adherence to Catholicism and advocates a virtually open-borders position, linking the two.

He's wrong on the substance--there is no incompatibility between Catholicism and Order on the Border. None whatsoever. Nor is there a xenophobia, nor racism, nor nativism in demanding that the United States be the final arbiter of "what's good for the county" in terms of immigration.

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