6 Responses

  1. Avatar Marthe Lépine says:

    A question, if I may? I don’t live in the US, therefore it is even more difficult for me to understand such laws. But according to your article, it seems to me that the treatment of those people who were brought into the US by their parents is, to say the least, problematic. Or, why is it not possible, and someone has said never possible, for these people to become citizens? In my country, if I am not mistaken, almost any person who has been in Canada at least 5 years is allowed to apply for citizenship. Therefore, whether or not their parents entered the US legally and brought their children with them, in our country those children would automatically have a right to apply for citizenship. Why not in the US?

    • Avatar Mike Lewis says:

      I am not an expert in immigration policy in the US, but we basically have a system in great need of reform, and an insurmountable amount of gridlock due to the 2-party system. One of the items on the table is “a path to citizenship” for people in these situations, which doesn’t exist at the moment.

      Maybe someone with more expertise can chime in about the specific hurdles.

  2. Avatar Christopher Lake says:

    For many years, the Republican Party (speaking here of the Party as an entity, not of individual members of the Party) seemed only too willing to allow businesses to financially benefit from the labor of “illegal” immigrants, while doing very little to solve the many problems within the broken American immigration system. With the election of Donald Trump as President, the Party, as a whole (again, not speaking of individual members of the Party here) has taken a very sharp turn away from this previous policy, and towards harshness re: “illegal” immigrants, while *still* not doing much to address the serious problems of American immigration policy. This is one of many factors that has led me, as a Catholic, to be less and less willing to publicly identify myself with the Republican Party– and this is after many years of being a loyal Republican. Yet I still cannot bring myself to vote for many (most?) Democrats either, as many Democrats are openly opposed to various Catholic teachings on other serious matters, such as abortion, euthanasia, religious freedom, and marriage. Basically, living here in the Maryland/DC area, where one is, seemingly, societally expected to either be a vocal, enthusiastic Democrat or Republican, I find that I can be neither– precisely *because* I am a Catholic who takes *all* of the teachings of the Church very seriously.

    On the subject of immigration, Pope Francis has recently made some very radical statements (“radical,” by contemporary, comfortable, Western standards, that is, although not so much by New Testament standards!). He has clearly spoken of Americans being willing to welcome immigrants into their communities– and, to my mind, significantly, he hasn’t spoken of this welcoming being only for “legal” immigrants. As a Catholic, I take his words seriously. The particular region of the U.S. in which I live (in Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C.) is very heavily populated by immigrants. As a white, only-English-speaking guy who moved here, years ago, from an almost-all-white region of Alabama, I won’t deny that I have experienced culture shock to some degree. Yet I remind myself that my ultimate citizenship (and the ultimate citizenship of all Christians) is in Heaven– and in the meantime, I am not called to any form of easy cultural “comfort” (0r comfortability!) here on Earth, but to *holiness*, however that may manifest itself. In terms of shared values and concerns, I may well have more in common with many “illegal” immigrants who are Christians than I have with many contemporary, “secular” American citizens. In any event, I pray that the broken American immigration system is reformed, seriously, and soon. In the meantime, I find myself alienated, in different ways, from both the Republican and Democratic Parties, but happily Catholic, and thankful to God for the “radical” Catholic Christian witness of Pope Francis!

  3. Avatar Daniel says:

    A helpful analysis. I think it would benefit from a discussion of international law as well. There’s an intermediate step to jumping to natural law, which is international law. I and many others would argue that US immigration law violates international law and therefore isn’t itself legal.

    I’m just not willing to concede that this is simply a positive law versus natural law issue.

  4. Avatar Allen W Thrasher says:

    We in the US have a serious unemployment problem, especially for unskilled workers. It may be far larger than it usually appears, because, in an era when the number of physically taxing jobs, or those considered dangerous, is decreasing, the percentage of the working age population on disability is increasing; I suspect the collaboration of sympathetic physicians willing to stretch the truth. Unlimited immigration means a permanent labor surplus, which means unemplyment, plus suppressed wages for the employed. It is particularly unjust for blacks and other groups historically discriminated against, including long-term Hispanic citizens. It might well seem unjust, moreover, that the Hispanics have now surpassed blacks as the largest minority population. Are there enough affirmative action slots or enough funds for transfer payments by way of reparation for both, when both are clamoring for them? I doubt it.

    One’s obligations to one’s own are greater than those to others; those of a country or the state to its own citizens than to foreigners. In a parallel case, if one were contributing heavily to a free medical clinic in Papua New Guinea but a near relative had a treatable medical condition which insurance would not pay for, it could not only be permissible but obligatory to cease the one’s donations to PNG, even if people there suffered badly.

    The case in parts of Europe is IMHO, even stronger. E.g. Italy has a colossal rate of youth unemployment, so how can it absorb vast numbers of young men with few modern skills from the Near East and Africa, especially if they are utterly alien in religion and culture, and according to much testimony, behaving lawlessly and arrogantly?

    • Avatar Adrian Rehak says:

      “Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.” Quoted from above. It says that immigrants are OBLIGED to respect with gratitude the material AND SPIRITUAL HERITAGE… obey its laws… assist in carrying civic burdens. That is the problem. Many, perhaps most, illegal immigrants accept few and frequently none of their responsibilities. Illegal immigrants who commit crimes, or go on welfare, or refuse to assimilate, refuse to learn English, refuse civil responsibility create the environment that existing citizens do not want them. CCC says, “…more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able…” Those illegal immigrants who create the environment such that they aren’t wanted create the problem that more prosperous nations find they are unable to accept them. It may be that the bad apples spoil the whole barrel and perhaps the majority would be good citizens. However, the evidence from California seems to indicate that ghettos of illegal immigrants have very little interest in assimilating. It also means that Muslims have no right to bring Shari law into any countries to which they immigrate. Has that gone well? Absolutely not. Therefore, if immigrants won’t accept their responsibilities, why would ANY country want to accept them? Finally, I do think USA immigration law needs improvement to accept more LEGAL immigrants while retain no illegal immigrants. Unfortunately, Congress is totally ineffective to accomplish of value. This is especially true while the Democrats are only interested in hating Trump and not in the good of the country or any potential immigrants.