Immigration reform becomes a Catholic ‘pro-life’ cause

A chat with O’Malley

After the Mass at the border Tuesday morning, O’Malley sat down for an interview with the Globe. The following are excerpts from that conversation.

Concretely, when you call for immigration reform, what do you want?
We need to roll back the deportation mania that’s taken place in the last couple of years. We need to rethink these detentions centers that are costly, unnecessary, and very often penalize people who are not criminals. We need to do something about quotas, making it easier for people to come. There are segments of our economy that depend on immigrant labor, and that should be recognized in the law rather than forcing people to enter illegally, which often means they’re exploited and in competition with American laborers.

There’s a huge downside to allowing the present situation to continue. With the borders as tight as they’ve become, seasonal workers are often trapped here now. They can’t go back and so they’re separated from their families. There are also a rising number of unaccompanied minors coming into the country, and that’s a problem.

Can a Catholic who takes church teaching seriously support the status quo on immigration policy?

No. First of all, we’re not only a nation of immigrants, we’re an immigrant church. Many of our families had very difficult challenges when they came to America, so we should identify with the suffering of these people. Pope Francis’ term [about attitudes towards migrants], the “globalization of indifference,” is a very apt way to describe how people have allowed themselves to turn a blind eye to the human suffering and the tragedies that are taking place.

So a Catholic in good faith has to support immigration reform?

I think so, yes.

Pretty clear black and white statement here.

Do any American Catholics here support the status quo?

  1. I don’t think the borders are as tight as some might think. People may be amazed at what goes on there.

  2. There’s a lot more than just hard-working Mexican families with dreams of a better life crossing the border.

  3. Sovereign nations have a right to regulate their borders, and the Church supports this.

  4. I’m no fan of the mass-deportation mentality. For one thing, our agricultural industry needs the labor to harvest the food…or it sits and rots and we’ve got hungry people—yes we do!

It also shows real ignorance and hypocrisy when it comes from people without kids and/or those who expect to retire with full SS and other government benefits. It also bolsters the idea that some folks really do seem to think it’s 1950 and America will stay strong and plentiful no matter what. :rolleyes:

  1. There’s no question that families get split up and the government (surprise, surprise) wastes resources and gets immigration issues wrong a lot of time. Case in point: German homeschoolers versus illegal immigrant criminals driving around. :rolleyes:

I don’t, and we tried this the last time in 1986. Reagen gave amnesty, and I’ve heard the democrats didn’t keep up their end of the bargain.

We’re not going to get anywhere with this unless the following happens:

  1. More conservative/traditional/homegrown folks need to WAKE UP regarding demographics. People, namely Caucasians, African-Americans and Native Americans are NOT having kids. For instance, the idea of having a kid at 18-19, getting married because of the kid at 20, and getting divorced at 23 and moving back in the parents will NOT cut it as a model for society. Children and families need stablity and the culture needs to stop pretending that having all sorts of combinations of families other than traditional families is a great thing.

  2. Those who have a problem with lots of different people around should look at themselves and how many kids they have and start connecting the dots. If Americans (ie Catholics) were having reasonable sized families, immigration would not be as big of an issue. People come here because there is demand for work and because some will just give them handouts in many cases for their own nefarious purposes. This must STOP.

  3. Liberals need to stop this strategy of relying on immigrants, minorities and single women to bolster their numbers because the incentive to win elections (in some cases with illegal votes) is interfering with solving this issue.

Frankly, a lot of folks on the left don’t want this solved so they can party on the rest of their lives while immigrants do all the heavy lifting. :rolleyes:

In short, Americans, STOP the excuses and the personal selfishness, just like with any other issue on the docket! :rolleyes:

Really, it’s not rocket science!

The only political incentive at play here is from the far right wing of this country who would rather see people live in the shadows and families torn apart instead of legalizing them where they could possibly vote. Instead of trying to court their vote they would rather deport or keep them oppressed. The day THAT stops and right wingers put something other than their own election hopes as the top priority then maybe something can get done.

The Church does indeed respect that the demographics of a country do not need to be altered just to appease immigration.

According to you philosophy, it would be okay to totally change the demographics of a country like Italy if it meant letting in 20,000,000 Muslims from North Africa and other places. Forget about the votes of Native Italians, forget about the rights of Italian citizens.

An untrue generalization which discounts true social justice principles, among them, the common good.

I’ve read more than a few immigration threads without ever seeing a post supporting the statusquo.:slight_smile:

However, there are many diverse viewpoints about how to best address immigration problems -and diverse viewpoints about what exactly constitutes an immigration problem.

One problem not mentioned too frequently, but which has been a tremendous concern for my own family involves the long wait for those who wish to legally immigrate to this country to join family.

We had relatives wait over 10 years before they were able to come here. That’s a tremendously long wait-for both adults and children age and language/employment challenges can intensify as a result.

Queue jumping ( illegal immigration) has both ethical and material implications for would be legal immigrants and their host families and for our society as a whole.
I do not think there is an easy solution to immigration problems. There are issues which need to be addressed in both sending and receiving communities and all of these issues are so complicated.

Let us pray for all immigrants and for the help of Our Lord in overcoming challenges faced in both sending and receiving countries.

May our actions conform to His Most Holy Will.


I credit the bishop for his wisdom in softening that last question. “I think so” allows for the possibility of disagreement. I think Luigi his an important point about Democrats not wanting true immigration reform. The status quo works to their political favor. I keep think fiscal conservatives are going to realize one day what a tremendous resource and opportunity stands ready for us in this large group of people who are willing to work. I am all for penalizing the people who are here illegally and allowing them to stay legal and contribute monetarily to the society where they reside. We can do “the American Thing” and gain economic advantage from this workforce while helping their situation at the same time.


In the end, Hispanics have been shown to be one of the biggest pro-choice voting blocs around, you want abortion, look at California.

Higher than the National Abortion Rate by quite a bit:

Texas abortion rate lower and will obviously fall more because of recent abortion clinic closures.

If you don’t want to help the least of your brothers, if you are not pro-life, be for amnesty.

2 cents-

  1. My biggest difficulty is that the current government cannot seem to do anything ANYTHING prudently with wisdom and foresight.

  2. My second difficulty is that my government has rejected Christian values in very serious matters.

The two statements may be related: (2.) cause and (1.) effect.

How can I support any massive change that lacks subsidiarity? I think that is something I would look for: Is the proposal practical and does it work at a local level empowering people on the ground who are most impacted by the development?

And yes I think the Catholic Church in the Americas has a huge education problem. Anyone who knows the Church would never leave Her (or vote to kill the unborn.)

I’m speaking from a European perspective here. I don’t know enough about the situation in America to have a qualified opinion on that. But here in Europe there is a lot of sand being thrown into people’s eyes. Immigration is sold on the grounds of it being charitable and humanitarian while in reality it is only serving the interests of the super rich. It undermines the incomes of working families by replacing blue collar jobs by immigrants who live below the poverty line, while the money saved goes into the pockets of the rich who in turn bankroll the political parties who support immigration on grounds of humanitarianism. One hand is effectively washing the other.

We are being told we need immigrants to support the demographic growth we need to finnace our pensions and wait for it - finance the unemployment benefits of those who cannot find work because of it. But what will happen when these immigrants grow old and will also need to be supported? We will need more immigrants. The whole thing is a massive Ponzi scheme on a scale the world has never before experienced. We are being encouraged to be lazy to justify more people. But we are rapidly running out of land. Forest are being cut down and agricultural land torn up at an unprecedented pace. Already we are unable to feed ourselves and we would be starving if it were not for food we import. Yet governments are allowing further land to be destroyed at an alarming rate.

And this is supposed to be somewhow good? Supporting it is supposed to be serving God’s will? I don’t think so.

Demographics are immaterial in the eyes of the Church.

The rate of abortion conducted in abortion clinics in Texas is falling. For now, that’s all we know. To draw inferences about true abortion rates in Texas, we would probably need population statistics that calculate the numbers of ‘missing’ babies (based on expected or past numbers) over a particular period of time.

Not that any of this is relevant to whether Catholics should support immigration reform. The choice is not immigration OR life. If we CHOOSE to, we can make it immigration AND life.


Guest worker programs and other similar foreign worker certification programs are *not *a good idea because they cast workers into a second-class citizen status and put their fate into their employers’ hands, creating an opportunity to exploit them. They also encourage employers to turn full-time jobs into temporary ones at reduced wages and diminished working conditions – something we’re already seeing as a result of Obamacare.

This is an argument based on a stereotype. I hope everyone will click on your links to discover this lie you present. There is zero evidence that Hispanics are the “biggest pro-choice voting blocs” on these websites.

Again, I will start accepting that this is not about prejudice when prejudice against groups of people stop be offered as evidence. Here are some more statistics from an anti-abortion site.

Whites, blacks, protestants and Catholics are all a greater user of abortion than Hispanics. Should we speak ill of them as well?

Read any debate about immigration and one quickly sees that Malthusian economics are alive and well on the political right.

You have indeed brought up a very important point, I too have had to go to great lengths in working for the money to have my husband join us. It is absolutely criminal to force the law abiding to pay through their nose at huge cost to the rest of the family which takes years to recover from while not expecting the law to apply to all. Immigration is a challenge which needs to be as fair to the both sides of the debate as possible, but it most certainly cannot continue where the law abiding are taken for idiots.

Yet, if you are wrong, then this above statement is only name-calling.

Please list any debate that shows Malthusian economics are alive and well on the political right. Also please list any country that has more illegal immigration to it.

Again, to use an example, the thinking the left wants to foist on people would seem to mean if you have 20,000,000 North African Muslims illegally migrate to Italy, then Italy should declare them Italian citizens or they are being Malthusians in Italy and Italy would lose it’s cultural identity.

Canada, Switzerland, MEXICO, Russia, nowhere has open borders, seems if one can’t make a good argument, might as well fabricate an argument. I guess all of these countries are Malthusians as well.

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