Is U.S. immigration policy "broke"?

I am trying to understand the social teaching of the US Conference of Catholic Bishop. In particular, I am sent a copy of the Archdiocesan newspaper of Los Angeles called The Tidings.

Archbishop Gomez has an essay in virtually every issue promoting immigration reform in the United States. ONE ISSUE that he raises is that the US immigration policy is “broke(n).”

Can somebody explain to me what is “broken” about the U.S. Immigration Policy?

(I don’t want to get into the whole statement of the bishops, just this one issue. I think I can only handle one issue at a time relating to immigration.)

One of the “broke” aspects in the eyes of the Church would be how current US immigration policy and law results in some families being split up due to a parent or both parents not being citizens but one or more children are.

Super easy to immigrate illegally. We are surrounded by evidence of this. Super hard to immigrate legally. Ask any legal immigrant how easy it was. Do not be surprised if you hear a horror story. ICE tends to be tough on the law-abiding and soft on the law-breakers.

Here is a Church-related example: A west coast seminarian from Asia was due for ordination to the transitional Deaconate. US Immigration denied his family’s visas (business owners in their home country) to attend. So, he sought the appropriate permission from his Archbishop and had to fly halfway around the world to be ordained - to a temporary position - in his home country. One year later, he was ordained to the priesthood. This time, immigration rubber-stamped the visas and his family flew to the US with no problem.

Are you kidding me?

I agree. Ever heard that no good deed goes unpunished? That’s what happens. I understand that the government wants to control the flow of people coming in; but unless they streamline the process, people will come here illegally and have their “anchor babies” (born here - automatic citizen).

That’s the other part of the law that’s “broke” There is no such thing as an anchor baby in Mexico.

How come no one ever seems to mention that Mexico with its endemic and typically unchallenged corruption is the problem? Why are her citizens risking and losing their lives to leave the nation of their birth - the nation they love? US law is not compassionate - it is enabling corruption and misery to flourish next door.

According to the Mexican Nationality Law, a child born on Mexican Soil is a Mexican citizen regardless of who the parents are, just like in the United States.

Ditto on all accounts. The process to get a tourist visa can take months and lots of money. I believe work visas require a job offer and student visas require acceptance to an educational institution. Permanent resident alien cards (“green cards”) require sponsorship from an employer or an immediate family member. Honestly, the way the system is set up, it favors people coming over illegally and then legalizing their status later.

Add to this the fact that agriculture pretty much relies on undocumented immigrants due to citizens pretty much refusing to be agricultural workers and few agricultural companies opting in to the special visa program for agricultural workers due to all the regulations involved. Seriously. After a few states in the South passed harsh measures for undocumented immigrants, the harvests literally spoiled due to the severe lack of workers.

I will try to keep this as short as possible. I’m an immigrant to the USA. I came here in 1999, and became a citizen in 2008. English is my first and only language.

I remain in NC. I tried to find out how to become a citizen online and then attempted to contact the ONLY immigration office in NC, which is located approx. 3 hours from my home in NC. After trying for a few weeks, several times a day, I could not get through. I drove there, and noticed a line outside the door. A guard located at the door. He told me I’d have to come back very early in the morning. The doors open at 8am. I went back the next day, arriving at 6am and got into the already huge line. They closed and locked the doors at 10am and told the rest of us to try again. I went back a few days later arriving at 3am. I barely got in the door this time and they closed/locked it. 100 people allowed in the building at any given time. I waited several more hours, and was finally called up by my number. I asked questions for the proper forms and they told me to go home and look it up on the internet. So much for getting information, as I had already done this and there was nothing offered on their site. My several hours of waiting inside the building, I noticed guards with hands on their rifles, yelling at people to sit down and yelling at mothers to “shut up their kids”. I attempted to use the one little restroom and left again as there was a drain in the center of this room and it was surrounded by urine and feces.

So off I drive home again. I decided to try the immigration office in SC (closer to my home anyway). It was empty of people and the workers there were pleased to help me, gave me all the forms needed and a checklist of items to collect and copy. I still had to use the NC office though as that is where I live.

After completing everything, I made another trip to Charlotte arriving at 2am and standing in freezing temperatures again for hours, I got in and handed the package of completed form over. They told me that one of them needs to be signed by a border person and I would have to drive to a border to have it signed. A few days later I drive from NC to Detroit, cross the border, turn around and enter the USA and discuss with the border patrol. They now refuse to let me back in the country and wouldn’t even accept my TN visa of which was my legal status in this country to begin with. Now I have to fight this from “outside” the country. My job is in this country also at this time. So I drive to another border, enter with my TN Visa and go home to NC. I go back to Charlotte again and explain regarding the wasted trip they sent me on and they apologize saying someone gave me very bad information.

After 2 years of this I finally became a citizen in 2008, and things have now changed in Charlotte. I wrote letters to the editors of new papers, congressmen, senators and anyone that was willing to listen. I told them my whole story, and actually I thought I was one of the lucky ones as I could speak english. I simply couldn’t imagine doing this in another language.

So is the system broke? You bet!

Yes, yes, yes. As Catholics, what is it possible to do to help the poor in Mexico? What can we do to make the government there better? Probably nothing…Does anyone think that relaxing of some US state’s drug policies will make a difference, or is it really just the “hard drugs” that cause so much havoc in Mexico? What would the pro-illegal immigrant crowd have us do - - let in the entire populations of poor or corrupt countries?

Sounds like one office was “broken”. My husband is a Canadian, and we have been through all this stuff many times. No problems dealing with this stuff at our local office (although a hassle, no undue problems.
You are totally to be commended for bringing attention to the horrendous problems in Charlotte - - that’s awesome that it is much better! :slight_smile:

Do you mean The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops? :hmmm:

Very skeptical of this. Any link? Spanish is fine.

Here is the more official link, to Article 30 of the Mexican Constitution.

Sounds like the citizens’ paradise!

They must be crazy to come to the US… :rolleyes:

In an article dated five weeks ago, Archbishop Gomez identifies two issues which make the current immigration system broken. (There are more problems, but the article addresses two issues.) One of those two issues is the unjust treatment of children, brought illegally to the US as infants or small children. These children grow up in the US, and are identical to citizens in all ways, other than their immigration status. Why should those children be punished (denied education and employment) for the crimes of their parents?

I believe that part of the problem is that there is no clear cut policy. Lots of politics, but not a lot of clarity.


It is broke because after 3 appeals no criminal record and being brought into the US as a minor my husband was still given a voluntary deport in 2011, we were married in the US with his passport but all because his mom decided to bring him here as a kid and because she put him to work at a young age he is condemned to mexico me and our 4 children along with him. I have spent so much on different lawyers trying to get his 10 year bar lifted my last lawyer told me that if you are from mexico or guatamala or honduras or el salvador and you didn’t file before 2010 forget ever getting legal unless serious reforms happen. Immigration discriminates against families a childless couples affadavit of support is only 19885 of yearly wages a family with children is 49985 I earn 26000 so we’re out I can forget him coming back even after his 10 year bar is up. Immigrants do the jobs americans are “too good for” they pick your produce, they clean your homes are nannies to your children, they tend your lawns, all for less than minimum wage the majority are tax payers. The bible itself warns america
Leviticus 19:33-34
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Malachi 3:5
“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts

Remember this land was built on the backs of immigrants and slaves our country’s track record is not good in the eyes of the Lord we degrade the immigrants, we rob them of a fair days pay we trade with godless china shutting down jobs for our own citizens, we kill the unborn, we allow sin to flourish in our streets, we send our best and brightest men and women to die for political greed making widows and orphans America should have great fear and trembling of the Lord they should end this futile war and bring our troops home they should abolish abortion they should reform immigration bring work home for americas skilled workers and tradesmen.

Arghhhh! Why do citizens not want to do the work? Because labor prices are artificially low due to a supply of people willing to work under the table for a very low wage. Also, if the undocumented workers weren’t here, I bet farmers would be more willing to do the paperwork necessary to get them here legally. I grew up in an agricultural area. All the kids would pick strawberries, raspberries, etc. for the summer to make some money. (I don’t know if they still do). I recall seeing families of Asian immigrants (I believe Vietnamese) come in and pick, and oh boy - - could they work fast!

Okay, see that’s the thing. In order for citizens to do the work and stay at the job, it’s figured that the wages offered by agriculture would have to be upwards of 3 or 4 times the amount currently paid, plus benefits. And then the rest of us would have to pay much more for food, as well. I’m not saying I’m against that, I’m saying - would we be willing, in general, as a people, to pay the price at the supermarket for a wage that would attract and keep US citizens to work in the agricultural field?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit