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Archbishop Timothy Dolan: Immigration Reform. Here We Go Again Comments

'And, here we go again!  Arizona is so scared, apparently, and so convinced that the #1 threat to society today is the immigrant that it has passed a mean-spirited bill of doubtful constitutionality that has as its intention the expulsion of the immigrant.What history teaches us, of course, is that not only are such narrow-minded moves unfair and usually unconstitutional, but they are counterproductive and harmful'. Continue Reading

91 - 100 of 117 Comments

  1. John Grimes
    4 years ago

    We get a strong taste here of the way many readers of this site think. They are more than willing to follow (and rightly so!) their bishops in opposing abortion, homosexual activism, and other examples of sexual anarchy. It just so happens that these positions also fit the political agenda of many conservatives who are not Catholic. But your readers demonstrate frequently that the real source of their political actions has little to do, in fact, with Catholicism. When Bishops like Dolan speak about social justice issues, about militarism (the enduring cancer of American life these days), and about war and peace issues, it turns out that the bishops in question are all wrong, haven't read all the docs, don't understand reality, are talking about non-doctrinal questions, etc., ad nauseum.

    In my view, Catholicism ought to be made of sterner and more consistent stuff than what many of your readers harbor.

  2. Irish Catholic
    4 years ago

    Archbishop Dolan didn't even give short shrift to the genuine problems experienced in Arizona that led to this law; instead he completely ignored them. At best, his letter was hastily written and borne of presumptuous ignorance.

    1. On average, one person is kidnapped every single day in Phoenix. Arizona has the second highest kidnapping rate in the world, with the infamous Columbia being number one.

    There was no similar problem when Immigrants passed through Ellis Island under the eye of Lady Liberty.

    2. The crime rate in Phoenix is SIX TIMES that of New York City. The major factor contributing to this is the ILLEGAL immigrants and the ORGANIZED CRIME SYNDICATES who smuggle illegal immigrants and illegal drugs into Arizona and beyond.

    There was no similar problem when immigrants passed through Ellis Island under the eye of Lady Liberty.

    3. Since the federal government, both Republican and Democrat administrations and many members of Congress, have STEADFASTLY REFUSED over 15+ years to properly secure the borders to prevent every interested Tom, Dick, and Harry from getting into America, innumerable Arizonans have been killed including on their own property by people who have no legal right to be in this country. Arizona has had it!

    The Archbishop from faraway New York shouldn't be commenting when he clearly has no knowledge as to A) what Arizonans--including many, many US citizens of Latino heritage--have endured for so, so long with precious little help from Washington and B) what the ACTUAL LAW says. It tracks with long-standing federal law--federal law that has, shamefully and with deadly consequences, gone unenforced for years. Furthermore, it specifically prohibits race from being the reason a person is asked to show their proof of being in the US legally.

    Is the Archbishop aware that it's been federal law for decades that those in this country on a visa or green card carry such documents with them at all times? Has he traveled abroad? To do so, he would need a passport, cannot overstay his visa once there, and were he to break the law, perhaps by speeding, when he was pulled over, he'd be asked for his driver's license. Once his American accent was heard, the police officer might very well ask for his travel documents. Would the Archbishop think twice about that? No. So why the hysteria about folk stopped for apparent infractions of the law in Arizona potentially being asked to provide their travel documents if the police officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally--or even legally but from another country?

    Archbishop Dolan, please go back and read the bill and then consult with an Arizona supporter of it who can calmly and knowledgeably review it with you. State Rep. Cavanaugh might be a good person. He was a cop for many years before his election to the legislature and was a guest on Anderson Cooper's show 2 nights in a row this week explaining the situation in AZ, the bill itself, and how the bill would actually work on the street.

    Finally, as others have pointed out, there's an ENORMOUS difference between coming here legally like most of the immigrants who came through Ellis Island and coming here ILLEGALLY. To conflate the two is a disservice to the truth and thus divisive. Distortions divide; truth brings honest people together.

    Another major factor of note is that in the faraway days of immigration through Ellis Island, there weren't ANY ENTITLEMENTS like we have now so there weren't enormous financial burdens on 'native' New York resultant from legal or illegal immigration. Free provision of top notch health care to those in Arizona illegally has been a major factor contributing to the bankruptcy and closure of numerous Arizona hospitals and clinics with legal immigrants and 'natives' hurting from that.

    The angry, one-sided letter from Archbishop Dolan is the kind of thing we've grown accustomed to expecting from lazy and biased columnists...but not at all from him and I sincerely hope he'll read the law then review then rethink and finally rewrite to reflect the real situation and the real law in Arizona. Perhaps he could pray for knowledge and discernment of the truth and wisdom as to the right course going forward. The Catholic faith recognizes the right of sovereign countries to secure their borders and to protect their people. The latter is surely a duty, isn't it?

  3. Ronald Mulvaney
    4 years ago

    Hooray for you Archbishop! Everyone should know that we miss him in Milwaukee! He'd often set us straight in the archdiocese when we needed it. Now, fortunately for the church, he has a much bigger pulpit where church teaching can be proclaimed. There's a lot of work to be done in this larger pulpit. Most Catholics just don't know their catechism. They especially don't know the church's social teachings. And they don't pay much attention to the Bible either. They have no understanding of property rights (folks, read the Psalms, Psalm 50 says it ALL belongs to God). They ignore the Bible's commands regarding hospitality, care of the poor and the treatment of aliens and strangers (Mt. 25: 43 is bad news for these heretics). But, not withstanding, they're unafraid to contradict an archbishop of their church who DOES know church teaching and who is unafraid to state it!

  4. Wes Lisitza
    4 years ago

    In the spirit of objectivity, I have to question Arch-Bishop Dolan's stance and motive here.

    As Catholics, we have a duty to obey the laws of a country that we reside in, after questioning whether or not this law is just. When laws are unjust, we stand for Truth and defend that Truth in order for justice to be done.

    While immigration into a country due to poverty or opportunity are just causes, breaking laws that a country attempts to enforce fairly to all nations coming in is not just. Do illegal immigrants consider the decreased number of African immigrants coming to the United States because of their acquiring land and employment? What about the immigrants from the Middle East, Korea, or Vietnam escaping oppressive regimes and totalitarian sects of government or religious thought?

    Arizona passed an immigration bill because it grew tired of waiting for the federal government to finally enact reform. So how is enforcing the law deplorable? Should you go visit one of the countries in the EU, or even go to Mexico, you would find that this law of requesting to see papers is pretty universal. You'll get stopped by police from France to The Netherlands to show why you're in their country, and do you know what happens when you can't produce? They arrest you and send you packing. Mexico does this, too.

    Why is Mexico bothered by Arizona's law? Because its own government is too lazy to bring about reform within its own welfare structure. Mexico has the same industries as the United States. They make cars, build technology, offer college education, have abundant agricultural stock, telecommunications and marketing, etc. How does Mexico deal with its poverty, though? It pushes the jobless over to the United States. Some of them have houses, families and children in college back in Mexico, while they work here in Texas, North Carolina, Arizona California, you name it. And in the United States, they have secondary houses, families, and children in college. Where does the Church make a statement about infidelity and adultery, or the encouragement of this immorality upon Mexico's government which breaks up families?

    Honestly, I'm tired of the argument being so US-centric. Isn't it time we called out Mexico's government on this?

  5. Ahard
    4 years ago

    I posted this on Archbishop Dolan's blog, but they have not seen fit to print it.

    Dear Archbishop Dolan,
    I believe that you say what you do out of belief that it is the right thing.

    However, so do I. I live on the border. My great-grandparents were in Mexico in the 1800s and came to the United States in 1910, during the Mexican revolution. I look white though and because of that have an understanding of both sides of the issue.

    These facts have forced me to study the Church's teachings on immigration. I know for a fact that I can, with the full authority of the Magisterial Church, disagree with you on this issue. And I do in spades.

    You need to be here to be able to fit the facts of the situation to the template of Church teaching.

    I will not go into it all. I would have to write a thesis. But if you give amnesty or if you allow these people to stay in the United States you will be doing the following:

    Imbedding the drug lords and the smugglers into this society permanently because every illegal and legal Mexican is related to them by blood, marriage or transaction and live in fear of them. That fear makes it impossible to turn them in, to fail to cooperate with them and to fail to pay them protection money for the family left in Mexico.

    Go beyond decimating Mexico. There are 12 to 20 or more million illegals in the U. S. If they get amnesty and each bring in two people pursuant to family reunification, that means 36 to 60 million people here from Mexico out of a population of 100 million. My Mexican relatives down there speak about the need for Mexico to wake up and quit sending their children out of the country thereby destroying the Mexican family.

    Failing to distinguish between refugees, asylum seekers and just plain illegal immigrants. The former deserve our hospitality to the extent we are able. The ordinarily illegal alien does not.

    Failing as a Shepherd of all the people, including legal American residents, to support justice for all, such as the legal who has lost their identity or their job.

    Failing to speak out against the exploitive corporations who use these poor people for slaves and the pandering politicians who want them for votes.

    Failing to speak out on the whole of the Church's teaching which says the first solution is to help the sending countries fix their own social problems (JPII and B16)

    We cannot afford this. Neither can the sending countries.

    Please rethink this issue and encourage your brother bishops to do the same. And please quit spending Catholic money on a negotiable social issue. Save it for the non-negotiables like abortion etc.

    Thank you.

  6. SD
    4 years ago

    I too am a devout Catholic. I agree that we should have compassion for the poor. But, I also believe that we have to respect everyone, including my fellow Arizonans that are sometimes victims of illegal immigrants. For example, it happens fairly regularly where they cause car accidents and then flee the scene - leaving their "kind hosts" to pay for the damage. Illegal immigration can be likened to a "home invasion" where they clean out your house and do damage. Then you call the police and they arrive to only tell you that there is nothing that they can do because their hands are tied. So, what then is the solution?

  7. Annely
    4 years ago

    I admire Archbishop Dolan, so I am sadden to have to disagree with him on this issue. The Archbishop should stop using the word "immigrant" to describe everyone who enters our country. It is important to differentiate between those who break the law by entering illegally, and those who patiently and legally enter through our country's immigration system.

    Americans and American Catholics by and large see them as two separate groups, being sympathetic to the legal immigrants, and less than sympathetic to those who sneak in.

    Are the citizens of Arizona not entitled to protect themselves and their property from the societal ills and the crime that come with the out-of-control illegal immigration in their state?

    We must be cautious when the U.S. bishops speak on political issues. With healthcare, they used their position as leaders of the Catholic Church to put forth a non-Catholic position, confusing many Catholics and non-Catholics alike as to what the Catholic Church truly teaches on the issue. Yes, they should speak out on the life issues, but to push for socialized medicine, so contrary to Church teaching, was disgraceful.

    Likewise, this immigration issue is a political issue, and the bishops should be very cautious in how they speak on it. They should stop demonizing good Catholics for their understandable and legitimate views on the matter.

  8. Joe W.
    4 years ago

    Also, cf. Lev 17:33-34
    33 "When an alien resides with you in your land, do not molest [trouble] him."
    34 "You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; have the same love for him as for yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt."

  9. Joe W.
    4 years ago

    One important thing to remember (though certainly not the only thing), is that long as we want the same thing as what the Church teaches--regarding stealing, lying, sexual sins, divorce, killing innocent individuals, loving our neighbors, etc, we can disagree on political method in achieving the same goals. So, for instance, I am for the efforts to recognize constitutional personhood for all humans, from conception to death. Right now, most bishops will not publicly endorse such efforts, because they think they will fail. Most bishops think we should work incrementally. I don't. But I can be a good Catholic and work for pro-life legislation that my bishop has said he doesn't support. This has been the situation for me and friends in various dioceses (Denver, Orlando, Jacksonville and Venice), where the bishops are definitely very passionately and actively pro-life.
    So...don't worry. I think that as long as you love your neighbor, you can disagree with your bishop about the implications of that regarding immigration law. (But, don't disregard it because it sounds "liberal".)

  10. John
    4 years ago

    The illegals in this country are not the scapegoat! They are here illegally. Why are they not required to follow the laws established in our country? Are they incapable of becoming citizens of this country? A number of their brothers and sisters have become citizens. What has happened is the illegal has more rights than the citizen of the USA, they will never participate in defending this great country unless they become a citizen. If you are not for our country then you must be against our country. Citizenship is a very important part of our country, to not be a citizen implies within itself the the person has chosen not to be a part of this country. Arizona is saying you have received enough free milk, now make a choice become a citizen or go back to your native country. We the Body of Christ the Catholic Church understand our duties to help those in need of help, and we stand with open arms to those who want to become citizens of this country we will help you, those of you who don't want to be citizens of this great country it is time for you to go home.

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