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Immigration and Borders: Both Sides are Right, Both Sides are Wrong

By DEACON PATRICK JONES
11/17/2016 | Comments

According to Catholic social teaching, a fundamental duty of every nation is to protect its citizens and a fundamental human right is to be able to immigrate to where they choose, presuming they are not a threat to the safety of that nation or its citizens. Both safety and immigration are basic human rights and the United States of America has, for decades, botched both significantly, creating a situation where millions now live in our nation who entered illegally, seeking a better life because here was preferable to staying where they were and we offered no viable, realistic, legal way for them to come here. Instead we failed to have a secure border and in essence turned a blind eye. Neither of these upholds human dignity, and we can and must find a way to answer Christ’s call to do both right and well. Safety for all people in our nation and a reasonable path toward immigration.

It is divisive and false to believe people for a secure border are against legal immigration. All people of good will want these two things: Safety for all people in our nation and a reasonable path toward immigration.

Many people here illegally, because of our poor immigration system, now fear having their lives uprooted. We should alleviate this fear by creating a clear and reasonable path toward legally being here, and eventually citizenship.

Simultaneously, we need to put a stop to sanctuary cities, which allow sanctuary to violent criminals and undermine the safety of all people in our nation, and secure our borders. These are essential to our human right of a safe place to live.

These things we think are opposed to each other are not. We can and need to uphold the dignity of every person in our nation. As Catholics, we all want to uphold human dignity. Jesus calls us to unite rather than divide, no matter the pain of wrongs committed or feared. There is plenty of wrong to go around. Forgiveness is what is needed (and required if we wish God to forgive us). We share a common vision of striving to uphold human dignity together.

Can we turn toward each other, bow to Christ in our brothers and sisters before us, then turn toward Christ on the Cross and unite as One Body? Jesus holds his arms out, waiting.

May God startle you with joy!


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