Last week, during the kerfuffle over the ridiculous SCOTUS rulings on so-called "same-sex marriage", our readers may have missed the fact that one of the Catholic Churches esteemed Archbishops decided to wade into the immigration debate with some learned comments on American "identity".
Now, lest you think I'm being sarcastic and dismissive of Archbishop Gomez, I want to note upfront that I really do accept the fact that good conservatives will have differing opinions about what to do about illegal and legal immigration and that prudential concerns will cause people of goodwill to disagree. Our former blogger, Jeff Culbreath, and I certainly did not agree on every aspect of immigration policy; but I respected his position because I knew he came to it after careful consideration of both the facts and the moral questions involved.
As for Archbishop Gomez, one can only wish he approached the issue in the same way as Mr. Culbreath -- with a careful consideration of the facts and moral issues involved. Instead, his remarks to Catholic journalists in Denver retreat into so many cliches, that it is almost too easy to take them apart (but too much fun not to!)
His first cliche (or is it just plain wrong?) is the statement that "the need for immigration reform...is the most pressing issue that we face in American public life.” Really your excellency, there are NO more pressing issues in American public life -- for example the fact that the Hispanic out-of-wedlock birthrate is now 53.4%, or the fact that 53-56% of American Catholic support so-called "same-sex marriage", or the fact that over 80% of American Catholics think birth control is "morally acceptable", or the fact that over 1.2 million babies were killed in their mothers' wombs in 2007, or the fact that the U.S. is on an unsustainable fiscal path, etc., etc.
Next, the Archbishop says "that most Americans have forgotten their immigrant roots" -- how does he know? Has he commissioned a recent survey? Then he goes on with these interesting observations:
During his remarks, Archbishop Gomez addressed the root of the immigration debate by asking the questions that underlie the issue: “What does it mean to be an American? Who are we as a people, and where are we heading as a country? What will the 'next America' look like? What should the next America look like?”
The archbishop noted G. K. Chesterton's comment that the U.S. is the only nation founded not on a material basis, such as territory or race, but on a belief, a vision.
The Founding Fathers, the writers of the Declaration of Independence, envisioned a nation “where men and women from every race, religion and national background could live in equality.”
Need I remind the good Archbishop that the Founding Fathers also thought certain races made good slaves? Or that women should not vote? Or that it would be absurd to suggest that millions of "settlers" from Islamic countries would make good American citizens in 1801 - 1805?
But to answer his excellency's earlier questions -- why can't the American people decide that we don't want more low-skilled immigrants because they'll drive down wages of the Americans already here? ("What should the 'next America' look like? -- what if the answer is that it should look more like the America of 1950, because the America of 2013 isn't doing too well.) Indeed, if we are "headed" as a people to "failure" because many of our current immigrants, both legal and illegal, are not assimilating American values successfully, then shouldn't we as a people be allowed to say -- enough -- and put a halt to all immigration for awhile until we figure out how to do a better job with the legal immigrants we have here?
Back to the Archbishop's cliches -- he then goes on to say:
"The belief that America was to be a place of equality created a nation of “flourishing diversity” through immigration...what’s at stake in the immigration debate: the future of the American dream.”
Ah yes, the American dream. But shouldn't that dream be first and foremost a dream for the citizens of America -- after all, as Steve Sailer loves to point out the Constitution begins with the words, "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union... and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." U.S. citizens come first in any discussion of immigration -- not those chasing the desired goal of U.S. citizenship. And can we please cut the crap about "flourishing diversity" -- while the U.S. has indeed welcomed many ethnic groups from Europe, we were primarily founded by the British and Northern Europeans and Samuel Huntington has already devoted his scholarly efforts to exposing the "wonderful benefits" of diversity.
Next, Gomez decides to tug on our heartstrings, while at least acknowledging in passing the sins committed by the illegal immigrants themselves (we should be thankful for small favors):
Instead of having open hearts to admittedly illegal immigrants, Archbishop Gomez said America has been addressing the issue with discrimination, race-based criminal profiling, random identity checks, commando-style raids of workplaces and homes and arbitrary detentions.
America has forgotten that illegal immigration “is no ordinary crime,” he emphasized, and that those labeled “illegals” are “the people next door” who hold down jobs and have kids in school.
“That’s what makes our response to this 'crime' so cruel,” said Archbishop Gomez. More than a million have been deported in the last four years, with thousands more being held without charge or representation in detention centers.
The desire to enforce American immigration law is leading us to break up families, the archbishop said. “We’re talking about fathers who, without warning, won’t be coming home for dinner tonight … about women suddenly left as single mothers to raise their children in poverty.”
How dare we "discriminate" (i.e. use common sense) to catch folks who break our laws! And for the record, when we "break up a family", there is no reason mom and the kids can't join dad back in Mexico when dad gets deported -- I don't care if they've been living here for 5, 10, or 15 years -- when the parents made those bad choices they should have thought of the potential consequences to their kids. And Mexico is no third-world hell-hole -- it's not France but it's not the Democratic Republic of Congo either -- folks lead middle-class and working-class lives in Mexico with many, if not most, of the modern conveniences we have here in the U.S. So spare me the sob stories about mothers living in poverty because daddy was taken away by the mean United States government -- the government is supposed to enforce the laws for the common good. When millions of people break those laws (for their personal benefit) and disregard our citizen's will as to what constitutes the common good of this nation, then we have every right (and duty) to punish those folks and send them back to their countries of origin.
The article closes out with a couple more Gomez howlers:
Catholics, the archbishop urged, “need to be the conscience of our nation. We need to help our neighbors to remember the founding vision of America: that all men and women are created equal and endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights.”
"We have a chance to create a path to welcome millions of new Americans who would share our national ideals, beliefs and values. This new generation of immigrants promises to help renew the soul of America.”
I'm all for helping educate my neighbors in the finer points of America's "vision" as articulated in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution -- neither document speaks to the unrestricted right to move wherever you want and expect the citizens of a foreign country to welcome you as one of their own! And again the his excellency is commissioning all these opinion polls to find out what all these illegal immigrants think (is he sure they share our "national ideas, beliefs and values? Not according to that Hudson Institute report I cited above).
Time for the Catholic Church to ditch the cliches and start thinking seriously about immigration.