Huddled masses

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You have freedom not to do what you like but to freely do what ought to be done.


Recently it was reported that a person high in the Catholic hierarchy declared publicly that those who participate in building the projected wall between Mexico and the United States commit treason against their own country. Christians know very well what Jesus thinks on the matter of being kind to foreigners, hospes eram et collexistis me:  “I was a stranger among you and you invited me in” is the most common translation of that phrase found in Mattew 24:36

Matthew 24:34-36 – “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’”

This is not a minor matter. That was one of the points Jesus selected to teach us who will be saved and who will not. The apostolic point of view follows that line also:

Hebrews 13:2  –  Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

The writer of Hebrews reminds us of the occasion when Abraham received the three angels that announced him and his wife Sarah the miraculous birth of Isaac, their first and only natural son. (Genesis 18)

So apparently we are to receive all strangers with open arms and take them in, right? In the world of Abraham, or in the days of Jesus, being on the road meant to be in danger. Traveling was not easy and many suffered like the Samaritan in Jesus parable, or like Elijah fleeing the wrath of Jezebel. In those days people were on the move only for very serious reasons. The Holy family flight to Egypt comes to mind.

Things have changed

These days the counsel of Scripture is applied in some bizarre ways. We are told by the most judgmental people on earth “not to be judgmental” for example. Some expect Christians to be doormats by reasoning that if Jesus allowed Himself to be killed on the Cross, Christians should simply surrender to any lunatic wanting to kill us and our families. That is not sound reasoning. Some attempt to use the same kind of twisted logic when it comes to invaders, they pretend to pass the invader for a peaceful foreigner.

John 10: 1  –  “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.”

Obviously we have to use some degree of discernment when welcoming strangers. Those who arrive under cover of night, climbing the fence instead of ringing the bell, are not the ones we should welcome and protect.

A situation has developed in the United States where millions of illegal immigrants have taken advantage of lax or non existing border control, outdated visa systems, and biased refugee programs. The abuse is obvious but it is not coming from the perpetrators only, there are people in the US who benefit from the invasion.

Immigrants send more than 23 billion per year to their families back home

Some employers are using the illegal workers for immoral profit. Desperate men and women without work or residence permits, work for less and are naturally more docile. Those employers justify their conduct saying that low wages make their products more affordable. They say that if they hire the more demanding local workers they will price themselves out of the market. Is that true?

The answer is counter intuitive: well paid local laborers are invested in the community. Employers can get cheap foreign labor but many of those are sending the money back home to build the place where they will live when they grow old – most illegal immigrants do not plan to stay forever, the vast majority will stay for a few years living like misers and saving money to take back home. The native worker instead is going to spend all of his earnings in living better participating in a much more sustainable and virtuous economic cycle. Think of it as two options: eat healthy or simply eat a spoonful of sugar every time you feel weak. The second option will keep you going at a cheap price for a while but in the end it will kill you. Employers that hire illegal aliens at low rates are doing serious harm to their communities.

Companies can pay good salaries. For example CEO’s compensation has gone up exponentially since the 1980’s while regular salaries have remained more or less flat in spite of inflation. Every extra million the CEO makes could pay for 10 employees making 100,000 or 20 making 50,000. But the truth is: as long there are illegal aliens for hire out there, the temptation for executives is to use that cheap labor to funnel the excess earnings into their own pockets. That ends up siphoning capital off the local commerce: too much money goes to overpay executives, and in turn the illegal migrant does not spend that much in the local market. The upward and outward capital flight stifles innovation, and generates local poverty. Since a good portion of those salaries ends up in Mexico and other countries, the local economy suffers a double blow. Add to that the damage to neighborhoods filled with transient people that really don’t care: “Why take care of my rental here in the US? This is not mine! I am building a nice house back home!” Transient illegal aliens are not invested in our communities, most of them are here to make a buck and go. The damage done by those bringing them in is immense!

The arguments coming from the ‘Chamber of Commerce’ ever interested in quick profits, and from the political left, interested in padding their electoral districts with dubious voters are all false. There is no obligation for a country to receive massive amounts of uncontrolled immigration. The first obligation of a government is to serve the interests of their constituents, not those of foreigners however needy they claim to be. To go even further and serve foreigners at the expense of native taxpayers is an even greater travesty.

1 Timothy 5: 8  –  Those not providing for their families, and especially for their own household, have denied the faith and are worse than those who do not have faith.

These are the real traitors to their countries: those who take advantage of the plight of illegal aliens to profit from their irregular status, those who consume illegal drugs, those who avail themselves of prostitution thus taking advantage of the poor in the most vile fashion, those who collaborate directly or indirectly with the human tragedy of illegal immigration. If my words make you uncomfortable they should.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 2241  –  The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.  Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

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6 thoughts on “Huddled masses

  1. Interesting point about the illegal immigrants sending money back to their native lands. I haven’t really heard that addressed by any of the talking heads. The latest nonsense is that illegal immigrants bolster the economy….sigh.

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    • Someone respectfully asked to be removed from the mailing list on account of this article. No explanations given, no counter argument. Few of the people that defend illegal immigration realize that legal immigrants are damaged greatly by the illegals and they cannot even express their frustration without being treated in the harshest way by their leftist neighbors. I had lived for over 15 years in Boston when the wave of 400,000 special visa immigrants from El Salvador came. Those were people from the countryside of one of the most backward countries in Latin America. They were not spread around the country to rural areas but sent to the largest cities to be processed by all kinds of associations trying to help them adapt to the country. They entered legally due to a limited amnesty signed by Bush 41. Imagine Boston swelling 10% up in population in only 30 to 90 days. The effect for most people was negligible but for the immigrants already eking a living on $6/hour in that expensive and unforgiving city was devastating. Soon the Salvadorean hicks made themselves hated by their obnoxious behavior all around the area thus reviving anti-Hispanic prejudices in the general population (with some justification I may add.) George Bush took revenge on Mike Dukakis that way (I guess) but for people like me it was a serious nuisance when suddenly the name Carlos became radioactive and generated all kinds of bad vibes. In the areas where the problem hits hard today you will find that entry level jobs pay less, modest rentals are priced higher, insurance rates go up, as well as taxes, schools, hospitals, sewer systems, water systems, etc. need to be updated to accommodate a larger population in a short time. Illegal immigration is a problem worldwide, even here in economically devastated Argentina. The “chamber of commerce’ enjoys a shortsighted benefit from the surge in illegal immigrants but they too shall suffer in the end. It is really schizophrenic when a country kills babies in the womb to import the social refuse of other countries. It simply does not make sense. If someone does not like my take on this I am happy to hear a rebuttal but so far … crickets.

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  2. To me, the problem goes back to self-confidence. Was a time when America felt it had something to offer to others and even the world at large. That attitude elicited, even demanded the respect of everyone else. Foolishly, we lost sight of the relationship between that confidence and western civilization, another word for Catholicism, plus some important adjunct participants.We forgot the source of our confidence and success, Jesus Christ.

    Now, we are dismissed and ridiculed, even by our own, as was the case for Jesus with the crown of thorns. I wouldn’t want to overstate the case for our holiness, but I don’t think you have to be precisely like Him to go through the same kind of crucible. Who knows where this will go, but something tells me that, until we embrace our trials like He did, we will not really grasp what any of this means and how good can come out of the evil in which we are currently stewing. Augustine said, after all, that was God’s greatest achievement, even greater than creating something out of nothing..

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    • Castelletto: I was thinking of the number 42 as the fruitfulness of penance when I saw your comment. Recently I noticed that there are 42 days between the anniversary of Luther nailing the thesis on the Wittenberg church (October 31) and the Feast of Guadalupe (December 12) anniversary of the miracle of the tilma. Luther separated 9 million souls from the Church; Our Lady of Guadalupe added 9 million native Mexicans to the Church. Interesting coincidence.
      As for the USA who could deny the great sins the Liberal side of the country has brought: sexual impurity, abortion, contraception, blasphemy, etc. While no one can deny either that many US Christians have been busy bringing Jesus to the world. In God there is no injustice and He will put everything in perspective. The wicked will be punished and the just rewarded but if He who had no sin suffered, we who have a good measure of sin cannot sail through this age without suffering. No pain, no gain. No Cross, no Glory.

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  3. When I started reading this article, Carlos, I was very afraid that you were going to justify all this immigration, quoting Jesus as the reason for us to not use our common sense or recognize our need and duty as a country to protect our own citizens first. Even the new bishop we have is all for it. I am so disappointed with him. Father Fasano has to be careful what he says from the pulpit, though he is as clear as he can be about the politics without getting himself into trouble with the bishop.

    Two of the men in the parish, Tom McFadden and John Lundburg (not sure if they were both here when you were) started a Front Royal Catholic Civic Club. They were not even allowed to announce any of its actives from the pulpit (diocese no no). I got into a mild argument with someone on the FB page of the Women of St. John’s about immigration. She turned out to be someone who worked for the diocese over in Arlington. “But, Jesus said we were to welcome the stranger.” My entire conversation got deleted and I was told that nothing political or controversial was to be put on that FB page. Very few people in the parish seem to be interested in what’s going on in our country. Even the new Catholic bookstore, now owned and run by someone else than Sandy, would not put a poster in her window about any of the meetings.

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    • Mary Fran:

      I am sympathetic to the plight of honest illegal immigrants seeking work and a decent society to live in (not traffickers or drug smugglers) because I grew up in Latin America. Having that in mind one should remember the words of Jesus “the poor you shall always have with you.” The poor are a true opportunity for mercy. Now, mercy is NOT simply handouts. Christ did not hand out our salvation to us but made us partners in saving our souls through faith, works of mercy, prayer, the reception of the Sacraments, and love for our neighbor. Could the US receive every poor person in Mexico, give them a job, health care, food, etc. Obviously no. Things have to be done prudently and in order. Could the US use its influence and prestige to improve conditions for poor people in Mexico? Certainly! The problem is that we often equate “help” with sending money. Just throwing money to corrupt politicians never solved anything. It is not that easy. But it would take a whole book to explain how to do it right. We must lead by example. If we start suspending the rule of law for anyone that crossed the border on foot, first there will be no end to the root causes of Mexican poverty, and second we will create new and more serious problems for Mexico and ourselves. We have done that already.

      We are all subject to the Law. That Catechism quote could not be more clear.

      As for the Civic Club in Front Royal not receiving support from the Diocese, I imagine that any organization promoting any kind of political agenda may cause trouble to the Diocese in view of the Johnson Amendment prohibiting all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates, and basically participating in any political activity. The IRS itself has to enforce the rules and regulations emanating from that amendment rather harshly to avoid any perception of impropriety or partiality to one religion or another. The same may apply to the Catholic Bookstore if they are incorporated as a non-profit organization.

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