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More Questions and Answers About Immigration Reform01 May

Questions like those in the past two posts and in the material below provides a preview for our discussions during the two training sessions scheduled for May 16 and May 23. Registration is necessary because we don’t want anyone to go without lunch. To register visit here and sign up. To send a postcard to your members of Congress supporting comprehensive immigration reform that reflects church teaching click here. A wealth of resources regarding the Church and immigration is found at the USCCB’s Justice For Immigrants website.

Reform now

Some charge that the Church is in favor of a nation without borders, that we support illegal immigration. Some also say that by providing legal status to the undocumented, we are rewarding law breaking. How do you respond to these issues?

The Church has always supported the right of a sovereign nation to secure its borders, although it should be done in a manner that protects human life, to the greatest degree possible. The Church does not favor illegal immigration in any sense. It is not good for the migrant, who often suffers abuse by smugglers, exploitation in the workplace, and even death in the desert. It is not good for society or for local communities, because it creates a permanent underclass with no rights and no opportunity to assert them. That is why the Church supports the creation of legal avenues for migration and legal status for migrants.

As mentioned, the Church does not condone the breaking of laws and supports a path to citizenship that requires migrants to pay a fine and meet other requirements. Once the system is reformed, migrants should be able to enter legally and not be forced to cross illegally or overstay their visas. Currently, they have no pathways to enter the country legally, despite the need for their labor.

Imm Mak Amer StrongIn general, is immigration good for our country or does it create new burdens on U.S. citizens?

Except for Native Americans, we are all descendants of immigrants or are immigrants ourselves. Immigrants have helped build the great nation we enjoy today. While opponents of immigration will attempt to raise the fears of U.S. citizens that immigrants today take away jobs, change the culture, and eat up public resources, the truth of the matter is that today’s immigrants are no different than previous generations. They come to work hard and to support their families, not to take public resources or commit crimes. This is borne out in the majority of research studies on the subject, which conclude that, overall, immigrants are contributors to our economy and helpful to our local communities. They also bring a spiritual energy and richness which enriches our worship and Church.

Some say that letting in too many immigrants, because they are often a cheap source of labor, could hurt the wages of workers already in the country. Is this known to be true?

Immigrant workers generally do not compete with U.S. workers for unskilled jobs. Some studies show that immigrant workers may have an impact on the job status and wages of low-skilled American workers, such as high school dropouts. Overall, however, immigrant workers fill crucial jobs in important industries that many American will not do, such as agriculture. By enacting immigration reform, the wages of immigrant workers will increase because they will be better able to assert their rights in the workplace and because the pool of unauthorized workers will dwindle.

Photos: courtesy Pat Delahanty

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