On April 6, 2018, an e-mail was sent out from the San Diego Diocese attaching a statement from the U.S. Catholic Bishops of U.S./Mexico Border in response to the U.S. National Guard deployment at the border. They appear to be concerned the National Guard will be disruptive to communities and dehumanize immigrants, “as if they all were threats and criminals.”
First off, the people who the Bishops are referring to are not immigrants. Immigrants are those who go through the immigration process. Secondly, those sneaking across the border are criminals, they are breaking the law. Many are disruptive to communities by causing a financial burden to taxpayers by fraudulently receiving welfare and food stamps plus free medical care which drives up the cost of healthcare for hardworking citizens. And let us not forget the disruption caused by the drugs and guns being smuggled in, or the crimes committed by gang members and others – theft, rape, murder, etc.
The National Guard is being deployed because our borders are not secure. It’s not a matter of being insensitive to the needs of those less fortunate, everyone deserves the right to a better life; however, it’s a matter of security and economics. How many of them are threats … drug smugglers, terrorists, gang members? How many of them just want a free ride at the expense of taxpayers? We don’t know.
Anyone wanting to live in the United States need to be fully vetted to assure they are not a threat to national security and are willing to go through the legal immigration process like millions have done before; willing to learn our language, assimilate and be productive members of society, not entering with the intention of taking advantage of our overwhelmed social programs.
With all due respect, the Bishops should be focusing their energy on the citizens in their flock who need help, and not be encouraging law-abiding Catholics to harbor illegal immigrants, as Bishop McElroy has done or labeling faithful Catholics who are concerned for their safety as not acting in a Christian manner. We lock our doors at night, do background checks on babysitters and monitor our children’s activities and friends … all in the interest of keeping our family safe…so why is securing our borders any different? And if we didn’t care about the less fortunate, we would not be donating to the several charities that assist those in other countries.
They should recall the words of St. Thomas Aquinas:
“It is essential to human virtue that the movements of the soul should be regulated by reason." (Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 30, c.3)
"Without such regulation, compassion is merely a passion. A false compassion is a compassion not regulated and tempered by reason and is, therefore, a potentially dangerous inclination. This because it is subject to favoring not only that which is good but also that which is evil.” (Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 30, a.1, ad 3)
They also need to refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
2239 It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. The love and service of one's country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community.
2240 Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country:
2245 The Church, because of her commission and competence, is not to be confused in any way with the political community. She is both the sign and the safeguard of the transcendent character of the human person. "The Church respects and encourages the political freedom and responsibility of the citizen."