“The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and 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.” – Paragraph 2241 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
It is important to note the first and foremost key phrase, as it sets up the rest of the passage from this book: “to the extent they are able.” This means that the Catholic Church recognizes the common sense fact that no nation’s resources are infinite and therefore no nation, no matter how prosperous, can absorb an infinite number of immigrants. That sets up the next part that says that the people charged with the common good, duly elected government officials, have the right to, by using their prudential judgment, craft a fair and just set of immigration laws which are used to control the flow of people seeking entry into said nation. First and foremost amongst these “juridical conditions” would therefore be an acknowledgement of the fact that no nation’s resources are infinite by basically the government stating “we will take as many of you at one time as our resources will allow.” And so first and foremost they would have to examine the possible cost of an immigrant (and his family if he has one) on the nation’s resources. And if there simply aren’t enough resources to support said immigrant (and family) then the government has the right to say “we cannot take you in at this time as our resources are maxed out but you do have the option to wait until enough resources are free and we’ll look at your application again at that point in time.”
As for the rest of the passage, it states that immigrants must respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the nation that adopts them and to obey its laws and assist in carrying civic burdens. This simply means that immigrants must respect our sovereign laws as long as they aren’t contrary to the dignity of persons and the natural law. This would include those laws that are designed to control the flow of immigration. Our nation has (or is supposed to have) a heritage rich in the liberty given by natural law and purchased for us by the blood of our ancestors who fought the yoke of British tyranny. It is a heritage that is both material and spiritual. This heritage gives us all the freedom and opportunity we could ever ask for provided that we abide by the natural law that must necessarily constrain us as we are imperfect beings and so thus need common sense restraint in the form of fair and just laws given by the light of this natural law. And our heritage also punishes those who transgress our laws in proportion to the severity of the crime. This means that immigrants who are caught breaking other laws while residing here in willful defiance of our fair and just immigration laws are punished with deportation. Say what you will but this is infinitely more fair and humane than the way most 3rd world countries have treated their illegal immigrants. Their treatment of them tends to include numerous violations of the natural dignity of the human person and the natural law. By simply saying “go to the end of the line and wait to gain entry legally,” we preserve the dignity of the human person in our punishment of the person transgressing immigration law.
Now, on to this new law Signed by Gov. Brewer in Arizona. Border security is supposed to be a federal issue. However if the federal government is derelict in this duty it should by necessity fall upon the States to pick up the slack. All this law does is give law enforcement officials in Arizona the authority to enforce federal immigration law during lawful stops and arrests. Those charged with State, county, and local law enforcement must be able to enforce the law in its entirety, this would necessarily include immigration laws. If law enforcement is prohibited from enforcing any one part of the law, then law enforcement is being prevented from doing its job, to enforce the law. Why have laws in the first place if you’re going to remove the enforcement power of those charged with protecting the public through law enforcement? What good is law enforcement if law enforcement cannot do its legal duty by the citizens they are charged with protecting.
So to reiterate, all this law does is first of all expand one’s identity to include citizenship status (which is in essence one’s identity as a citizen or legal resident or lack thereof) and gives law enforcement the power to check for this ID when making a lawful stop and/or arrest. And if the person is found to be an illegal alien, then said person is deported. This sounds fair enough to me and does not sound like a violation of the principles set forth in the Catechism, because this law also essentially says that if law enforcement at any time violates the dignity of the human person of whoever they lawfully stop or arrest, then said officers are penalized under the code of conduct that governs law enforcement officers.
I would also like to add that if government officials don’t shape up and start enforcing our border security and related immigration laws, then a grave injustice shall continue to be done unto the ranks of American citizenry and legal residents as the flow of illegal immigration continues unchecked and consumes resources at an ever-increasing rate.