Immigration and the Arizona Law

“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.


6 comments on “Immigration and the Arizona Law

  1. colfoley says:

    Interesting blog, very simplistic but the general motivation and theme is right. that we must be able to control the flow of immigration for the sake of our resources, though I doubt that is the reason that the law is as hard as it is about allowing legal immigration…..

    And your conclusions about the arizona law are also spot on so it seems, the burden of proof still remains with the police.

    • madgater says:

      indeed it is simplistic but correct nonetheless…..that is the primary reason why we have immigration laws is so that we can allocate our resources to people honestly seeking entry so they can have a better life here efficiently….illegal immigrants have basically cut the line of people waiting to get in legally and hopped the fence and now they have the gall to demand social services and other rights reserved only for citizens and legal residents?!?!?!?!

      so yeah…looking at it purely from a resources standpoint is simplistic but perhaps this is the only way we can get this concept through some very thick skulls

  2. aretood2 says:

    “There is also nothing good about people “living in the shadows,” or families being separated, or “decent people being deported and having to start their lives all over again, sometimes in a country that they no longer — or never did — know.”

    My problem is that conservatives ignore the latter portion of what the good bishop said while they concentrate on the former. Not to mention that Catholic authorities aren’t too happy about the law to begin with. But that’s just me, my reasons go in depth and I tried to post it in a comment on Foley’s blog but it was just too long. So I made it into a special blog since it has me as its primary source.

    • madgater says:

      I think the good archbishop has forgotten that faithful Catholics are to obey the law of the land as long as the law does not involve intrinsic evil. And he’s somehow gotten the idea that sending those here illegally back to their country of origin is intrinsically wrong. It’s not. It’s a fair and just punishment that fits the crime, which is basically forcing their way into our borders. It doesn’t matter if the person is a Gandhi-style pacifist who’s just quietly living his life. The point is the law. And our law is quite clear in this area: it is a crime to enter our borders illegally. If they whine about how they’ll have to start all over again, I got this to say: You should’ve thought of that before illegally entering our country. If they have families the solution is simple, revoke the now useless anchor-baby law retroactively and ship their families back with them, thus ending this chain migration business. I see no violation of basic human rights in making illegal immigrants and their families go to the end of the line of people waiting to get in legally if they are caught out as illegal aliens. I’m all for mercy as a Catholic. But in this instance sending them back to their country of origin is the most mercy we can show them without devaluing our fair and just system of immigration laws. And it is certainly far more mercy than most 3rd world countries show to their illegal immigrants.

    • madgater says:

      The archbishop needs to remember that while we must love sinners, we must also punish the sin. And deporting those here illegally is the best way we have of lovingly punishing them for their sin of “breaking and entering” our country, next to attrition thru enforcement that is. Attrition through enforcement simply involves enforcing our laws, which in this case would include taking away the welfare trough from people here illegally and their families and requiring employers to use E-Verify. Once those options dry up for them the illegals will go home on their own.

    • madgater says:

      I think this example might help you understand our position better and might help people like Archbishop Chaput understand it better too:

      Take a lunch line at school for example. If you cut the line, in other words force your way to the front of the line, and you get caught doing so, you would rightfully expect to be placed at the back of the line as a fair and just punishment, correct? Then how is it somehow unfair and undignified to apply this concept to illegal immigration, since illegal immigrants have essentially forced their way past all the people waiting to get in legally?

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