The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

The bishops and immigration: Kicanas speaks out

posted by jmcgee

The Bishop of Tucson, Gerald Kicanas, presides over a diocese that runs along the border with Mexico . He’s been vocal about immigration reform, and he gave an interview to “Currents” last week, just before the controversial new Arizona law took effect. He explains the USCCB’s stand on immigration quite clearly.  Check it out, below.

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posted August 2, 2010 at 7:51 pm

The Bishops need to re-evaluate their presence against sin vs prudential judgment.

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Gerard Nadal

posted August 2, 2010 at 9:51 pm

This is simply unbelievable.
Out of one side of his mouth, Bishop Kicanas says the Bishops support the rights of nations to protect their borders, but out of the other side of his mouth he supports moves that deny the penalties for having broken the laws that are meant to secure those borders.
Specifically, he seems to think that jail or deportation, which necessarily imply separation from family is too uncharitable or cruel. Does he think as much for American citizens who languish in our jails and prisons by the millions for their particular illegal remedies to their economic plight? People who come here illegally break federal law in so doing. Many of them go on to break more federal laws by obtaining illegal documents and not paying income taxes–all punishable by years in federal prison if done so by American citizens.
While noble and understandable, the Bishops’ remedy is entirely untenable. While they state that they are not for open borders, their proposed remedy would in fact do just that. And while the plight of the poor is also understandable, the economy of this nation would be upended if we were to attempt to absorb all who stream here illegally. Poverty does not entitle the poor to a different standard of justice.
Illegal immigrants cut the line ahead of those who attempt to come here legally, which is an injustice to those attempting the moral high road. Catering to the illegals reduces the demand for labor from abroad, leaving the law-abiding to languish indefinitely and also reinforces the incentive to cheat one’s way to the front.
The immigration laws of this nation are just and fair, much moreso than Mexico’s, or most other nations’ laws. By siding against our laws as they are currently configured, the Bishops are placing themselves in a no-win position. An individual’s perception of social justice all depends on whose ox is being gored. The increasingly unemployed ranks of Americans will find themselves increasingly at odds with the bishops.

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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

posted August 3, 2010 at 10:23 am

Thanks for sharing this Deacon Greg. Kicanas is hardly liberal. What he is shows us why our Roman Catholic faith should not allow us to keep falling into the name-calling trap…
We are called to serve, for human dignity and to support all life. This does not mean, as others seem to think it does, an open border policy.
One cannot serve God and mammon… American Catholics may need to rethink that on numerous public issues – issues that some of us agree on and others do not. That is why I will always define myself as a Roman Catholic American. I will always prayerfully try to live up to that, although so often I fail.

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posted August 3, 2010 at 10:54 am

I applaud the Bishops for taking this stand.
Gerard, you know enough of my views to know that I am very much of a law and order type of person. If a German Shepard can grasp the principle of meus et tuus, then I expect humans so to do, at least as well.
There are, however, problems which are not amenable to solution through incarceration and the traditional penal system.
Undocumented workers and immigrants ‘gaming’ the system are two such problems.
We have to secure the borders, this is an absolute must and I am equally furious with the Democrats and the Republicans for failing to discharge one of the few undisputed roles the Constitution grants, exclusively, to the federal government.
At the same time, we must tackle the roots of the problem. Reaganomics has steadily eroded the middle-class, the errors of Clinton (Free Trade) destroyed the motivation for employers to keep jobs in the US. Bush the lesser made it economically impractical for the wealthy to invest in jobs in the US while granting tax breaks to firms which export American jobs. This all has left us with an economic disaster and a broken labor market.
Mexico has a corrupt government and no middle-class. Promoting entrepreneurship in a country which punished those who haven’t made it to the top yet for their energy is a waste of time. We have to either make them fix their system (so not happening) or, at least, stop promoting it.
Drugs – we agree there, so I won’t go any further on that topic.
Ultimately, as Europe has discovered, you can’t stop the tide. What we must do is control it and guide it. The danger lies in racism and this, from what I have read, is the concern of the Bishops to a large degree.
I fear, after reading so very many of the responses here and elsewhere (not from you) that they are very much right to be concerned.

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posted August 3, 2010 at 11:43 am

Well since they blame Bush for everything else let’s now blame him for illegal immigration. Doesn’t matter that the current administration has done nothing but sue AZ for trying to do something.
Secure the borders and work out a just plan to help those who are already here.

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posted August 3, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Deacon Kandra,
You asked me not to discuss ‘conservative Christians’ as a group (and, increasingly, individually).
Fine – it is your blog.
May I respectfully request that comments such as RomCath’s above, which implicit or direct, are target at liberal Christians also be regulated?
I find it more than insulting that people who think the death penalty and torture are great things to do, opposed health care and, in general, ride roughshod over all the Catholic positions which liberals share consistently deny the Christianity of those of us who are post-enlightenment.

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posted August 3, 2010 at 1:20 pm

“that people who think the death penalty and torture are great things to do”
May I ask who thinks either of these are great? The Church stands against both. It does not forbid capital punishment but argues against its use.
Torture is also heinous. I just wonder if you knew 3000 people were going to be killed or a family member had been kidnapped, if strong measures might be an option. None of knows what we would do under those circumstances. Unless perhaps if you are post enlightenment.

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