The Catholic Bishops' Position
by Deacon Joe Rubio, Ph.D.
What the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops do not stand for is
- Illegal immigration
- Open borders
- Automatic citizenship or amnesty
What they do support is their position that the immigration law is in "bad shape" and that comprehensive immigration reform is a high priority topic. A Guest-Worker program is a necessity, and that illegals now in the country must earn citizenship. Citizenship should not be granted.
Senator Kyle's bill (HR 4437) now being considered has punitive measures. It would classify all eleven-million-plus illegats as felons and deport them. Anyone aiding an illegal would also be classified as a felon.This approach would obviously wreak havoc on services provided by Catholic Charities, other agencies, and our economy.
President Bush wants a sensible immigration law in place.
The Mc Cain-Kennedy bill, which is favored by the Catholic Bishops, takes a more realistic view of what has to be done to solve the illegal status problem. It would fine illegals $2,000 for breaking the law, absolve them of a criminal record, and create a guest-worker program and a track for earning citizenship.
Contrary to popular opinion, many illegals do not want U.S. citizenship. They are interested in making money here so they can use it to create a decent lifestyle for themselves in their native countries.
Immigrants to our country provide many important services, Take, for example, the Phillipino nurses who staff the medical center. It would be impossible to provide good medical care without them. Of course, you can think of may more examples, past and present.
There is no simple answer to illegal immigration. The social, economic, and cultural issues are complex, and must be addressed by looking at the "big picture".
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