The last time I wrote about immigration here at TAC – hard to imagine it was only a year ago, maybe longer – I had what I was fairly certain was an informed Catholic view of immigration.
I really haven’t deviated much at all from my original view, which was hardly radical – that nations have a right to regulate immigration and police their boarders, and that Christians have an obligation to treat all people in their midst, regardless of their legal status, with dignity and respect, with charity and love.
But there are a number of issues that knee-jerk opponents of immigration law enforcement simply don’t talk about, for a myriad of reasons. For some on the left, opposition to illegal immigration is reducible to racism. This is undoubtedly true in some cases. To apply it to ALL opponents of illegal immigration is a hateful, vicious smear – especially when one of the most active Hispanic advocacy groups in the United States has a name that translates to “The Race” (La Raza). Racism is not unknown on the other side of this issue.
I think the passage of this new law in AZ is troubling in a number of ways. It could lead to racial profiling, it could lead to harassment of innocent families and communities. It carries with it several dangers and risks.
But its opponents, in their vitriol – some of which may be justified – never explain what it is to be done about the real and serious problems posed by de facto open boarders. Mexico is in a state of virtual anarchy; its military has been unable to defeat the major drug cartels, which are in de facto control of many parts of Mexico, including regions along the boarder. Drug cartel violence has been spilling over into the United States, and now citizens are at risk.
The destabilization of Mexico poses a serious security risk to Southwestern states. Juarez is one of the most violent places in the Western hemisphere; to read the stories of young women raped, tortured and murdered and dumped in the streets on a regular basis is heartbreaking. This is the sort of thing one used to read about taking place in distant places such as Rwanda or Congo; now it is right across the boarder. Americans are entirely reasonable and rational to want to prevent these inhuman horrors from spilling over across the boarder. And for the record, I would be fine with granting refugee status for people fleeing from towns run by the drug cartels.
To ignore these problems, these real and present dangers to the citizens of Arizona (and other Southwestern states), would be at least as immoral, if not more so, than racial profiling. That’s my position. To ignore these problems, to pretend as if they don’t exist, or to perhaps acknowledge them but act as if they aren’t really that big of a deal, is indifference in the face of evil.
That said, I’m not claiming to support this bill as the answer, as the solution, to these problems. But if this bill isn’t it, I have to ask, what is?
Any comments that even remotely suggest that opponents of illegal immigration are necessarily racist will be deleted.