Here in the Central Texas, we live off one of the busiest paths in the country that brings people and products to and from Mexico. Many of us have spent a considerable amount of effort planning how to be navigate through or around I-35 so that we can get to the places we need to go, but we usually take for granted how much it connects us to our neighboring country.
In Texas, immigration plays an even larger role than it most other states, but it’s also important to remember that our immigrants extend from far beyond those that come from Mexico. We’re blessed to have a very rich, diverse community with representation from all over the world. When I first moved here, it was very noticeable to me, and it’s remained one of my favorite characteristics of Austin.
The issue of immigration often gets confusing for many Catholics in the United States. To put it bluntly, many have based their opinions on the views of a political party over those of our faith.
Just as we prioritize a pro-life approach to politics, we must also support the respect and inherent dignity of all people out of the womb. It’s easy to see the defense of those that are cute and innocent, but we have to also defend the dignity of the marginalized and forgotten.
In these situations, families are the ones that need the most defending. There are many innocent children that should not be punished because of their parent’s legal status. In my family, my parents immigrated here from Mexico under the Eisenhower administration’s bracero program to facilitate exchange of immigrant workers. My parents later became naturalized American citizens, so we were blessed to never have to deal with any legal issues. My father came because he saw an opportunity for our family, and God blessed him with a simple path to enter. Unfortunately things have changed and many people have not been blessed to have it so easy.
The corporal works of mercy remind us to feed the hungry, give drink to thirsty, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless. While it is not explicitly listed as a corporal work, Catholic social teaching reminds us that we have to show love to strangers. I recommend reading more about what our church teaches about immigration.
Earlier this week Cardinal Dolan said it simply, ” this isn’t some wild, left-wing cause, this is classic Catholic teaching.” We’re Catholics first, not Republicans or Democrats.
Like so many issues today, finding a solution for immigration reform will be very complicated and costly, but we have hope that we can do it for the good of our nation. We are a country of immigrants that has thrived through bringing together people from all over the world. We must find a way to treat those that are in need while simultaneously working to keep our borders safe.
“We are part of a Church where, yes, all are welcome, but, no, not a Church of anything goes.”
– Cardinal Dolan
Here is Texas, the spill over of the drug wars have shown us the need for better border security, and none of us are arguing against this point. At the same time, we have seen the richness that immigrants have given to our culture, and we believe that all people are deserving of respect as they seek life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for their families
I don’t know what the solution is for the best reform, but I pray that our bishops are heard and that our politicians seek God’s guidance. Please join me in praying for this cause.