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Sun Feb 10, 2013, 10:18 AM


Opinion: Immigration reform through the eyes of the Catholic Church

Sunday February 10, 2013, 9:49 AM

Just like the pre-spring thaw that set in here at mid-week, breaking up the wintry ice, so it seems from the news reports that a thaw has broken the ice in Washington on the issue of immigration reform. Freed from the constraints of the presidential campaign, people are talking.

If the polls are correct, a large majority of Americans believe that reform is necessary. The parameters are clear. There are a large number of undocumented people here already, perhaps as many as 12 million. Like my immigrant ancestors and yours, most work hard, are law-abiding, and since the economy requires their labor, they are contributors to the health of the country. It is generally acknowledged that keeping such a large number of people permanently in the shadows, under continuous threat of deportation, ineligible to vote, unable to send their children to college, is dangerous to a democracy.

In doing so, we create a permanent and disconnected underclass.

It is also generally acknowledged that the United States must secure its own borders. To permit unlimited immigration also poses a threat to a democracy, and in a post-9-11 world, threatens the security of our homeland. There is also objection to rewarding illegal behavior on the part of the undocumented.


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