Seeking the balance between love and the law

Archbishop José Gomez: "What is the public policy purpose that is served by taking away some little girl’s dad or some little boy’s mom?"

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles. (Credit: CNS photo/Paul Haring.)

[Angelus] Editor’s note: On March 8, Archbishop Gomez addressed a gathering of Catholics and other leaders in politics and business at a symposium hosted by the Napa Institute in Washington, D.C.  The text below is adapted from his address. To read his full talk, “Where Do We Go From Here? Why We Cannot Wait for Immigration Reform,” visit his website.

It is long past time for our nation to address the issue of the 11 million undocumented persons living within our borders. I want to propose a solution today.

By our inaction and indifference over more than a decade, we have created a quiet human rights tragedy.

A vast underclass has grown up at the margins of our society. We just seem to accept it. Millions of men and women living as our perpetual servants — working for low wages in our restaurants and fields, in our factories, gardens, homes and hotels.

Right now the only thing we have resembling a national immigration “policy” — is focused on deporting these people. And we have deported nearly 3 million in the last decade.
Nobody disputes that we should be deporting violent criminals. But what is the public policy purpose that is served by taking away some little girl’s dad or some little boy’s mom?

Most of the 11 million have been living in this country for five years or more. Two-thirds have been here for at least a decade. Almost half are living in homes with a spouse and children.

The means a deportation-centered policy — without reforming the underlying immigration system — will only lead to punishing children and breaking up families.

One simple proposal: Why don’t we require the undocumented to pay a small fine or do community service? Why not ask them to demonstrate they are holding a job, paying taxes and learning English?

That would be fair and proportionate punishment to me. But in addition to the punishment, we need to give these people some certainty about their status living in this country.

Most of the 11 million who are parents have children who are U.S. citizens. They should be able to raise their children in peace, without the fear that one day we will change our minds and deport them. So we need to establish some way for them to “normalize” their status. Personally, I believe we should give them a chance to one day become citizens.

Full story at Angelus.

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  1. deplorable says:

    Who is stopping the kid from going with the parent ? Mexico ? If the kid is an anchor baby, then do they qualify as a U.S. citizen and the nation south of the border doesn’t want them, or will that country take them but put them through a rigorous immigration process ?

  2. Disgusted with Archbishop Gomez says:

    Questions to the Archbishop: when over the past decade did you ever call for people not to enter America illegally, and when did you ever encourage America to tighten border security in order to prevent illegal aliens from entering? Never. You never did. For you to claim now that because of past lax enforcement we should now simply accept all the illegal aliens in our midst is disingenuous. You encouraged illegal immigration, you supported it, and you did nothing to deter it. You helped to create the problem, and now you want to try to wash the whole thing away. To bad, AB Gomez: deport them all. Finally we have a President who will do what should have been done for the past thirty years.

    • The Mexican bishops stand silent and accepting of their own government’s ruthless monitoring of Mexico’s southern border to exclude the poor—all the while criticizing USA rightful attempts to safeguard our own border. The Cardinal Archbishop of Mexico City, some years back, had the nerve to condemn Americans because we refuse to admit all the poor Mexico wants to export. Yet even today, there are Mexican billionaires who live alongside street dwellers to whom they give no help. EVERY SUNDAY, the Mexican bishops should read them Jesus’ parable of Lazarus (the poor man} and Dives. Instead they stay silent (95% of them} so long as their palaces are maintained and fine wines are on their tables. WHITENED SEPULCHERS!!! Let them first…

  3. Your Fellow Catholic says:

    This problem may solve itself: Late last year, Canada announced a visa-less entry program for Mexican citizens, and since then, more Mexicans have exited the US by crossing our Northern border than entered along our Southern Border.

  4. Archbishop Gomez is truly Holy man. Problem is, Illegal Aliens break American law initially the instant they sneak into the country. As lawbreakers they must be expelled. Then come additional crimes such as false social security numbers, FoodStamps, false unearned Tax reimbursements, falsified School Meal registrations, affirmative action for illegals in our state universities, unfair Anchor Citizenship for their progeny, and more. President Trump has it about right, starting with drug dealers, sex traffickers, MS13, Salvatrucha, drunk drivers and murderers. Next ICE should move on to rapists like the unaccompanied minors fron Guatemala (17&18) that raped a 14 year old girl in the bathroom of a high school in the Sanctuary City of…

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      Obama had it about right. He was the one who focused immigration and law enforcement efforts on prosecuting drug dealers, sex trafficers, murdrers, and rapists. Just because FOX FAKE news tells you something about Obama and Trump, take it with a grain of salt. Have you noticed that their chief legal commentator is now off the air since he made up a supposed story about British intelligence helping Obama supposedly surveil Trump Tower, while on FOX FAKE news?

  5. Joel Fago says:

    Archbishop José Gomez: “What is the public policy purpose that is served by taking away some little girl’s dad or some little boy’s mom?”
    Enforcing our immigration laws will deter terrorists from entering our country and killing little boys and girls.

  6. Let’s see if we have this straight?
    It’s ok to take away a mom or dad from a child for any criminal activity except for one exception?
    An illegal alien from Mexico is the one exception?
    Now why would that be?

  7. I had an employee. He was jailed after three strikes. He left two underage boys. Did the Bishop(s) ask “What is the public policy purpose that is served by taking away some little boy’s dad? No, they did not and should not. He must pay for his crime and suffer the consequences. So why in the Bishop’s mind are some crimes ok and others not?
    The Bishop knows that the illegal father or mother can take their anchor babies with them and they should. My employee did not have that option. So, we have two parallel universes here. Illegals get away with stealing from the citizens via public programs, schools, identity theft and hospitals. Our own citizens go to jail.
    I say we tax all remittances from the USA to Mexico to cover their costs while…

  8. Bob Bugiada says:

    Archbishop Gomez has proven to be a single-issue cleric. There are so many serious problems to address in the archdiocese, yet he chooses to focus on this.

  9. Steve Phoenix says:

    Open borders and free mass immigration are favorite positions of P Francis.

    We are coming up on 7 years, as others have pointed out, that Abp. Jose has been named to LA arch, but still no red hat. One of the longest, if not the longest, tenured red-hatless archepiscopacies of LA.

    Other American PF-lock-step prelates: Cupich: roughly 2 years in Chicago, as others have noted. Joseph Tobin (formerly of Indianapolis) to Newark, after he refused to cooperate with then-Gov. Mike Spence on re-settlement of Near Eastern immigrants without adequate verification of their backgrounds in Indiana : only installed in Indianapolis in 2012; red hat Nov 2016.

    And so what does a guy gotta do to get a red hat around here?

    Oh.

  10. Breaking and entering is a serious crime as it violates the integrity and security of the homeowner whose house was broken into. Illegally crossing an international border for the purpose of entering another country without the proper permissions – visa, or work permit, is a crime against the entire citizens of the country broken into. This crime violates the right of the citizens to know that people who enter the country do so with a good purpose, and have the financial means to support themselves and not become a burden on the citizens already there. It is about time that the United States Federal Government is beginning to do its job by enforcing the existing laws. The faithful will begin to lose respect for and pay no heed to the…

  11. Greg the Geologist says:

    I’d like to raise a question of fairness that is too seldom discussed. How is a “pathway to citizenship” for those illegally in the U.S. fair to those who, like the Archbishop himself, went through the established legal process to relocate from Mexico to the U.S.? Must those who abide by our immigration laws go to the back of the line in favor of those who came illegally? What kind of message would that send? I hope and believe that these problems can be solved, probably through reintroduction of a guest worker (‘Bracero’) program, allowing those who want to work here to do so and return home, since many illegal immigrants work here in order to support their families south of the border. That would make it safer and easier for…

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