The article gives the story of a family father, Enrique, who recieves a temporary worker permit and comes to the US to work. He has to work in the US because he can no longer make any money from farming corn in Mexico due to the United States' free trade agreement with Mexico which makes the corn shipped from north of the border extremely cheap. Aside from being a shot at the US' free-trade agreement and implying its our fault his corn doesn't make money, the article continues to go on by saying that it could be seven or eight years before his family could join Enrique as legal immigrants. The article's author, Barbara Budde, tells us
"The realistic picture is that Enrique and his family are completely separated for seven to eight years. For seven to eight years, Enrique’s wife is deprived of her husband and their children are left fatherless –– not because of death, but because of immigration laws. Is it any wonder that people would consider breaking such laws to be with their family?For every Enrique who came to the United States legally, there are thousands who have been forced to come illegally because they cannot support themselves or their families in their home countries. That is why the Catholic Church supports immigration reform. We are pro-life and pro-family. Families facing starvation is not a pro-life concept and families living in long term forced separation is not a pro-family concept."
It is certainly a sad story, but while Enrique is certainly separated from his family for maybe seven or eight years, is his family really fatherless? Separation doesn't leave a family fatherless. Do the children not know who sends them the money they eat with? While not ideal, is he not setting a fatherly example of sacrifice for his family? It seems to be assumed that immigration to the United States is an inherent right for everyone.
There are two main points I want to make regarding the short-sightedness of both the article and immigration liberalization supporters. First, no one every mentions why there is a problem in Mexico (save Mrs. Budde's blaming the US because of NAFTA). In the United States we always work for social reform, how much are we hearing this call in Mexico? In the US, the government subsidizes farmer's crops, paying them not to grow more than a certain amount, therefore keeping the prices and the supply at a reasonable level. Is this happening in Mexico? I certainly don't know, but surely if corn prices are bad in Mexico they should model their system after ours rather than send their population to us. A certain "give a man a fish..." cliche comes to mind. If the Church in Mexico and Mexicans would support government reforms (they are a democracy after all) in that country to help the people in the long term then immigration laws would be a non-issue. Instead, blame America for not letting more people be Americans is the rallying cry.
Point number two, in a post 9/11 world liberalized immigration laws can't work. I happen to have a particularly different insight into this since I was a military intelligence analyst and I worked the Americas for a couple of years. Interestingly enough, its not just Mexicans crossing our borders. Other foreign nationals have been caught, and low corn prices weren't their motivation. I've been reminded by so-called immigration "reformers" that the US is a nation of immigrants. While true, it would be self-deception to say that we weren't also now a nation of true Americans. Would it not be pro-life and pro-family to protect those who are citizens of this country? Mrs. Budde says "Starvation is not a pro-life concept." Were the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center buildings pro-life?
As far as claiming the labels "pro-life" and "pro-family" for her own crowd, Mrs. Budde has neglected the fact that there is a country on the other side of the border just as responsible for the separation of families and the potentiality of its people's starvation. Mrs. Budde neglects to see that there is a choice of either running to our country or fighting for life in their own. She has shown neither the pro-family or especially not the pro-life side of immigration reform.
The answer as to the morality of Mrs. Budde's opening question still remains: "Why would the Catholic Church be in support of law-breakers?" She doesn't answer it but instead tells us the sad story. Catholic philosophical thought supports the man who must steal bread to feed his starving family- if he has no other lawful alternative. Is there an alternative? Yes, Mexican reform for their own people. Can the Church support the breaking of immigration laws? St. Thomas Aquinas has said that it is okay to break the laws which are really "unlawful." Is the United States' position on immigration unlawful? By no means. It is designed to protect it's own citizens. Is this in some way not pro-life or pro-family? No, on the contrary it is pro-family and pro-life. I wish Mrs. Budde could see her own countrymen, she probably could if her nose wasn't so high.