Friday, April 18, 2014

Religion, Contention and the Open Mind in the Immigration Debate:

When religion enters into the immigration debate, it can at times become rather contentious.

Jerry Kammer at has written:

"I came to work at the Center for Immigration Studies because I wanted to respond to those who try to shut down the discussion by claiming that those who want to limit immigration are motivated not by legitimate concerns but by bigotry, racism, nativism, and anti-immigrant hostility.

"I want to be part of a well-informed discussion of the complexity and moral ambiguity of the issues involved in shaping immigration policy. I think people on both sides of the debate should take note of this admonition from Jonathan Haidt:
[I]f you are trying to change an organization or a society and you do not consider the effects of your changes on moral capital, then you're asking for trouble. This, I believe, is the fundamental blind spot of the left. It explains why liberal reforms so often backfire and why communist revolutions usually end up in despotism. It is the reason I believe that liberalism – which has done so much to bring about freedom and equal opportunity – is not sufficient as a governing philosophy. It tends to overreach, change too many things too quickly, and reduce the stock of moral capital inadvertently. Conversely, while conservatives do a better job of preserving moral capital, they often fail to notice certain classes of victims, fail to limit the predations of certain powerful interests, and fail to see the need to change or update institutions as times change.
"In order to have this discussion, each side must be willing to open our ears and our eyes to the other..."

The article by Kammer is available at:

Jerry Kammer on Religion in the Immigration Debate:

Jerry Kammer published a series of articles about the religious aspect of the illegal immigration debate at recently (see "A Catholic's Dissent from the Bishops' Immigration Policy, Pt. 2").
Below is a citation from the second in his series:

"Yale law professor and immigration scholar Peter Schuck offered this concise explanation in his essay in the 1985 book Clamor at the Gates:
Having ordained an activist welfare state that increasingly defines liberty in terms of positive, government-created legal entitlements to at least a minimum level of individual security and well-being, the nation cannot possibly extend these ever-expanding claims against itself to mankind in general. Instead, it must restrict its primary concerns to those for whom it has undertaken a special political responsibility of protection and nourishment, most particularly those who reside within its territorial jurisdiction. Even this more limited task becomes impossible if masses of destitute people, many ill-equipped to live and work in a postindustrial society, may acquire legally enforceable claims against it merely by reaching its borders.
"I think Father Groody and the Catholic bishops should understand that U.S. immigration policy, like the U.S. Constitution, is not a suicide pact. If they believe, as I do, that we have great responsibilities to assist our society's most vulnerable members, they should not insist on policies that would overwhelm our capacity to fulfill those duties. If they persist in that delusion, they should not be surprised that they will continue to lose credibility among those who dissent from their version of Catholic social teaching."

Part one of the series is at:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Another View of the Religious Aspect of the Immigration Debate:

"In 1986, as Congress used the commission's recommendations as the framework for Immigration Reform and Control Act, Hesburgh wrote:
I undertook my role as commission chairman by asking: Why should immigration be a problem? Why not let down the barriers and let people move freely? After our two years of study, the question answered itself. It is not enough to sympathize with the aspirations and plight of illegal aliens. We also must consider the consequences of not controlling our borders. What about the aspirations of Americans who must compete for jobs and whose wages and work standards are depressed by the presence of illegal aliens?
Concerns like these receive little or no attention at conferences like the one at Notre Dame. That is my criticism, both of the conference and of the bishops. I believe this lack of interest in – or even awareness of – the concerns of those on the other side of the debate is part of the reason for the current legislative stalemate."