Acton Institute Powerblog

Interfaith Statement on Immigration

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The US Conference of Catholic Bishops is among the groups endorsing an interfaith statement on immigration reform. Like the income tax system, it seems that everyone agrees the immigration system needs reform but there’s a lot of disagreement as to how to go about it.

As with most such broad consensus statements, the points articulated tend toward the innocuous, but there are a few sound ideas: for example, expediting family reunification. In general, the statement seems to be consonant with the arguments made in Acton’s Christian Social Thought Series volume by Andrew Yuengert.

The only caveat I would add is that there should be more emphasis on upholding the rule of law—a strong regime of which is a large part of what makes the United States an attractive destination for emigrants in the first place. The statement does stress legality and mentions “the legitimate task of implementing American immigration policy.” But the implication seems to be that immigration problems are due almost entirely to irrational laws and the difficulties they pose for immigrants. Part of the solution will also be better enforcement of the (one hopes) more rational legal system, and the statement would do well to say so.

Kevin Schmiesing Kevin Schmiesing, Ph.D., is a research fellow for the research department at the Acton Institute. He is a frequent writer on Catholic social thought and economics, is the author of American Catholic Intellectuals, 1895-1955 (Edwin Mellen Press, 2002) and is most recently the author of Within the Market Strife: American Catholic Economic Thought from Rerum Novarum to Vatican II (Lexington Books, 2004). Dr. Schmiesing holds a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. in history from Franciscan University ofSteubenville. Author of Within the Market Strife and American Catholic Intellectuals, 1895—1955 (2002), he serves as Book Review Editor for the Journal of Markets & Morality. He is also executive director of CatholicHistory.net.

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Comments

  • kellykullberg

    Kevin, thank you for pointing on the need to uphold the rule of law, and the whole counsel of Scripture on citizenship. America has a long history of peaceable, legal immigration and I don’t see a reason for that to be disrespected now. Order yields peace and hospitality. Let’s also work for the kind of leadership that will bring jobs first, so immigration doesn’t necessitate growing the welfare state. Nearly 20 million Americans are currently looking for work. Thank you.