Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ,

Whether people are for or against immigrants, it drives me crazy when people try to reduce it to a legal question, "They should have come in 'legally.'" The problem with such statements is that probably 99% of the people who make them have never read anything on immigration law and procedure. Not to mention the DACA recipients were on average 6 1/2 when they were brought here. Not only minors according to our laws, but below the age of reason in Church Law.

When I edited our Liguorian magazine, I did some research on immigration law and the history of it. It is extremely complicated and what I would judge to be very unjust and bias. But the real problem I have with people, at least those who "claim" to be Christian, is that it is not, and should not be, a legal one! I say this for the simple truth that as a Christian, the Bible and the basic tenets of our faith trump (sorry) the law. As Christians we are to welcome and protect the immigrant, regardless of the law.

And before you start disagreeing, let me remind you of some other "laws." First of all, abortion is legal. Since it is "the law", should we stop our protests and respect "the law?" Or what about the Jim Crow "laws," and so many other discriminatory "laws?" Should African-Americans simply have accepted unjust "laws?" That is precisely what many people thought they should have done at the time.    

In regards to the question of law, Church law and God's law are on the side of the immigrant. While it recognizes that nations have the right to protect their border, that right is superseded by the right to life, which includes the right of people, who cannot find work in their native place to emigrate. The Church also stresses that the wealthy nations (and no one can argue that we are not one of them) must bear a greater number of immigrants. If you are going to fall back on law, you should first, ask yourself whose law do you owe the greatest allegiance? And second, one should actually READ the law rather than relying on sound bites and what one thinks the law says. Finally, as disciples of Christ we must ask where is the law of compassion? The law of "love your neighbor as yourself?" The law of mercy?        

It is so easy to dismiss complex issues by simplifying them with excuses like, "they should have obeyed the law!" But we must be mindful that we are talking about people's lives. It is easy to hide behind one's citizenship and point at others, but I may remind those who do that they had no more to do with their own citizenship than the DACA children had with themselves being here. Their birth location was an act of God, the DREAMERS being here was through an act of love by their parents. And so, out of love of our neighbor I think we should consult God before making a decision on how we treat these Children of God.

In the Redeemer,

Fr. Rick