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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahoney and American Immigration Policy

A recent CBS television interview with Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles, California, clearly reported an ethnic bias accusing the Roman Catholic Church of pandering to Hispanic immigrants because these devout people are filling up increasingly empty church pews.

In other words, critics of the Cardinal are setting him up, as though his passion for supporting immigrants in need had something to do with church attendance rather than moral principles.

Now, I totally support the rights of American immigrants - whether they are illegal or legal.

As a Roman Catholic woman, I can clearly see how wrong minded people are who accuse the Roman Catholic Church and Cardinal Mahoney, in particular, with being "political" rather than moral on the immigration issue. Frankly, it's about time the Roman Catholic clergy comes out of their shelters to fight for people who need their unwavering support - like immigrants.

If Roman Catholic cardinals of the church wanted to fill up their pews, they'd consider pandering more to women more often. Indeed, it's positively ridiculous to intimate an association between caring for immigrants who need support and nurturing as though they will make a difference in declining church attendance.

People who are opposed to the current status quo called "US immigration policy" are clearly oblivious of their own origins as American citizens. This includes the popular CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, who rails relentlessly about illegal immigration like he's some sort of a self proclaimed prophet on the issue. Perhaps Mr. Dobbs is an anamoly. Maybe his fair headed caucasian genetic makeup isn't what it appears to be on television - i.e., the ancestor of a US immigrant.

Moreover, immigration is a two way highway - people reluctantly leave their home land by the tens of thousands to relocate in another county if there is nothing to hold on to where they are.

Another interview on the "News Hour With Jim Lehrer", with immigration policy scholars, revealed how many Mexican families will be thrown into abject poverty and even starvation if the United States clamps down on illegal immigration. This reverse economic devastation will be caused by the disruption of money the immigrants send home to their families in Mexico, Central America and other countries.

Yes, immigration policy is a two way highway - one way supports the United States economy and the opposite road sustains families in the countries of origin.

It was the same for French-Canadians who immigrated by the thousands from Quebec during the 19th and 20th centuries into New England's industrial cities - when the Irish workers could not maintain a large enough work force to keep textile factories prosperous. Protestant New Englanders didn't much care for the French, who didn't speak English and who took jobs nobody else wanted. Yet, the French-Canadians who immigrated to New England, despite horrible conditions in the mills, didn't leave their homes willingly. Rather, they left because there was nothing to hold them on their meager Quebec farms. Sadly, many poor families were on the verge of starving to death without the influx of money mill workers sent back home to Quebec.

Thank God the Roman Catholic clergy is finally standing up for something worthwhile, like immigrants rights. Cardinal Mahoney is even calling for civil disobedience if the US government creates laws forbidding the aid and assistance of immigrants.

I applaud Cardinal Mahoney for thinking out of the box and supporting those immigrants who are here to help themselves and our US economy in the meantime.

Perhaps the Roman Catholic hierarchy in countries like Mexico and in Central America can, likewise, support better conditions and more pay for workers in their own countries; thereby, lessening the traffic on immigration routes and preventing those ugly American "bubba" vigilante groups from rounding the desperate refugees up like cattle.

Those audacious people who think the Roman Catholic Church is supporting immigrants out of a need to fill church pews should "get a life". Instead, they might do better to meditate on the reasons why they (and all of us) are fortunate enough to be Americans.

We are all immigrants in an alien country.

Our natural born American citizens were Native Americans. Their tribal attempts to keep us illegals out of their home failed miserably. Given the history of immigration policy failure, I suspect there is probably no satisfactory solution to the illegal immigration issue.

Cardinal Mahoney is just plain right when it comes to facing down critics while reaching out to help immigrants. Immigration policy is not a matter of politics - its about compassion.

Thank God Cardinal Mahoney is taking a moral stand.


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