Archbishop Gomez on Immigration

Archbishop Jose Gomez, the Archbishop of Los Angeles and the Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, had an excellent article in the Washington Post analyzing the potential drastic outcome if the Supreme Court upholds Arizona’s immigration law.  The Archbishop writes:

“Most disturbing, upholding Arizona’s law would change our American identity as a welcoming nation, which has served us well since our inception. The goals of Arizona-type laws are to discourage immigrants from coming and to encourage those who are here to leave. We must carefully consider whether that is the signal we want to send to the world, given that immigrants and their ancestors—all of us—built this country and will continue to renew it.”

You can read the whole article here.

19 Responses to “Archbishop Gomez on Immigration”

  1. Vlad Remmer says:

    I’m an immigrant and I SUPPORT ARIZONA’S LAW. First and foremost Illigal immigrant has broken US law and must be punished in accordance to US Law or State Law if federal powers are not protecting citizens. Second: have you forgotten “DO NOT STILL” well, an Illigal alien is engaged in takin what is not his to begin with (vinacular STILLING) as long as he/she remains in the country. Do you have a power to amend the rule of life given to us by the One you serve?
    The Chirch will be better served by focus on recovering its image and going about God’s work, not supporting criminal activity of any sort!

  2. Jim says:

    The function of the Supreme Court is to determine the constitutionality of legislation; not if it is right or wrong, good or bad. That is the function of the “elected” legislative branches of government.

    If the Supreme Court bases it’s ruling on anything other than constutionality then we lose our freedoms and start being “ruled” by five (majority) unelected justices.

    Is that what we want? If we don’t like legislation our duty is to elect legislators to change it.

  3. Bot says:

    Archbishop Jose Gomez, as an immigrant, I couldn’t disagree more with you. I came to this country legally and I always felt welcome and integrated in the society.
    I chose, as an immigrant and as a responsible person, to follow the law and go through the “green card” process. It was not an easy process, nor it was free, but it was the right thing to do!
    Arizona’s law is fair, because it doesn’t reward criminal behavior. Moreover, I any other country (for ex.: Canada or any EU country), asking for someones ID is a common and unlike here, is not frowned upon.

  4. I agree that we are a welcoming nation. That said, we are also a nation of laws. At present, the federal governmant is not enforcing the laws we have as regards immigration. AZ is trying to deal with the results and thus this law to try to protect its citizens. The Supreme Court now has the task at hand … a better solution is the reform of the current laws and strict federal enforcement of them. This will allow immigration to proceed in a proper way … instead of the free for all we have now.

  5. Fred says:

    The good Bishop is wrong.
    Illegals who break the law are law-breakers and must not be protected.
    Legal immigrants are a completely different matter and deserve protection.

    His immoral support of law-breakers places anything else he espouses as suspect, and does damage to the USCCB’s push-back against unconstitutional ObamaCare.

  6. MaryG says:

    You said: “The goals of Arizona-type laws are to discourage immigrants from coming and to encourage those who are here to leave.”

    Wrong. You left out one word.

    You should have said: The goals of Arizona-type laws are to discourage illegal immigrants from coming and to encourage those who are here illegally to leave.

    If you want justice for illegal immigrants, then say so. Don’t just carefully leave out the word and imply that those of us who disagree are heartless louts who despise immigrants! That is an unkind and unfair judgement of America as a nation and those of us who are Americans. And p.s., I’m a Mexican American!

  7. ELLEN says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,
    Thank you for the opportunity to respond. The USCCB must differentiate between LEGAL immigrants and those ILLEGAL aliens who defy our laws.
    QUOTE – – – CCC: ” 2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.
    Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens. ” UNQUOTE
    Supporting the breaking of legitimate immigration laws violate Catholic Church teaching.

  8. Pat Gillis says:

    With all due respect Cardinal Dolan, I sense the problem is not LEGAL immigration. I have friends who live in Arizona and they are very afraid. So are the police at times. You might want to read the law for yourself rather than relying on the rather predictable perspective from the Washington Post. I think it may not be as onerous as the media implies it is.
    P.S. I only recently found your blog and look forward to new entries. Thank you.

  9. AndyP/Doria2 says:

    Not too sure what to make of this. Are we encouraging people to break our laws?

    Legal immigration has always been an American ideal but is our Church telling people to disregard our laws and sneak in, have children thereby circumventing the rule of law?

    How long can a free nation last doing this?

  10. Irwin says:

    Immigrants will continue to come. The big difference is they NEED to BE LEGAL. Just like so many Europeans were before them.

  11. Susan Venecek says:

    I disagree with the Archbishop. I feel very strongly that immigrants are always welcome in the United States. I also feel very strongly that they must follow the law and come into this country legally. I do not feel that the Arizona law will discourage legal, law-abiding immigrants. I believe that Arizona has a right to protect its borders, since the federal government has failed to do so. There has been too much lawlessness by illegal immigrants and too much tax-payer money has been spent on health-care, education, etc. for illegal immigrants. I would support the SCOTUS if they uphold the Arizona law.

  12. Andrew Humphreys says:

    The Catholic Church must always be the voice of compassion, and the leading defender of the family. Archbishop Gomez obviously echoes that concern in his article, and there is much to agree with, especially when he says, “Of course, we should not have arrived at this precipitous moment. Congress and the administration already should have reformed our failed immigration system. I hope this case will serve as a wake-up call to them.”

    I believe we all can agree that the Rule of Law is one of the principle glue that keeps our society together. The failure to follow the Rule of Law has far reaching implications in all of our lives. If we choose to ignore the Law for our own interest, no matter how noble or necessary, we can lose Moral Authority. From a parent raising his/her child to a government ignoring a God given right, the loss of Moral Authority can be devastating. For example, how does an illegal immigrant tell a teenage child that they must obey the law? The other example is how our government ignores the Catholic Church’s First Amendment Rights.

    As an outstanding representative of the Faith, Archbishop Gomez is 100% correct to point out the impact on a separated family. I am concerned that I am not so Christian to point out that the decades of neglect of a cogent immigration policy has put the legal citizens of Arizona and their families at serious risk. They deal with criminality from ruthless drug cartels, kidnapping to overcrowded schools, and serious strain on municipal services. Rather than coming to their aid and understand the serious problems they face, they have been called racist and sued by the Federal Government, which was supposed to protect them.

    Governments and universal institutions both North and South of the Border failed to emphasize the Rule of Law for too long. Turning a blind eye for decades instead of telling it’s citizens to immigrate legally, and for our country to take advantage of cheap labor, has led us to this. Organized crime and cartels North and South of the border control drug and human trafficking. Legal citizens face crime and financial burdens that are tearing their families apart all due to the neglect and corruption of federal governments North and South of the Border. Who will speak for those families?

    When governments, institutions, religious organizations and people ignore the Rule of Law, then they lose their Moral Authority with devastating impact. It can result in your teenager ignoring your good advice, or a country to be ruled by drug cartels and torn apart by unspeakable violence. We ought to turn to our fellow citizens and their families in Arizona and help them out of the dire situation they are in rather than sue them or believe the worst of them.

    Secure the border first. Create a procedure where illegal immigrants can apply and then seek citizenship just as those who follow the Law. Create immigrant worker identification for those who want it to protect our rights and theirs as human beings. Maybe I am not as good a Christian as I ought to be, but their are consequences to ignoring the Rule of Law. I do not want families to be broken up or separated, but their are 6 billion people in this world, and hundreds of millions might want to migrate here. So we must have an orderly system of immigration, or we will be lost as a country. As the Iranian president meets with the Venezuelan president in South America, we must consider our National Security. Who is crossing our border into Arizona?

    If WE fail to follow the Rule of Law, then we will crumble just as other great societies have in history. Then where do we go?

  13. Richard says:

    Archbishop Gomez’ comment is unfortunate in that it inappropriately characterizes the Arizona law (there is no provision to “seek out and deport”), unfortunately seems to miss the concern of what our (secular, governmental-driven) society has become with hundreds of “benefits” taken forcefully (through taxation) from citizens and given to those who choose to break the laws on immigration, and his comment does not distinguish between the two categories of “immigrants”–legal and illegal. While there is no doubt that even illegal immigrants deserve the human dignity given us by God, the law is a matter of attempting to allocate governmental resources to those who have earned them–charity is not a proper function of our government. Charitable action, for those illegal immigrants who need them, are a function of individuals and organizations, such as the Church and other non-profits. It is very important for all of us, no less our bishops, to keep these considerations in mind and clearly articulate both church teaching and the law.

  14. Jim Rowe says:

    I must agree with many other responese in that immigration needs to be legal. It appears the California’s clergy continues to support illegial immigration as if the doctrines of the magistarian and just laws of the land do not have anything in common.

  15. Jim Rowe says:

    Just laws are just as valid as those defended by the magistariam. Why the clergy in California believes that illegal immigration is an acceptable contridiction to just laws is a mystery.

  16. John G says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    Regarding the blog introduction to the article by Archbishop Gomez:
    • Why is this an “excellent article”?
    • Why is there a “potential drastic outcome if the Supreme Court upholds Arizona’s law”?
    Are these introductory comments yours, Your Eminence? If so, they seem to be fostering and approving of illegal activities.

    Quoting from the motto of one of your predecessors, John Cardinal O’Connor:

    “There can be no love without justice”

    Respectfully, John G.

  17. Irene says:

    Thank you, Archbishop, for speaking out against this unchristian law.

  18. Ellen P. says:

    Archbishop Gomez needs to read the Federal Law. Arizona’s law parrots the Federal law and enables State law officials to prosecute ILLEGALS when it is not done by the Federal Government. Both Federal and State Governments have an obligation to make and enforce laws for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible (their citizens and legal immigrants) – CCC 2241.

    Archbishop Gomez in the past has accused Americans who support Arizona’s law and the Federal law of being discriminators. It is Abp Gomez who is discriminating in favor of law breakers. All those wishing to permanently immigrate to the USA should have to wait their turn in line, not merely break our laws, or be given favoritism.

    The Archbishop’s well known support of the DREAM Act gives college educations at taxpayer expense to immigrants – when this is not even available to US citizens (favoritism again), causing even higher US debt.

    The USA is no longer a prosperous nation. We are approx $16 TRILLION in debt. Our unemployment rate is high. According to the CCC #2411 – without COMMUTATIVE JUSTICE no other form of justice is possible – and this includes paying our debts.

    FIRST – The USCCB needs to support closing our borders except for legal immigration and legal trade.
    This would slow the illegal drug trade, the sexual slavery trade, and murder.
    It would also stop the splitting of families they profess to be concerned about.

    Regarding splitting families – Legals should be given the freedom to go back to their country of origin with the law-breakers – only if they so choose.
    Going back to Adam and Eve and Original Sin, we all pay for the sins of our Fathers and Mothers in one way or another. (For info on Original Sin, see the CCC).

  19. Matthew Ribarich says:

    Dear Most Reverend Archbishop Gomez,
    It is very difficult for a Catholic of almost 60 years to grasp a Judgement made by an Archbishop about a Law in another state, when the state in which they reside as Archbishop has a very similiar law. Why not address the one in your state? It is also difficult to grasp what seems like Bishops and Archbishops receiving partial information on Subject and coming to a conclusion. It just appears that a complete analyses was not analyzed as completely as thought.
    When one that understands the legality of the provisions of the law, one sees no area of discrimination. When one sees the security reports from the Government itself explaining the threat to people including Catholics living on or near the border. Isn’t the protection of other Bishops flock important to you? My family matters to me Archbishop and I would dearly appreciate the leadership of the Church I love to do more research than what clearly appears to have been done on this issue and others. I sit here and wonder why oh why decisions are made from what appears as coming from either emotionional level or one from a fully informed background on this subject. I have reams of information that obviously you must not have seen, regarding imigration and SB1070. It really hurts to see this from leadership of the Catholic Church.
    God Bless you!