Immigration Control: A Catholic Dilemma?
26 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2015
Date Written: January 12, 2007
Last year's proposed immigration law reforms inflamed American society and fueled considerable debate regarding our nation's domestic and social obligations. One particularly controversial bill proposed in the House of Representatives, H.R. 4437, would have criminalized undocumented aliens as felons. Although the resolution did not pass, its advocates continue to seek similar controls and enjoy much support.
The American public has been sharply divided over immigration, and disparate views on immigration control have been expressed even within the often-unified Catholic community. Indeed, Catholic voices have been some of the loudest in advocating and opposing H.R. 4437: Catholic bishops have called for amnesty; Catholic lawmakers have defended strict penalties as critical to domestic welfare.
This Article studies whether Catholic teaching, with its foundation in natural law, condones differing views on immigration control. This analysis reveals that divergent responses to immigration are indeed permissible and natural among faithful Catholic believers. I would therefore urge Catholic lawmakers to recognize the permissible variation among believers and to dialogue more openly with religious and secular lawmakers.
Keywords: immigration, reform, criminalization, social obligations, Catholic teaching
JEL Classification: K14, J61
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation