It's no secret the U.S. bishops have been at the forefront of calls for immigration reform and have made efforts to pull lay Catholics on board, despite polls showing what they advocate is deeply unpopular.
But another bishop has stepped into the fray with an argument I haven't heard before (though I certainly don't claim to be an expert on immigration reform). In a piece today for First Things (reprised from a statement he issued in May), Bishop Edward J. Slattery of Tulsa, Okla., says the federal government, because of lax border control, thereby gave "tacit permission" to the tens of millions of immigrants who entered the country illegally.
In recent years, when there was a steady demand for labor, the federal government allowed millions of immigrants to enter the country illegally for the sake of our economy. It did not protect the sovereignty of our borders, nor did it provide a realistic means for these needed workers to enter the country legally....
These men and women broke the law by entering the country illegally, but they did this with the tacit permission of the federal government, and most have since become part of the fabric of everyday life in America, contributing by their industry and intelligence (as well as by their taxes) to the common good.Bishop Slattery offers five principles to guide immigration reform, including offering legal residency (not citizenship) to illegal immigrants already here. Read the entire piece here.
Has anyone else seen this argument made? Did the federal government effectively give permission for immigrants to enter illegally?