|Justice for Immigrants -by Richard Bedard|
(Galatians 3:28) This is an issue that has many facets, and all play a role for those who are in our country illegally as well as those here legally and its citizens. Presented here is some food for thought to get you thinking about what you can do to bring justice to this situation.The information provided here, along with much more, can be accessed on line at http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/ and http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalexec.html
The Catholic Church has historically held a strong interest in immigration and how public policy affects immigrants seeking a new life in the United States. Based on Scriptural and Catholic social teachings, as well as her own experience as an immigrant Church in the United States, the Catholic Church is compelled to raise her voice on behalf of those who are marginalized and whose God-given rights are not respected.
Five Basic Principles of Catholic Social Teaching Relating to Migration
1. PERSONS HAVE THE RIGHT TO FIND OPPORTUNITIES
IN THEIR HOMELAND:
All persons have the right to find in their own countries the economic, political, and social opportunities to live in dignity and achieve a full life through the use of their God-given gifts. In this context, work that provides a just, living wage is a basic human need.
2. PERSONS HAVE THE RIGHT TO MIGRATE TO SUPPORT
THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES:
The Church recognizes that all the goods of the earth belong to all people. When persons cannot find employment in their country of origin to support themselves and their families, they have a right to find work elsewhere in order to survive. Sovereign nations should provide ways to accommodate this right.
3. SOVEREIGN NATIONS HAVE THE RIGHT TO CONTROL
The Church recognizes the right of sovereign nations to control their territories but rejects such control when it is exerted merely for the purpose of acquiring additional wealth. More powerful economic nations, which have the ability to protect and feed their residents, have a stronger obligation to accommodate migration flows.
4. REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS SHOULD BE
Those who flee wars and persecution should be protected by the global community. This requires, at a minimum, that migrants have a right to claim refugee status without incarceration and to have their claims fully considered by a competent authority.
5. THE HUMAN DIGNITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS OF
UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANTS SHOULD BE RESPECTED:
Regardless of their legal status, migrants, like all persons, possess inherent human dignity that should be respected. Often they are subject punitive laws and harsh treatment from enforcement officers from both receiving and transit countries. Government policies that respect the basic human rights of the undocumented are necessary.
Points to Consider
The costs of past and present Illegal Immigration to our country is staggering: Households headed by illegal aliens imposed more than $26.3 billion in costs on the federal government in 2002 and paid only $16 billion in taxes, creating a net fiscal deficit of almost $10.4 billion, or $2,700 per illegal household. Among the largest costs are Medicaid ($2.5 billion); treatment for the uninsured ($2.2 billion); food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches ($1.9 billion); the federal prison and court systems ($1.6 billion); and federal aid to schools ($1.4 billion). (source Center for Immigration Studies)
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