Mixed Messages to Immigrants

In a presentation on March 24 at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, in Anaheim, Calif., Cardinal Roger M. Mahony pointed to Matthew 25 to find this sacred mandate—“For I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Cardinal Mahony discussed the major historical waves of immigration into the United States and spoke about the different backlash movements against immigrants. “The so-called ‘flood of immigrants’ has always alarmed some native-born Americans,” he said. “Some feared job competition from foreigners. Others disliked the religion or politics of the newcomers. Has anyone heard that recently? We’re still hearing the same thing today.” Cardinal Mahony said the United States as a nation has been sending “two clear messages at the same time: ‘no trespassing’ and ‘help wanted’; ‘no, we don’t want you here’ and ‘yes, we need you.’ So that’s created a big, big problem now and especially for the future.”

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