American Catholics have faced nativism before. It was wrong then, and it's wrong now.

It was a time of great economic uncertainty and political turmoil. The next election promised to move the nation closer to a terrible precipice, and the native-born were frustrated by their diminished status, one accelerated by an apparently endless flow of newcomers who seemed destined to dislocate and replace them. Cries of “America for Americans” rose across the anxious republic.

Was that 1856 or last week? It appears it has been both. Responding to the “dog whistling”—or worse—of politicians, the xenophobia and neo-nativism of the so-called alt-right, thinly veiled as a political position, has emerged from the murk of the internet. The alt-right’s message has found an especially receptive audience among white males frustrated by reduced economic prospects and a perception of a loosening hold of white hegemony in U.S. society.

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Voices from within this fringe sometimes bluntly promote hate and a juvenile, pseudo-scientific delusion of the superiority of European culture, denigrating others as polluters or diminishers of its greatness. But the Hispanic presence in the New World is old and deep enough to rival any Anglo claim to cultural legitimacy on these shores. Of course it is not as old as that of the “Americans” regularly ignored by such competing claims of authenticity: the indigenous people whose cruel eradication made room for everyone else in the first place.

The reek of this creed of tribalism and intolerance should be instantly recognizable to modern-day Catholics. To the Know-Nothings, Irish Catholics came to America merely as paupers or felons in service to a Romish plot to undermine American liberty through the ballot box. Recycling 19th-century nativist headlines would require little more than the adjustment of a few words: Replace Irish with MexicanCatholic with Muslim.

In the 19th century the Catholic Church was considered the nexus of the disorder that the nativists believed imperiled a near-deified Republic. The contemporary church remains suspect to neo-nativists because of its presumed self-interest in facilitating the acceptance of Latinos into the United States. But the Gospel demands that the church welcome and support modern immigrants; no dark conspiracy is required.

Since its founding, the United States has been vulnerable to such spasms of nativism; the anger and hate on display in this election season may mercifully prove to be no more than one of these temporary lapses of civic sanity. But even if the present episode proves transient, gathering the moral and cultural resources to confront the forces that propel it will only become more important. The United States will continue to be a nation of immigrants.

Donald Trump is a native of perhaps the most multicultural metropolis in the nation, a low-crime, high-energy city that has consistently drawn new economic and creative vigor from its ever-evolving immigrant communities. This is an irony that appears lost on the candidate’s alt-right enthusiasts. While they pursue a Mexican bogeyman of their own creation, in the real world there are now more immigrants arriving in the United States from India and China, a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future.

In a few decades the percentage of the U.S. population born elsewhere may match or exceed 19th-century highs. Descendants of earlier immigrant groups now rightly celebrate their forebears’ verve as a vital expression of their own American heritage. They should actively support today's immigrants as they strive to establish the same communal and economic footholds in a new land. And because of their historical experience in the United States, Catholics have a special responsibility of solidarity and hospitality toward new immigrant groups.

As it absorbs these latest waves of immigrants, the United States of the mid-21st century will be a different place from the nation that assimilated white European immigrants over the last two centuries. That inevitability may contribute to the anxiety experienced among some U.S.-born Americans of European descent, especially if the current job insecurity, income inequality and stagnating social mobility persist. A dramatic transition will be underway. Will the nation be psychically prepared for it, or will it still be revisiting 19th-century battles over cultural and political turf?

Few American institutions can claim the connections with European-descent, Latino and Asian communities that the Catholic Church enjoys. Given its culture of community, theology of unity and practical experience with diversity, the church has a unique capacity to assist in this transition, assuaging anxieties even as it assists newcomers. It can begin that work now by offering a clear, scriptural and consistent condemnation of today’s echoes of nativism, wherever they originate.

CORRECTION, Sept. 22: Due to a production error, a version of this editorial was posted to the web on Sept. 20 that did not match the version that appears in the print edition. This version now matches the print edition.

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William Rydberg
1 year 2 months ago
Wow, are things this bad?
ed gleason
1 year 2 months ago
WR Wow, are things this bad? Yes! Because Trump's #s are rising and Clintons unfavorables are hard to turn around. Hold your nose and Vote Hillary or things will really get bad. Yes
William Rydberg
1 year 2 months ago
I am Canadian and would have preferred Mr Senator Bernie Saunders of Vermont. I find it interesting in that the Society of Jesus doesn't get in to politicks here in Canada, likely because of the Type of government we have in Canada. Charities are discouraged from politicking... Should be an interesting few weeks...
ed gleason
1 year 1 month ago
Stay there in Canada .If Trump wins you will be useful to give direction to about 100 million US immigrants. ... (-:
Tim O'Leary
1 year 2 months ago
As a diehard #NeverTrump, #NeverHillary voter, I would only add that the New Atheist alt-left progressives are just as bad, including their explicit anti-Catholic proliferation of #phobias. While I still think Hillary is a shoo-in, she has turned out to be a terrible candidate, and each news cycle is hammering her political correct fibs. Just this week, we have had the US bombing mistake of the Syrian government forces that ended the cease-fire, the 3 jihadi terror events by 2nd generation Muslim immigrants, the just admitted cock-up at Homeland Security (>1800 security risks immigrants inadvertently given citizenship http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/20/politics/dhs-report-citizenship-deportations/) and the anti-Christian tirade from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission - all this week! I am an ardent supporter of Immigrants who are 1) law-abiding, 2) America-loving & 3) keen to be self-reliant and to learn English. But, I had to laugh at the over-the-top phrase above "a juvenile, pseudo-scientific delusion of the superiority of European culture." It made me think of the famous Monty Python "Life of Brian" episode "What have the Romans ever done for us?" The response began with "the aqueducts" and ended with "All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?"
Mike Evans
1 year 2 months ago
I am an ardent supporter of immigrants who are hopeful, energized and blessed by their new opportunities for themselves and especially their families. They will and have already proved their loyalty and love for their new country and in many cases are more patriotic and willing to serve than native born folk. The present anti-immigrant hate has its roots in bigotry, racism and a host of phobias relative to others. Let us act like Romans and bring good things to life.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 1 month ago
Please, let us be better than the Romans in treating our immigrants!
Rob Hesler
1 year 2 months ago
I'm afraid that, for many American Catholics today, their faith in the Father is so weak they allow fear to drive out love.
Patrick Murtha
1 year 2 months ago
Has this Jesuit Journal become another mouthpiece for Mrs. Clinton or for the trashing of Mr. Trump? What doctrine of Faith is being offended by a desire to guard the gates of one's country against possible dangers to the citizenry? What immorality is taking place when it becomes the policy to fact-check or back-check a possible immigrant? Perhaps Leo the Great should have stood aside and let the Huns ravage Rome, or later, when the Vandals showed up at the gate, he should not have spoke out and prevented their wilder killings and raping as they did in other cities. It is no error to protect one's country. Why will not the Jesuit editors, like true soldiers in the Company of Jesus, turn their sights on the spiritual battles that must be waged, on abortion as the murder of the innocents, on the scandalizing of the little ones through the fashions that scorn and dissuade from chastity and modesty, on the heresies that run rampant through the very ranks and ramparts of the Church? Why against these formidable and fashionable foes has the clarion call of this Company not sounded? And yet, there is talk of mere political left and right. Perhaps the next editorial, if this Company will be inconsistent with their recent tradition, will direct the editors ire against the politics of the far-left as they have expressed for the politics of the far-right. Perhaps they can create a synthesis of both extremes and arrive at a virtue. But I shan't hold my breath on that.
Gerard H
1 year 1 month ago
I, as a Catholic that holds to every doctrine of the Catholic Faith, without fear or prejudice, enthusiastically vote for Donald Trump. Those that use cheap tactics to smear him especially by trying to make "immigrants" the same thing as "Illegal immigrants" are ones preying on fear and bigotry. Trump's intention of repealing the Johnson Amendment which will allow Churches to participate in political free speech is likely what scares the Jesuits. if they are free to speak politically by the government, they will be too tempted to expose themselves as dissident Catholics. And the Chruch will start to systematically clean out the stables. If Hillary wins, her efforts to curb free speech in favor of liberal policies forcing Churches to change their very doctrines or face reprisals actually aids the cause of dissident Jesuits. Modernism, the synthesis of all heresies has totally captivated the religious orders and a majority of the clergy. Where it used to be "as the Church goes so goes the World" now as the Natural Law re-establishes itself in the secular world, the Church will be opened to the graces for true restoration.
Edmund Patrick
1 year 1 month ago
"Why will not the Jesuit editors, like true soldiers in the Company of Jesus, turn their sights on the spiritual battles that must be waged" 100% agree. I am #nevertrump but I was disappointed to see no serious dissection of each candidate's ability to help the Church wage the spiritual wars. Both seem to me spiritually "deplorable" and neither worthy of endorsement by the editors of America. That said, and as hard as this is to say as a Catholic, it will be hard to persuade me that HRC is more aligned with Catholic values than DJT. Particularly on life and religious freedom issues, which one would expect the editors at America to be particularly fixed upon. Oh and the use of "know-nothings" does little to dissipate the anger and anxiety felt by the pro-Trump people out there. Elitist clerics who talk down to the plebs without seeming to "get" what is driving their anxiety, plebs who they desperately need to coax into the pews more than ever, only further isolate themselves and reinforce their IYI status in the culture wars.
James Bannon
1 year 2 months ago
1) My ancestors were Irish and Slovenian Catholics. They: came legally, learned English, became citizens, and pledged allegiance to the United States. Is that too much to ask? 2) Metaphors for people are common, i.e, sheep, goats, wheat, etc. Are those also too hard to understand? Or are you making a political point? 3) Migration is caused by ineffective government policies that cause people to need to move. Where is the discussion of how the US totally dropped the ball in Iraq, Syria & Latin America? And what we can do to help people stay in their homelands?
J Cosgrove
1 year 2 months ago
"a juvenile, pseudo-scientific delusion of the superiority of European culture.
In his book, "Civilization" Niall Fergusson discusses what he calls the six killer apps of Western Civilization. These are competition, science, property rights, modern medicine, consumerism and work ethic. Not all of them were prevalent in all of Europe but were part of England, a large section of Northern Europe and the United States. Essentially where the Industrial Revolution began and thrived. For example, some of these killer apps were not consistent with Spain and their colonies and these areas did not develop in the same way that English settlements did. As a result most of modern science, technology and wealth flows from a small section of the world. So to say that something was not different with parts of European culture is naive at best. http://amzn.to/2cusxLD A video of Fergusson's thesis is at http://bit.ly/2cRG0O4 I have a question for the editors, Are any cultures inferior?
James MacGregor
1 year 2 months ago
I like Patrick Murtha's comments, especially in this vein - I remember reading what America was writing about in the 1950s before McCarthy and Vietnam.
Thomas Mulrooney
1 year 2 months ago
This is an excellent article, reminding us that we Americans are all beneficiaries of this bountiful land. We should each of us acknowledge our debt to the indigenous peoples who lost so much as our forebears spread through the continent.
Vincent Gaglione
1 year 2 months ago
I support the entire editorial. I have totally dismissed and discounted Trump as a candidate since the day he referred to Pope Francis as “disgraceful.” It was one of the first and many insults that he made to and about individuals and groups. I remain as dumbfounded today as I was then that none of the nation’s Catholic Bishops spoke loudly and vehemently in condemnation of this insult to the person whom we consider the Vicar of Christ on earth. I remain equally dumbfounded that so many of my co-religionists make excuses for this insult to the Pope and support Trump. 100+ years ago there were Bishops like John Hughes who could hurl invectives at the bigots with equal force! As one TV commentator noted recently, there is an almost total lack of moral outrage by allegedly religious people to the rhetoric, lies, distortions, and insults that Trump has hurled since announcing his candidacy. One of the only national religious figures to condemn Trump has been Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention! And he is equal to any Catholic on the subjects of abortion and marriage. Were we to only have a Bishop equally as outspoken! Thank you, AMERICA, for a Catholic voice in this campaign!
Tim O'Leary
1 year 1 month ago
Vincent - Trump has said so much worse than this and you are actually misquoting him. So, while I am a #NeverTrump voter, and believe Trump is a total fraud, I think it is important to be accurate in your accusations and be truthful. Here is what actually happened. A reporter told Trump Pope Francis had just insulted him, implying that the Pope considered Trump a non-Christian. Trump responded “For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful.” So, he called out an action, notthe person. Then the Vatican spokesman said Pope Francis didn't mean to question Trump's faith and Trump backtracked, saying the Pope was a "terrific person." It ll happened so quickly no Bishop had a chance to weigh in before it was over. It would have been highly undiplomatic to keep a fight going on this specific spate, after the Vatican had spoken. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/18/donald-trump-pope-francis-christian-wall-mexico-border http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2016/02/pope-and-donald Also, you are incorrect that no US bishop has spoken out about Trump. Archbishop Chaput has been pretty vocal, negatively describing Trump several times, and this week said Trump has "astonishing flaws". Of course, he also rightly thinks Hillary is highly problematic for a Catholic voter. Also, Crux reported that several Catholic Bishops have come out against Trump. For example, there is this: "New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who leads an archdiocese with a huge Hispanic population, placed Trump in the dark history of American chauvinism last week, writing in the New York Daily News, 'Nativism is alive, well - and apparently popular!'" https://cruxnow.com/church/2015/08/03/us-catholic-bishops-take-on-donald-trump/ So, let's stay with the truth and not malign the Catholic Bishops erroneously.
Vincent Gaglione
1 year 1 month ago
You know what...the truth is too often in the eyes of the beholder. Politically speaking, and I have some experience in political matters, a sophisticated political person in Trump's position would demur from commenting on a religious figure's statements about anything. So, to my mind and in my mind, the specifics of the questions and the back-an-forth comments are less important than the man's overall immediate reaction. I would expect a Pope to comment that building bridges is the Christian thing to do as opposed to building walls. I do not expect any politician to question a Pope's right to express that concept in any circumstances. As for public perception, Trump as much as stated that the Pope was disgraceful, the specifics of the circumstances and comment notwithstanding. As for the bishops, you quote my Bishop's article in the Daily News. If I recall correctly the headline writer did but he never did call out Trump's name in the article for inciting the nativism he decries. The successor to John Hughes, whom he quotes, could do much better on that score. And I don't want to hear about the separation of Church and State, which I support vigorously and strictly, on this issue, when seemingly almost every evangelical Protestant leader in the country has been outspoken in support of Trump. As for Chaput, he's playing the equivalency game. Take a shot at Trump. Take a shot at Clinton. Between the two of them I see very little equivalency. Finally, I have no intention to malign the USA's bishops. I damned well do mean, as much as I can, to prod them into taking an outspoken stand at a time when fellow Catholics are being used as pawns in a battle to become elected. Look at the USA's NCCB website. I'd like to see a press release not about one Hispanic Bishop's report on the Bishops' immigration policy but rather a press release signed by every USA Bishop condemning the slandering and targeting of our fellow Catholics! That's the truth as I see it. This is not an election deserving of the parsing of everything according to a high bar when one of the candidates, you'll forgive me, is a lowlife.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 1 month ago
Vincent - you say you support the separation of Church and State vigorously and strictly, and that you have some experience in politics. Yet you want the Bishops to directly call out Trump's name, and, for the first time in US politics, effectively endorse one candidate, who is already trying to substantially reduce the Church's religious freedom. Well that would be crazy, as well as naive. Since it is likely that Hillary will win, the Church would then be faced with a likely attack on its charitable status AND an attack on its freedom to evangelize. If Trump wins, they would at least risk their charitable status. So, that is not good advice. The US Civil rights commission has essentially promised trouble for faithful Catholics if Hillary wins, and Hillary has even said, regarding abortion: “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.” So, a Hillary win is going to make life very difficult for Catholics in any case. It is a tragedy for evangelization all around.
Chris Miller
1 year 1 month ago
What triggered some of the discussion you relate is the initial statements: Trump was extolling the Wall between the US and Mexico. Pope Francis said that for a Christian, we should be offering a hand, not building a wall. That set Trump off in his attack on Pope Francis. And the rest is as you relate. Pr Chris
Tim O'Leary
1 year 1 month ago
As an immigrant, I take exception to the false characterization of me and my fellow immigrants. We were not, like Lake Wobegon, all "above average" in morality or anything else, except, perhaps, for the entrepreneurial risk-taking spirit of leaving home to better ourselves. While many of us thought of America as a kind of promised land of meritocracy and opportunity, I always thought it a minimal obligation to be grateful for our new nation and not to burden those already here by relying on government assistance. And, I certainly do not think that immigrants should be held to a lower standard when it comes to law and order. After all, most crimes by immigrants are inflicted on other immigrants. So, please keep your political correct fibs off of me. Second, as J Cosgrove rhetorically asked below, of course some cultures and societies are far better than others. Every immigrant thinks so, or they wouldn't bother emigrating. A great example is the comparison of East and West Germany after WWII, or North and South Korea. The waves of immigrants were all in one direction. And, I don't see massive immigration into the Middle East. Mexico is also no paradise, with the drug cartels and persistent poverty despite great natural resources. Our Catholic faith requires us to love and care for our neighbor, but not to lie about it. Sure, there are some bigots who don't like people who don't look like themselves. But, it is only another form of bigotry to paint all those worried about assimilation and crime and terrorism and the decline in our national culture with the same brush. Isn't that the very essence of prejudice. When the Irish came over in the 19th century, they weren't always (often) model citizens. It took time. It's certainly not about Hispanics per se. Its about numbers, legality, non-dependency and a swift process of assimilation, of which language and patriotism are necessary components. Thomas Sowell is one of my intellectual heroes on the importance of cultures: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu_bKJ11O0M
James MacGregor
1 year 1 month ago
Amen to Tim O'Leary's comments. My father came to this country from Scotland in 1906, and my late wife from Germany in 1966. Our late best friend came here from Holland. They all had three things in common. They adopted our country fully, committing themselves to being Americans, and did not have the "cop-out" privilege of holding so-called dual citizenship. They learned how our open system works. And, they had no patience with people who came from their same countries, who wanted to tell us how much better thing were in their native lands. And, oh by the way ..... The only "African-American" that I ever met was born of a Scottish father and Dutch mother in South Africa.
ed gleason
1 year 1 month ago
:The only "African-American" that I ever met was born of a Scottish father and Dutch mother in South Africa.' As Obama would say REALLY?
Tim O'Leary
1 year 1 month ago
Ed - you didn't get the irony in James's comment. If someone is several generations from Africa, do they get to be called African-American? If someone has 1/4 African ancestors and 3/4 European ancestors, does it matter if they call themselves African American? What if its 1/16, 1/32? If they are white and from South Africa or Zimbabwe do they get to call themselves African-American (One white South African I know always filled in race forms "African-American"). If someone is 3 generations away from a Swedish grandfather, do they call themselves American or Swedish American? What if their Mother is half-German? Etc. Etc. The funniest thing I hear is for sports commentators to call French blacks "African-Americans." The best solution (listen Kaepernick) is to call oneself American and love one's country and fellow Americans. That is the only way to get beyond perennial racist consciousness.
James MacGregor
1 year 1 month ago
Thanks Tim. Spot on. I have often in my military and civilian careers ben tempted to identify myself as "Other - Caledonian" since we started having that nonsense on various forms. Just as a passive protest. After desegregation, it used to be against the law to ask for ethnicity. ;-) jim P.S. I believe that our current President might say "Oh really?" to any fact. ;-)
ed gleason
1 year 1 month ago
I'm an Irish American from the Bronx by four generations and I always refer to myself as an Irish-American who can kick your ass. It's a common ID in the Bronx so stay away from there.
Anne Chapman
1 year 1 month ago
Some are confusing culture with political systems and/or economic systems. The people who come to the US today are motivated by the same political/economic factors that attracted our own white, European ancestors. German culture is German - but many who lived in east Germany fled because of the political/economic system that had been forced on them. Most Asians, Latin Americans, Africans, and Middle Easterners come to America to escape political and economic oppression, including wars, just as our ancestors did. They didn't come to escape Irish culture, or Italian culture. They usually stayed in their own ethnic neighborhoods, building their own parishes, speaking their own languages. The Italians didn't mingle with the Irish, nor the Poles with the Italians. Today, those seeking to remove their families from the drug wars, and extreme poverty of parts of their Latin American cultures, or political oppression in their countries are not seeking to escape their culture, they are seeking to esape the very same things our Irish and German and Italian and Polish etc ancestors were escaping. Like our Irish and European ancestors, they love their own culture and few would ever have emigrated had political and economic conditions not deteriorated to the point of near hopelessness for the future wellbeing of their families, When most Irish came to America there were no immigration quotas. If there had been, most probably would have been sent home on the next boat. The total lack of compassion on the part of those who should know better is unchristian and very shocking. I can't imagine what those who aren't christian who have immigrated here must think about christianity as they are currently experiencing it in the United States. They would definitely not see it as a religion of love, of mercy, of compassion. It is doubtful that Jesus would look at these "christians" and assume they are His followers.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 1 month ago
Anne - there you go again. Charging anyone who is interested in helping immigrants assimilate with being unchristian. What a way of avoiding solutions while promoting a false uncaring tolerance. You would be happy to keep Hispanic immigrants in Spanish-speaking ghettos and forever feel as strangers in a strange land. I want them to become part of the great American melting pot, and be successful and patriotic, and see their new country as their true home. Isn't that a true welcoming of the stranger? I also do not want Irish immigrants to be stuck in Irish enclaves where they feel foreign to the second generation.
Dawn Webster
1 year 1 month ago
It is good to hear that Cardinal Timothy Dolan has penned an OpEd. But why hasn't he gone to the TV shows with the same enthusiasm and vigor with which bishops took to the airwaves to oppose Obamacare? Why are the bishops nowhere to be seen reminding us of who are called to be and how we are called to treat others?Trump has unleashed a virulent racism and the bishops are largely silent. Their concerns remain controlling women and managing their reproductive rights. The Us Bishops Election guide is a tepid little document that does nothing to address the assault on the Gospel teachings --and American values--that Trump's campaign represents.https://dawnmorais.com/2016/08/25/the-pindrop-silence-from-church-leaders-is-deafening/
Steven Reynolds
1 year 1 month ago
The editors are right to speak out about anti-immigrant nativism and bigotry. It has been wonderful to see unity on this point across a wide spectrum of Christian thinkers, including both those who secular perspective would label as left or right (e.g., this publication, various bishops, Shane Claiborne, Russell Moore). Turning this into a broader Clinton vs. Trump debate is a distraction as only one major party candidate has intentionally let the genie of bigotry out of the bottle here. He is rightly condemned for doing so, but if you can still vote for him hopefully it is despite this behavior and not because of it. Regardless of the result on Nov 8th, we as a people face a long road of recovery in part because of the nastiness promoted this cycle by Mr. Trump.
J Cosgrove
1 year 1 month ago
This is one of the most bizarre editorials yet by America. The "deplorables" has run into all sorts of problems so it's time to bring back the "Know Nothings." It is part of the
Trump Derangement Syndrome is crippling the left People are losing it over Donald Trump. The people I’m talking about are mostly liberals and Democrats who are watching with horror as the election they happily thought Hillary Clinton had put away in August has become a squeaker in September. Their attitude is that any word uttered about the election that doesn’t serve as an open denunciation of Trump is an implicit endorsement of Trump.
http://nyp.st/2djTrom by John Podhoretz who is very negative on Trump. There are 80 million people in the United States that are the result of immigration since 1965 (originally had 1970 but immigration laws were changed in 1965.) Forty million have immigrated, 20 million more are adult children of these immigrants and 20 million more are non adult children of these 60 million adults. These are the facts. How much is enough or desirable? How many can the country absorb? Fifty million more, 100 million, a billion? The editors do not seem to have addressed this issue. Has this number of immigrants and their families affected wages in the country? Have they affected the culture that made this so desirable a place to come. (the most outlandish statement by the editors was the one saying the culture on which the US was founded in nothing special.) The editors are silent on the negative qualities and policies of Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. One of which is the overt racism of the Democrats toward the black community of the United States. Which by way, Donald Trump has addressed. So why are the editors silent on these Democratic policies which are tantamount to racism? They like to throw this term around. There are lot of issues in our country, most of which the editors avoid discussing unless it can somehow be anti-Republican.
Anne Chapman
1 year 1 month ago
Why are you concerned only with immigration since 1970? There are approximately 320 million Americans who are the result of immigration - about 5 million Native Americans. Catholic immigrants from Ireland, and Europe were rejected by those who came before them (protestants) in more or less the same terms that you and others reject more recent immigrants. They were reviled, subject to hatred and discrimination, considered less than fully human. How quickly we who resulted from those immigrants forget. How quickly we who are the result of immigration a hundred or more years ago want to slam the door on those who come seeking exactly what most of our own grandparents and great-grandparents were seeking. Opportunity to practice their religion freely, opportunities for more financial security and providing a better future for their children and grandchildren, safety in trying to escape wars and oppression in their native lands. Most of the WASPs who preceded we Catholics wanted to slam the door against Catholics. Protestants would be OK. . Eventually they did - most of our ancestors slipped in before there were quotas. Our country has by far the strongest economy in the world. As far as just sheer physical space goes, our population density is a fraction of most European countries, not to mention being far, far lower than most of Asia's and parts of Africa's. Countries with vast empty deserts may seem to have lower populaltion densities but it is misleading when much of a nation's land is not used - deserts are often not ideal locations for people. Studies of the impact of recent immigration on the nation's economy indicate that it has had a net benefit. As far as assimilation goes, it normally takes a couple of generations. My closest friend is Greek - with the exception of me and one or two others, she surrounds herself exclusively with other Greeks and Greek culture. She and her husband were born in Greece. Their children were born here, and there has been some tension as they grew up and wanted to have romantic partners who weren't Greek. I suspect that most of those who are so horrified by the recent wave of immigration (still smaller in percentage of the popuation terms than the one in the late 1880s and early 1900s) would have far less angst if all of those immigrants had white skin and came from Europe. Sadly, the very people who should be most against the new brand of "know-nothingism", are embracing it. That's a betrayal of both American values and Catholic values.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 1 month ago
Anne - you (and the Editors above) keep using bigoted racist charges against people who are very supportive of immigration and who only want to consider how best to assimilate the new immigrants. It has nothing to do with whiteness (think of the large population of Bosnians in St. Louis, etc.), but it would really help all immigrants if they learned English quickly, loved their new country and were anxious to become full citizens (rather than spend years as undocumented members of our society). There are at least three special problems with the immigration issue today (even for a pro-immigrant person like myself) that we didn't have in previous waves. 1) The re-settling of refugees from Islamic nations is a special case, because all the recent jihadi terrorist events are from 1st or 2nd gen people from terrorist hotbeds. The sheer incompetence of Homeland Security to give citizenship to 1800 people who ICE had deemed security threats just goes to show how incompetent / blind the current administration is. 2) The welfare state is so vast now that immigrants can immediately burden the system, particularly when they in such large numbers. It affects schools and services and jobs. This needs to be recognized and managed better. 3) We have one party that is so politically correct, that it is useless at law and order and they ascribe any complaint about crime or disorder to racism or some resurgence of xenophobia.
Chris Miller
1 year 1 month ago
I have one question to all who want instant assimilation and acquisition of English, do you know what resources are available for immigrants to learn English? Most classes are under the ESL umbrella. My experience in Maryland, Minnesota, California and Deleware is that as soon as these classes are announced, they are quickly filled, with a waiting list. In many areas, demand is such that they could double these courses and still not meet the need. What are any of the most vocal anti-immigrants "because they do not assimilate" group doing to help immigrants with finding ways to learn English. If you aren't doing anything, why complain? I have two housemates. He is bi-lingual; he has been a green card holder since the 80s. He is marrying a Mexican woman who had virtually no English when he met her. She constantly checks the classes for ESL English here, and is one of the first to sign up. We have a rivalry going...can I learn Spanish as fast as she is learning English. She is very typical of immigrants to the country: Everyone one she works with is also seeking to learn English. "Como se dice ( ) en Espanol?" How do you say ( ) in English? We have cards everwhere. She is not atypical. PR Chris
J Cosgrove
1 year 1 month ago
It is always nice to be called a bigot, un-Catholic and un-American by one's better. Especially with such specious reasoning.
Chuck Kotlarz
1 year 1 month ago
“Has this number of immigrants and their families affected wages in the country?” States with more undocumented immigrants per capita, on average, have median household incomes approximately $5,000 higher. http://politicsthatwork.com/graphs/undocumented-immigrants-median-income States with the most immigrants, both documented and undocumented immigrants, have median incomes more than $11,000 higher than the states with the fewest. http://politicsthatwork.com/graphs/foreign-born-population-median-income
Leonard Villa
1 year 1 month ago
This alt-right nonsense and the Know-Nothing canard are simply ad hominem, attacks on those who do not believe in open borders and want immigration law enforced and the common good protected. The idea that this is about white supremacy is racist and absurd. Instead of going back to 1856 how about going back to more recent American history? Back during The Great Depression, President Hoover ordered the deportation of ALL illegal aliens in order to make jobs available to American citizens that desperately needed work. Harry Truman deported over two million Illegal’s after WWII to create jobs for returning veterans.And then again in 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower deported 13 million Mexican nationals. It was done so WWII and Korean Veterans would have a better chance at jobs. It took 2 Years, but he deported them. In response to the Iranian taking of hostages Jimmy Carter ordered all immigration from Iran stopped. I don't think Hoover, Truman, Eisenhower, Carter were part of a cabal, what you call now using the Clintonite term alt-right. America's current mass immigration mess is the result of a change in the laws in 1965. Prior to 1965, despite some changes in the 50's, America was a controlled-immigration country basically living under immigration laws written in 1924. Thanks to controlled immigration, America became a more or less middle-class society, and our many ethnic groups were brought together into a common national culture the so-called "melting pot."The process of assimilation was thought important for national unity rather than a conglomeration of ethnic groups living in balkanized hostility. Your editorial assumes falsely "instantaneous assimilation." Take a look at Paris today where you have a balkanized city with hordes of unassimilated immigrants groups, mostly Muslim, who do not want to assimilate, where the police are afraid to go.Take a look at what the refugee-influx is to doing to crime rates in Sweden and Germany. It's legitimate for any country to control its borders and determine its own immigration laws and rate of immigration to provide for the common good and protect its citizens. Take a look at the ACTUAL number of unemployed citizens in our country not the cooked-books-number released for media consumption. What about them? Take a look at the inability of our government to deal with hordes of immigration. They just granted citizenship to over 800 deemed security risks! You mention Trump coming from multicultural New York which was just bombed by an immigrant granted citizenship! Do you think he's assimilated? It's time for America Magazine to get real and step out of your ideological bubble-world.
Matthew Kilburn
1 year 1 month ago
So what are the duties of the immigrants who come here? Should they not be required to embrace the ways of the society they choose to inhabit? If someone welcomed you into their home, would it not be basic decency to live by the rules and ways of that house? It is rather hypocritical to attack people who want to limit immigration, in most cases for no reason other than an attachment to their culture and heritage, while saying nothing about those who come here yet delay in adopting our ways. Our language. Our tastes. Etc. Or does Christian charity, in fact, require us to surrender our culture as we know it? Because that certainly seems to be the viewpoint taken by the open borders crowd: that the threat of being made a stranger in your own land is not a valid cause for action.
James MacGregor
1 year 1 month ago
Tim, Once again -- Yes! Your posts seem to reflect what my family members and friends have had as newcomers to our country. My late wife, at her citizenship hearing, had to justify her reasons for wanting to be an American. She had to persuade the judge, in speech, that she could read, write, and speak English. She had to renounce her German citizenship, which was a huge step for her, and one that she never regretted. jim macgreor
Henry George
1 year 1 month ago
America Magazine seems to be waving a "Red Flag" in its insinuations that anyone who is against Immigration be it Documented or Un-Documented, is somehow un-American. Let me ask this: Does America Magazine hire un-documented Immigrants - who cooks and prepares your daily meals, who cleans your rooms and offices ? Is anyone on the Editorial Board in danger of losing their employment to an Immigrant ? Is the salary of anyone at America dependent on an Immigrant being willing to take their position ? It is not the case that there are more Immigrants to American from India and China then from Mexico and Central America. As Matthew Kilburn wonders can the United States survive as a peaceful and united nation if Immigrants refuse to become Americans. Likewise, one can ask as Leonard Villa does what price "Open Borders" - - Is there any other nation in the world that has had as millions of Immigrants as the United States since 1965 ? Are we wiser than any other nation or do they see something that we do not see ? Is it not somewhat naive to compare the America of 1856 to the America of 2016. Where can we go and "Homestead", who among us can go West and begin life anew as farmers, miners, build our own home in the "Wilderness" ? There is no mention in America's Editorial about the shortages of water in large areas of the United States, of the destruction of prime farmland to provide new housing, of the still unsolved poisoned waters in Flint and in towns where "Fracking" has destroyed the environment. J. Cosgrove rightly points out if those who advocate "Open Borders" have any limit on how many Immigrants the United States should admit. Is it in the best interest of those who are the poorest of Americans to admit anyone who wishes to come to America? How can anyone who is working a "Minimum Wage Job" expect a raise when there are Immigrants willing to take over their jobs ? How can the poor afford housing when Immigrants compete for housing, find Medical Care when the Public Hospital is overwhelmed with Immigrants who receive Medical Care through Federal Court Rulings that fail to provide payments for that Medical Care. Likewise for public schools that find themselves overwhelmed with new Immigrant students that they must educate without any due increase in funds for those schools ? How are poorer African Americans to increase their income when their slice of the American Pie becomes smaller and smaller as more and more Immigrants compete with them and when African Americans become the fourth largest minority after Hispanics and Asians in America ? Do you really think Hispanics and Asians feel any guilt over slavery, over Jim Crow, do you really think they will support Government Programs that favour African Americans ? Though Chuck Kotlars states that Immigration seems to increase Median Household Income, the Statistics he cites are misleading. Of course Immigrants are going to move to States/Cities where the income is higher as that is where the jobs are. Where I live, you either farm, belong to a family business or barely survive on Minimum Wages - there are no jobs for Immigrants and 3/4th of the High School graduates have to move away as there are no local jobs for them. Anne Chapman has a big but naive heart. Most of Americans are not Immigrants to the United States of America since 1856. The new Immigrants that were not welcomed with "Open Arms" not so much because they were Catholic but because they were willing to work for lower wages and thus took jobs from those who striving for living wages. The United States is not the strongest economy in the World, please go visit China where new cities are being built, where their Freeway systems is 50 % larger than our Interstate, where they build brand new subways/Airports every year, while we struggle to repair our aged transportation infrastructure. Though we have open spaces in America, most of that land cannot be inhabited because there is no way to supply water to those lands and because these lands are so far from any economic centers. Is it un-American to want to ensure that all American Citizens have jobs before opening the borders ? Do you think, Ms. Chapman, that the problems that drive Immigrants to flee to American will not follow some of them when they move to America ? Are you unaware of who runs the Illegal Drug Cartels in America, who organised the massive transportation of the Children of Un-Documented Immigrants to our borders and dumped them there ? Would it not be more compassionate if the UN had intervened in Syria, the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Congo and Zimbabwe to rid the world of bloodied Dictators so that people would not need to flee the the violence and repression ? But that requires military violence. What should a Christian do, for surely unlimited Immigration will bring Ethnic Violence sooner or later as those who were born citizens feel robbed of their future by those who recently and illegally migrated/. Look at France, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and the rise of anti-Immigrant Parties in those countries. I do not want anyone to have to live like the people of Zimbabwe are living. I do not want anyone to have to suffer as the people of Syria have and are. Open borders sounds nice but the reality is that the United States will just be overwhelmed with Immigrants and social strife will only increase and some would be Dictator will seek to "drive out all the Immigrants" as their campaign slogan and then what will happen to all those who have Immigrated ? When you load a ship with cargo, you have to load it in a balanced manner or the ship will list and possible tip over and sink in a storm. Yes, American can accept Immigrants, but where is the duty of the rest of the world to accept Immigrants and why doesn't the World rid the World of Dictators who create the Immigration crises ? As for the Editors of American magazine let us be honest: You have complete medical care - you do not personally pay for your medical care that covers 100 % of your expenses. Every night you have meals provided for you, you need not worry about unemployment, taxes that take so much of your income that you have no money at the end of each month. Yes, Jesuits do great work around the world helping the displaced and the poor. But an Editorial that dismisses those who do face competition for Jobs, Medical Care, Education, and thus want native born Citizens to be treated preferentially by their own Government than those who cross the borders in violation of the laws as those who "...reek of the creed of tribalism and intolerance..." is bigotry that we see and have seen from the Elite Progressives again and again, the very people who refuse to hire African Americans and other American Citizens but only go through Employment Agencies that provide only "safe" Immigrants to be their Nannies, Maids, Gardeners...Landscapers. When Jesuits have to go on Welfare, when Jesuits have to live off of Unemployment, when they have no Medical Insurance, let alone one that covers all their Medical Expenses, when Jesuits have no home to go to, when Jesuits have no money to buy food at the end of the month - get back to all of us who rather have Immigrations slowed until all Americans have a life as easy as that of the Jesuits at America Magazine - for is it a sin to seek to help Immigrants find a better life in their own country by Just Interventions to remove Dictatorships that have made their lives so miserable. No it is not 1776, nor 1856, nor 1956, it is 2016 and this is a very, very dangerous world. There are no "New Frontiers" for those who seek a new economic future to go and civilise. True Justice requires that we remove the Dictators who destroyed the lives of those who have fled their own countries. Un-regulated Immigration will only bring civil strife that will end up destroying the very lives of the Immigrants who arrived in America without any due consideration of the consequences of what that Immigration does and will do to the poorest of Americans. So yes they "Know-Something" they know what it is like to be poor in America and to have to compete for basic resources day in and day out while the Editors of America have a secure life. You owe them an open and complete Apology for after all you are all far better educated they they are and so while their ignorance may excuse their words and actions, there is little for excuse for you dismissing so many Americans who fear, fear in ways that most Jesuits will and have never experienced, poverty in what was once the Wealthiest Nation in the World.
Chris Miller
1 year 1 month ago
Tom. I read your post...for a few paragraphs, until the talking points that aren't accurate began to severely intrude on the readability of your post. A few comments on some of your points: By every measure, the current immigrants, documented or undocumented, assimilate into American culture at the same rate as those in previous decades. There will always be some immigrants who never learn English--for one, because of all the exceptions our language has incorporated over the centuries. Go back and look at the I Love Lucy episode where little Ricky is imminently due, and the soon-to be parents are excited. Ricky talks about reading to Ricky before bed, and Lucy says: Oh, no, you won't be teaching your son English..your accent is terrible. And Ricky tries to read a child's book that uses a different word ending in ough(t)...and every time he would read the word like he read the previous one; Lucy would correct him, and he'd then try to read the next word as she had told him. [and example: One page had "bough". The next page had "brought", then "through", then "though", etc. Each pronunciation would be wrong, of course, and it didn't take long to totally frustrate and confuse Ricky. Kids in elementary school understand this story...those dreaded sight words. You simply had to memorize the way they were spelled and how they were pronounced. But people who come here without being literate in their native language have a double challenge to learn English. Some, and especially the older population, find it greatly intimidating. And yet, ask your local adult education center: How many openings are there for ESL (English as a Second Language] courses right now. In my experience, in 4 states...when new classes are announced, they fill up very quickly, and end up with a waiting list. Immigrants are desperate to take these courses. They KNOW they want and need to learn English..before you complain about the lack of English speakers among immigrants, check out what their options are for English language help. Or, you could volunteer to train as an ESL teacher and help fill the gap. It is tremendously rewarding! But I think your biggest affront is to encounter families out in the community speaking their native language among themselves. Someone in the family can interpret--usually the school aged kids--why should they not speak their native language? If you've ever traveled to another country where English is not the native language...do you immediately speak that language? Nope, you stay in English, esp. among your group. Yes, you are talking about probable immigrants, not tourists on a short trip; but I've had the middle experience: I served overseas for 3 years, two of them in Germany, and even though I had studied German in the schools here, and I lived on the economy and so interacted with my German neighbors, and sincerely wanted to become fluent in German, I was very thankful that all government communications contained an English translation. I would have run the risk of giving away my rights in a legal issue had I not been able to fully understand. [legalese German is incredibly dense. The 7 words in a sentence might have been 20 words earlier in time; till they've been crammed into larger, compound words.] I don't blame immigrant families from speaking their native language as a group...partly because I understand the sense of familiarity it gives among a very different culture than their original land. Partly, too, because I understand the risks a simple transaction can be, and the need to understand before signing something. But the most important reason is that they are keeping their culture alive in the younger generation. And that is a good thing! My dad's parents used their Swedish as a way of keeping secrets from him. And he never learned Swedish, something he really regretted later in life. Kids who are multilingual and multicultural are in high demand for jobs--very good jobs in many cases. I live in Southern California, an area that was part of the Native/Spanish society that we conquered. There are families living in our community who have been here longer than English speakers have. Our culture is influenced by its Spanish history, as we learn to spell words like Calle, (and pronounce it), Hueneme, etc. The original name for Los Angeles, is, in full El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula," ("The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels on/of the River Porciúncula"). Now you know why it is simply called "Los Angeles" (The Angels). Our nation is not threatened by the arrivals of foreign nationals. It is enhanced. We are literally the nation of the world. And as a result of that, ANY child born or brought her can achieve anything they can dream. That is the national wealth we have. Look at Saudi Arabia...they have a well-educated adult society; and no jobs for them that they will do. It is a source of unrest because of it. The "European civilization" Is one choice for a development of a people...but there are other civilizations that have much to offer, INCLUDING the Arabic/Muslim world. We have a choice with the latter: we can try and beat it down, or we can extend the hand of welcome as we have done over the centuries with other immigrants. Trying to destroy Islam is impossible; it will make the 30 years war and the 100 years war look like warm ups. The vast percentage of Muslims offer friendship as other immigrants have. Try introducing yourself to someone of another culture or language; offer to help them and become a friend to them. And you will be greatly enriched! Pr Chris.
ed gleason
1 year 1 month ago
Your allies, the" Know Nothings: are fed the red meat by FOX news by constant repetition of the words Islamic Terrorism and blame Obama for not using the words Henry George , because you write so well you could help educate your Know Nothing allies by naming the many instances of Catholic terrorism , Protestant terrorism, Jewish terrorism, Hindu terrorism etc etc. Teach them, please. so we don't have a religious civilization war. .

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