Father James Martin: Stop the assault on asylum seekers

A Honduran migrant family who are part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S. run from tear gas released by U.S. border patrol near Nov. 25 the fence between Mexico and the United States in Tijuana, Mexico. 

Yesterday the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency fired tear gas at migrants trying to seek asylum in the United States at the border crossing at Tijuana. How did our country reach the point where we are tear-gassing mothers and children? One reason is because of the widespread myths about these brothers and sisters of ours.

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Myth One: They are “illegals.” First, no one is an “illegal person” and seeking asylum is widely recognized as a universal human right. Current international agreements about asylum stemmed from a desire not to repeat the fate of Jews during the Second World War, who were denied entrance to many countries. And one requirement for asylum is to be physically present in the United States, which is exactly what these men, women and children from Central America are trying to do. In fact, it is illegal to dismiss asylum seekers without hearing their cases. In other words, they are trying to follow both international and U.S. law.

Myth Two: We cannot afford them. Many people believe that the United States and many European countries shelter a huge amount of refugees. This is false. The majority of the world’s refugees live in poor or middle-income nations. Eight out of 10 of the world’s refugees are sheltered by developing countries. In 2016, for example, Turkey, Pakistan and Lebanon hosted the highest number of refugees, a combined total of 5.4 million refugees. Of the 15 million refugees worldwide, 86 percent reside in developing countries. By contrast, the United States, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, is allowing only 30,000 refugees in next year. We can afford it.

Myth Three: They are mainly criminals. Claims that these migrants are criminals, that this exodus harbors terrorists from the Middle East, are unfounded. Are there a few criminals somehow mixed in? No more than with any other group in the past and that would include the immigrants that came to this country in the last 200 years: Italians, Irish, Germans and on and on. People fleeing Honduras, for example, who are mainly women and children, face some of the worst violence, inequality and corruption in the world: criminal gangs, rape and persecution, on top of poverty. There is a reason that they are risking everything to come here. They are fleeing crime, not bringing it. So before you dismiss these people as illegals, as too expensive and as criminals, know the facts. And even if you want to dismiss these facts, remember what Jesus said about welcoming the stranger. He did not say welcome them when they had the right papers. He did not say welcome them when there was zero risk. He did not say welcome them when you could afford it. Jesus said, welcome them.

[Explore America’s in-depth coverage of immigration.]

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Michael Barberi
2 weeks 4 days ago

The myths you mention are correct, but not the real problem. You fail to mention the hundred of immigrants that threw rocks and bottles at border control agents. They responded with pepper spray to disperse this crowd. Their actions were tempered and moderate, and not extreme at all. FYI, border agents did the same thing in 2013 under Obama. Yet, the media does not report this. I wonder why?

The real problem is the Congress, both parties, that will not compromise on a fair, compassionate and reasoned immigration policy. The answer is not open borders. The answer must include border security (e.g., a wall, technology and more border control agents). Without border security, more and more migrants will keep entering the U.S. illegally. This is completely unfair to the thousands of immigrants who have applied for entry to the U.S. "legally" and are patiently waiting for a positive decision.

I have called for increasing the number of immigrants permitted to enter the U.S. from about 1 million to 2 million, a more efficient process to screen and approve applicants, an end to 'catch and release', more immigration judges to process asylum seekers, limits on chain migration and a 'partial' merit-based system. Unfortunately, no one in Washington is listening.

We cannot be outraged over thousands of immigrants wanting to enter the U.S. illegally and not be equally outraged over Congress's inaction. The problem is not merely Trump as many want to believe.

Greg Krohm
2 weeks 4 days ago

The three myths you discuss seem correct to me. But while we should allow more than the paltry 30,000 refugees slated to enter the US, it ought to be done in an orderly, safe fashion. Storming a weak spot in the border fence is far from orderly. It is obvious that such a situation will provoke a physical and dangerous contest with authorities. What were the parents thinking by bringing kids into harms way?

Suppose we let anyone walk into the US and claim asylum. The logistics of screening the refugees from oppression from "economic migrants" would test our border controls to the break point. It amazes me that well intended people of faith cannot project the consequence of open ended border storming. If the 500 who climbed the fence made it into the US without any constraints this would undoubtedly encourage a second, third, and fourth wave from the caravan people already in Tijuana. When word of their free entry got back to their home countries new waves of caravan people would embark, with no end in sight. Finally, there is a question of assigning refugees status by need, whether the limit is 30,000 or some higher ceiling. It is not clear to me if a person from Central America has more need for asylum than a person from Syria or Nigeria.

Greg Krohm
2 weeks 4 days ago

Deleted

Jeffrey More
2 weeks 4 days ago

Fr. Martin's dishonesty in the service of his left-wing beliefs is truly amazing. Virtually every claim he makes in this tendentious article is a lie. The caravan does not consist primarily of women and children; it consists largely of young men. The caravan is larded with criminals. The people tear-gassed yesterday were not legally seeking asylum; they were illegally seeking to gain access to U.S. territory so that they could, by virtue of their criminality, bootstrap themselves into a position from which they could claim asylum. They were not seeking to follow both international and U.S. law, but to break it. I defy Fr. Martin to demonstrate, with citations to scripture and Church teachings, why it is that a nation cannot morally enforce its immigration laws or guard its borders.

Tom B
2 weeks 4 days ago

Dear Mr. More, I agree with everything you've said in this comment except calling Fr. Martin dishonest. He is entitled to his opinion, as you and I are entitled to ours.

Charles Morgan
2 weeks 4 days ago

Fr. Martin is, of course, entitled to his opinions. The facts he adduces to reach his opinions are unconscionably slanted. That is what makes Mr. More - and me - conclude is being dishonest. Fr. Martin is a smart man. Even he knows he is being dishonest.

Stan Zorin
2 weeks 3 days ago

@ Tom B - What about this angle ? : Father Martin is an honest man with dishonest views and opinions.

Dionys Murphy
2 weeks 3 days ago

"it consists largely of young men. The caravan is larded with criminals" - Prove it. Without citing a neo-conservative propaganda site that also provides zero evidence.

Honestly, calling someone a liar while propagating lies is a big ironic.

Jeffrey More
2 weeks 3 days ago

How about Gadi Schwartz on MSNBC, reporting yesterday that the caravan consists largely of young men? Is that sufficiently far left-wing wing, non-neo-conservative for you?

F C
2 weeks 2 days ago

Jerffrey More
Trouble is that your diatribe is not that weak on the tendentious side, either! If you calmed down and you might find a perfectly civilised conversation is possible instead of the your felt need to "defy Fr. Martin to demonstrate" etc

Denise Mccarthy
2 weeks 4 days ago

Thank you, Father Martin. I would only add that no matter what laws are being observed or broken, the current treatment of immigrants by the US is beyond what is necessary to maintain safety. And, the arrival of this group of asylum seekers was not a surprise. How could we have been more prepared and avoided tear gassing little kids? The posters below are correct in stating that Congress and past presidents have been remiss in addressing immigration, and, thus, we are all responsible here.

Denise Mccarthy
2 weeks 4 days ago

Thank you, Father Martin. I would only add that no matter what laws are being observed or broken, the current treatment of immigrants by the US is beyond what is necessary to maintain safety. And, the arrival of this group of asylum seekers was not a surprise. How could we have been more prepared and avoided tear gassing little kids? The posters below are correct in stating that Congress and past presidents have been remiss in addressing immigration, and, thus, we are all responsible here.

Jim MacGregor
2 weeks 4 days ago

I would rather hear from residents of Tijuana about treatment of the "refuges" in their town.

John Rosson
2 weeks 4 days ago

The issues are more complex than cleverly identifying myths. What is the author of myth. Myth can speak truth but not necessarily be ..... It would seem that nuance, discernment,
objective examination give way to an ideology that is committed to battle lines. Has any
thought been given to the exploitation of these good people journeying thousand - plus miles
on false promises? Has any identification of this large movement of peoples being made
beyond declarations about their identities. Fr. M has not advanced the course. Study the
headline and see where there is objectivity of the issue.

Keith Breedlove
2 weeks 4 days ago

We (the United States) have a border, and as a sovereign nation, we have laws governing who can cross that border. Fr. James ignores that economic migrants who are coached on what to say are not true asylum seekers. He also ignores the economic damage they do to "the least of ours" by depressing wages. There are also health threats as we've seen the recurrence of diseases that had largely been eradicated in the US. Finally, the US is the most immigrant-welcoming in the world, accepting around a million LEGAL immigrants a year. Fr. James is just wrong.

Robin Smith
2 weeks 4 days ago

How do you know the difference from those "coached" from the true asylum seekers if their cases aren't heard? One of Sessions last directives was denying asylum based on gang violence, economics &/or domestic violence.
Depressed wages have nothing to do with immigrant workers, that's from those farms & companies that hire them. Will you have your kids pick lettuce, wash dishes, clean stalls, cut up pigs for your bacon instead of going to college?
45 has cut legal immigration down to 30,000 (except for his wife, her family & workers on his properties.)

Dionys Murphy
2 weeks 3 days ago

Health threats primarily come from people in the US who are ignorant and forego vaccines, as well as from the fact that healthcare isn't nationalized or available to everyone on top of other issues that poverty contributes to such as lack of basic food leading to poor immunity. Spreading this untruth is jumping onto the "diseased rat Jew" bandwagon that Hitler once used and right-wing pundits are using again. The US also adheres to and signed onto international law regarding refugees. Moreover, the US is not currently even following its own laws governing border security because Trump and his Repugnant Cons don't have any actual solutions other than "shoot the brown people." Which for some reason his supporters love. As for the economic damage you claim, I don't see thousands of "the least of ours" streaming to fill the thousands of jobs left vacant by migrant workers who did not return this year. Primarily because many Americans are spoiled little entitled children.

Keith Breedlove
2 weeks 4 days ago

We (the United States) have a border, and as a sovereign nation, we have laws governing who can cross that border. Fr. James ignores that economic migrants who are coached on what to say are not true asylum seekers. He also ignores the economic damage they do to "the least of ours" by depressing wages. There are also health threats as we've seen the recurrence of diseases that had largely been eradicated in the US. Finally, the US is the most immigrant-welcoming in the world, accepting around a million LEGAL immigrants a year. Fr. James is just wrong.

Dionys Murphy
2 weeks 3 days ago

"the US is the most immigrant-welcoming in the world, accepting around a million LEGAL immigrants a year. Fr. James is just wrong." - -Actually, you are just wrong. Asian and middle eastern countries are the most welcoming of immigrants and have the largest immigrant population PER CAPITA. The UAE, for example, welcomes more than five times as many immigrants per capita as the US. You must not have a Jesuit education.

E.Patrick Mosman
2 weeks 4 days ago

Perhaps the author should inform himself
and all of the pro-illegal immigrant, anti-Trump mobs should study the historical actions of a past President and Secretary of State in
Border Politics and the Use and Abuse of History
By Victor Davis Hanson June 19 2018
"In 2014, during a similar rush, both Barack Obama (“Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they’ll get sent back.”) and Hillary Clinton (“We have to send a clear message, just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay. So, we don’t want to send a message that is contrary to our laws or will encourage more children to make that dangerous journey.”) warned — again to current media silence — would-be asylum seekers not to use children as levers to enter the U.S." Also pictures taken in 2014 of Obama's immigrant children's interment camps,ignored or hidden by the administration and the subservient media are now available. at the:
dailycaller /2018/06/19/photos-obama-immigration-detention-facilities
How is it possible that what was obviously acceptable treatment of immigrant children "un-newworthy" four years ago is now used to attack the President? Where were all these Catholic organizations then who now protest too much?

All this faux outrage and non-stop media coverage was absent then as the progressive reporters and TV talking heads were in awe of the man who was going to stop the oceans from rising so,of course, he could stop children from entering America.
Looking forward to seeing a full expose of Obama's actions.

" Doesn't matter what the previous 44 President's did" Why not?
Did you call out and ask the Obama administration "What would Jesus do? If not why not?
Maybe Jesus would say "Matthew 22:21 Jesus said "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's." In this case Government immigration laws and judicial decisions are the equivalent of Caesar's things. Or he might reference Romans 13:1 "Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God and those which exist are established by God."

Chris Lochner
2 weeks 4 days ago

What unbridled hypocrisy! We can afford to help those entering the country illegally but...when was the last time we ever heard of helping the mentally ill who live on our streets or, again, those in our country who live in grinding poverty? This is a sop thrown to those who consider individuals to be much more of an intellectual exercise and cause than living people. This is more of an opposition to Donald Trump than ANY form of Christianity. The bishops and Fr. Martin are infamous with this attitude. Often, the parable of The Good Samaritan is quoted but with one important caveat, namely, the poor person in need of assistace need be a "hot button" issue primarily if only, or this "love" flees the scene. I wonder if those who believe in the mentioned drabble really care about anyone at all unless their own personal status is elevated. This is yet another example of self-serving secularity wreaking havoc upon the Church. To those in agreement with Fr. Martin, I pray you feel at least a pang of conscience as you limo past the downtrodden on your way to an immigrant rally filled with immeasurable levels of the backslap (try not to dislocate your elbow).

Paul Perez
2 weeks 4 days ago

From a public policy standpoint, the issue of immigration is quite complex; from a Christian (particularly Catholic Christian) perspective, it is not. Father Martin's comments betray a perhaps unintentional conflation of the two perspectives. One statement is factually incorrect: according to the UNHCR, there are 20 million refugees worldwide (25 million if one counts the Palestinians in Gaza and the Left Bank (https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/figures-at-a-glance.html).

Chivas Dudley
2 weeks 4 days ago

We have laws that allow for the orderly and safe entry into the USA of foreigners who wish to seek asylum etc. We have a Nation and its people to protect from those who could do us harm buy illegal enter either directly or indirectly through any diseases they might carry. If they want to follow procedures for a safe and orderly entry that is fine with me but if they place others or themselves in harm way then they must be stopped using any legal method. Pepper spray or rubber bullets to disperse and hopefully make them realize they must follow legal procedures. Otherwise more drastic measure must be taken to protect our Nation from foreigners.

JOHN GRONDELSKI
2 weeks 4 days ago

They ARE illegals. Crossing a border is a legal act, and one does it either legally or illegally. The Immigration & Nationality Act sets the criteria for crossing the border. And, yes, Jimmy, countries DO have the right to control their borders. Even close them.

Andrew Strada
2 weeks 4 days ago

In the world according to Fr. Martin, the entire population of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and God knows where else have the right to enter the United States whenever it suits their fancy and we have nothing to say about it. When Bertolt Brecht talked about the East German government's need to elect a new people, he was presumably talking tongue in cheek. The Fr. Martin's of the world are deadly serious.

E.Patrick Mosman
2 weeks 4 days ago

By International conventions asylum seekers must seek asylum in the FIRST country they enter. Mexico has offered asylum to those now in their country but the so-called asylum seekers refused it. The USA is under no obligation to accept them.

Dionys Murphy
2 weeks 3 days ago

This is not true. International laws and conventions assert the foundational right of asylum seekers to seek asylum in the country of their choice. Please go educate yourself.

E.Patrick Mosman
2 weeks 3 days ago

The concept of First Country Asylum is not straight forward, it is complicated as set forth in
https://www.refworld.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/rwmain/opendocpdf.pdf?reldoc…
Section 11
The concept of first country of asylum
Introduction: International Standards
The concept of first country of asylum is defined
in Article 26 of the APD:
A country can be considered to be a first country
of asylum for a particular applicant
for asylum if:
(a) s/he has been recognized in that country as a
refugee and s/he can still avail
him/herself of that protection; or
(b) s/he otherwise enjoys sufficient protection in
that country, including benefiting
from the principle of non-refoulement;
provided that s/he will be re-admitted to that
country.
In applying the concept of first country of asylum
to the particular circumstances of an
applicant for asylum Member States may take into
account Article 27 (1).
There does not seem to be any "right" for an asylum applicant to designate a country or countries for asylum.

Tom B
2 weeks 4 days ago

Fr. Martin, it seems to me that if Mexico had secured its borders this issue would not be extant. However, Mexico did not, as we did not secure our borders under the past administrations. Mr. Trump's first responsibility is to this country, as every leader - Macron, Merkel, May, etc. - is responsible to look after their country first; not the rest of the world. While we welcome the immigrant we have to do it thoughtfully, within moral and civil laws, and charitably. Every undocumented immigrant who crosses illegally violates the rights of the immigrants who wait years to come here legally. Further, the undocumented deprive the people of this country (that would be the people here legally) of what they need and/or their tax dollars. Let's first show respect for our own people.

Himelda Martinez
2 weeks 4 days ago

Origen of the Gangs in Central America.

In 1996, the US Congress extended the get-tough approach to immigration law.

Between 2000 and 2004, an estimated 20,000 young Central American criminals, whose families had settled in the slums of Los Angeles in the 1980s after fleeing civil wars at home, were deported to countries they barely knew. Many of the deportees were native English speakers who had arrived in the United States as toddlers but had never bothered to secure legal residency or citizenship.

The deportees arrived in Central America with few prospects other than their gang connections; many were members of MS-13 and another vicious Los Angeles group, the 18th Street Gang (which took the name Mara 18, or M-18, in Central America). Local governments -- which were desperately trying to rebuild after a decade of civil strife -- had no idea who their new citizens really were: the new U.S. immigration rules banned U.S. officials from disclosing the criminal backgrounds of the deportees.W
Origen of the Gangs in Central America.

In 1996, the US Congress extended the get-tough approach to immigration law.

Between 2000 and 2004, an estimated 20,000 young Central American criminals, whose families had settled in the slums of Los Angeles in the 1980s after fleeing civil wars at home, were deported to countries they barely knew. Many of the deportees were native English speakers who had arrived in the United States as toddlers but had never bothered to secure legal residency or citizenship.

The deportees arrived in Central America with few prospects other than their gang connections; many were members of MS-13 and another vicious Los Angeles group, the 18th Street Gang (which took the name Mara 18, or M-18, in Central America). Local governments -- which were desperately trying to rebuild after a decade of civil strife -- had no idea who their new citizens really were: the new U.S. immigration rules banned U.S. officials from disclosing the criminal background of the deportees

Margaret Gust
2 weeks 4 days ago

They are assaulting our country. This is OUR country and we have every right to defend it against invaders, no matter what their age. The fault here is the parents who dragged her kids into this crime - why are you not calling on them for child endangerment? They assaulted our fellow Americans who are defending our border - why are you not telling the invaders to stop throwing rocks, which, unlike tear gas, can kill people? What is wrong with you that you have no respect for this country, our laws and the lawful process of immigration we have established? You need to do some serious examination of conscience, Father Martin. Given the history of the church and particularly of the Jesuits in Central and Latin America, you need to do a second examination of why the Church has done such a lousy job in these countries that they have no stable political and social institutions where crime and bribery of government officials is accepted practice, and where every year thousands of their citizens decide they have the right to invade our country. Instead of blaming the US government for defending itself and we loyal law abiding citizens, you and the rest of the Church should be asking why you haven't done a better job in these Third World countries with their poor economies, low literacy rates, sky-high crime rates, and their anti-law attitude.

arthur mccaffrey
2 weeks 4 days ago

......and don't forget their high birthrate, encouraged by the Catholic Church.

F C
2 weeks 2 days ago

Margaret Gust
You recommend to Fr Martin that he needs to do "some serious examination of conscience". Are following your own advice?

Bev Ceccanti
2 weeks 4 days ago

All of my grandparents and all of my aunts and uncles from that generation,many friends of the family , and all of my husbands grandparents, many aunts and uncles and family friends were immigrants. They came to escape hardship' , poverty, and the danger of war and political strife. They were screened for disease. They had to have sponsors. There was no welfare or medicaid. My father ad his brothers learned English, on their own, when they went to school. There were no " English as a second language " classes. I live in an urban environment and engage with immigrants all the time in the course of daily business and I'm delighted for it. Bottom line is I think I have some perspective on this issue. It was created by manipulators .think many legal immigrants agree with this perspective. . I asked a Caribbean friend(who has many relatives in Honduras.) about the caravan. He said the people were poor but not starving, and not in danger of death. He said they are coming from cities where life is harsh and they are looking for a better life.Who knew?!. His family has no desire to emigrate because they live in the country....... It would be nice to trust someone to give us the real story..but this author misrepresents. I've never heard anyone say the caravan is made up of mainly criminals....And if one listens carefully, the news never directly says the caravan is mainly women and children, it is composed of mainly young males. This is obvious from pictures. .It also doesn't take a genius to figure out the caravan would be an opportunity for a few opportunistic criminals, either. .....I dismissed the article.

Dionys Murphy
2 weeks 3 days ago

All your grandparents, aunts, et cetera did to "earn" citizenship was step off a boat. The mere fact that you continue to spew mistruths regarding the composition of the caravan pushed by right-wing media is enough to see your spin. Along with promoting the unfounded fear of "opportunistic criminals."

E.Patrick Mosman
2 weeks 3 days ago

"All your grandparents, aunts, et cetera did to "earn" citizenship was step off a boat. " Now you are the spewer of a mistruth. We have our Irish grandparents', who arrived legally in the US in the 1880s/1900, documentation granting them US citizenship in the 1920s.

Bev Ceccanti
1 week 3 days ago

To Dionys Murphy...So what part of my account do you dispute? The health screenings? The sponsors? What? The reports from my friends? The fact that I live and work in an environment of alive with culture? It's all pretty straightforward.

Bev Ceccanti
1 week 3 days ago

To Dionys (cont)How do you substantiate your assertion?

Christopher Scott
2 weeks 4 days ago

I noticed there was no mention of the European countries that took in refugees and have since closed their borders and are voting out the politicians that allowed the invasion. Even Hillary Clinton came out yesterday saying they need to enforce tougher immigration laws in order to curb the Brexit movements. Asylum seekers don’t scale border wall topped with barbed wire at unauthorized crossing points with their children if they are wanting to apply to be asylum seekers.

I get tired of hearing we are a country of immigrants. The immigrants from past generations are much different than today, there was no expectation of any social safety nets what so ever waiting for them if they crashed the borders. They knew they were on their own if they were to survive. I doubt many were single moms with babies and toddlers in hand without families or a spouse to support the family. How is the woman in the photo with small children expecting to survive ?

BTW...the photo of the mother with the 2 children is a cropped photo. The original non cropped photo shows hundreds of men surrounding her, charging and scaling the wall attempting to cross the border illegally...but that photo doesn’t fit the narrative as well

Christopher Scott
2 weeks 4 days ago

I noticed there was no mention of the European countries that took in refugees and have since closed their borders and are voting out the politicians that allowed the invasion. Even Hillary Clinton came out yesterday saying they need to enforce tougher immigration laws in order to curb the Brexit movements. Asylum seekers don’t scale border wall topped with barbed wire at unauthorized crossing points with their children if they are wanting to apply to be asylum seekers.

I get tired of hearing we are a country of immigrants. The immigrants from past generations are much different than today, there was no expectation of any social safety nets what so ever waiting for them if they crashed the borders. They knew they were on their own if they were to survive. I doubt many were single moms with babies and toddlers in hand without families or a spouse to support the family. How is the woman in the photo with small children expecting to survive ?

BTW...the photo of the mother with the 2 children is a cropped photo. The original non cropped photo shows hundreds of men surrounding her, charging and scaling the wall attempting to cross the border illegally...but that photo doesn’t fit the narrative as well

Christopher Scott
2 weeks 4 days ago

I noticed there was no mention of the European countries that took in refugees and have since closed their borders and are voting out the politicians that allowed the invasion. Even Hillary Clinton came out yesterday saying they need to enforce tougher immigration laws in order to curb the Brexit movements. Asylum seekers don’t scale border wall topped with barbed wire at unauthorized crossing points with their children if they are wanting to apply to be asylum seekers.

I get tired of hearing we are a country of immigrants. The immigrants from past generations are much different than today, there was no expectation of any social safety nets what so ever waiting for them if they crashed the borders. They knew they were on their own if they were to survive. I doubt many were single moms with babies and toddlers in hand without families or a spouse to support the family. How is the woman in the photo with small children expecting to survive ?

BTW...the photo of the mother with the 2 children is a cropped photo. The original non cropped photo shows hundreds of men surrounding her, charging and scaling the wall attempting to cross the border illegally...but that photo doesn’t fit the narrative as well

arthur mccaffrey
2 weeks 4 days ago

oh please! enough with the mother and baby photos!--you are starting to prostitute this small minority of these immigrants to prove a point. Shame! there are plenty of other stories indicating that the majority of the caravan are very healthy young men, so please stop with the cuddly photos--it is getting to be an obscene manipulation of the reader's sympathy. Your 3 myths are not convincing--more talk talk talk by Catholic clergy, who don't put their money where their mouth is--how many migrants sleeping on your sofa James Martin? Do you have 3 myths to preach about homeless and derelict people living legally inside USA? and what a misrepresentation of what Jesus said-- he was talking about welcoming the individual stranger--not thousands of them all at once. Give me one example of mass migration during Jesus' time that he specifically talks about. There is so much naievety in what you are advocating that I wonder if you really understand the problem you are trying to give advice on!

Mark McGregor
2 weeks 4 days ago

IMHO, ICE is in violation of the law by telling these people that they cannot request asylum or refusing to allow them to request same. The United States is a signatory to the UN’s Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. This means that it cannot refuse, return, or expel “a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.” Why are we not pressing charges against individual agents and their supervisors who are creating this problem or allowing it to happen? BTW approximately 80% of asylum claims are denied by the immigration courts. So, why not allow these folks to press their claims? WWJD?

Frank Pray
2 weeks 4 days ago

I admire Fr. Martin’s heart, but question his argument. I would like to see a more balanced analysis of the facts. Yes, asylum is a legal right, but many would cross the border without making a request for asylum. Poverty and lack of opportunity or even evidence of spousal physical abuse are not legal reasons for immigration under current law. While I agree that nearly all the persons seeking entry are non-violent, Fr. Martin’s comparison to immigration waves of the past ignores the changed world of terrorism we now inhabit. Many, many more could be harmed by allowing easy access across our borders. As far as allowing refugees into the U.S., Fr. Martin confuses the caravan people with war refugees entering middle eastern and European countries. Would he expand the definition of “refugee” to include anyone seeking a better way of life? Finally, Fr. Martin does not propose a solution, but implies we should just follow the words of Jesus literally. But the problem is that Jesus was not always literal, and I find it hard to believe he meant every stranger should be allowed unrestricted entry into another country. The solution is to bring pressure on Congress to enact real immigration reform that balances border integrity with humanitarian rights.

Vincent Gaglione
2 weeks 4 days ago

Immigration policy has been left to fester for years by USA politicians who benefit electorally by ignoring the issue. The current immigration laws are not equally applied and enforced. As many tourist entrants into the country by airplane overstay their visas as those who just walk across the border without papers. The difference in many instances is their economic, cultural, racial and national backgrounds. When was the last time we heard any complaints about the “tourist illegals”?

And that is what at bottom the issue really is about, compounded by the rhetoric and vitriol of the president. These brown and black people are “invading” the nation, eh! We don't want them, even as refugees.

Yvette Tsiropoulos
2 weeks 3 days ago

Fr. Martin failed to mention that so called "developing countries", in particular Turkey, accepted a hefty grant from Germany in order to accept mass numbers of 'irregular migrants'.

JOHN GRONDELSKI
2 weeks 3 days ago

My job requires, for security purposes, that I pass an entry gate with a biometric badge. I forgot it last Wednesday and had to go through a whole paper process to avoid going home. I was UNDOCUMENTED. I had a right to work there, but I not the documentation.

The guy sleeping on 23rd Street has not been cleared and does not have a right to enter here. If he shows up in the lobby, he is not UNDOCUMENTED. His presence would be ILLEGAL.

So why is this distinction a problem for the Jimmy Martin's of the world when it comes to an international border?

JOHN GRONDELSKI
2 weeks 3 days ago

My job requires, for security purposes, that I pass an entry gate with a biometric badge. I forgot it last Wednesday and had to go through a whole paper process to avoid going home. I was UNDOCUMENTED. I had a right to work there, but I not the documentation.

The guy sleeping on 23rd Street has not been cleared and does not have a right to enter here. If he shows up in the lobby, he is not UNDOCUMENTED. His presence would be ILLEGAL.

So why is this distinction a problem for the Jimmy Martin's of the world when it comes to an international border?

Stanley Kopacz
2 weeks 3 days ago

Yes. This is our country. We stole most of it fair and square from the indians. Texas was stolen by illegal American immigrants who wanted to bring their slavery practices with them. And what was the moral excuse for the Mexican-American War? Turning Northern Mexico into Southwest US. Do not allow others to do unto you what you have done unto them.

Michael Barberi
2 weeks 3 days ago

I like Fr. Martin very much and I agree with most of his articles and positions. However, I don't agree with the message of this article. Fr. Martin says, in paraphrase, we should understand the facts before we dismiss these immigrants. Ok, below are the facts.

The number of people immigrating to the United States fluctuates depending on the year. In 2015, a total of 1.38 million immigrants moved to the United States, according to American Community Survey (ACS) data. Below is the top five country breakdown for 2015.

> India: 179,800
> China: 143,200
> Mexico: 139,400
>> Philippines: 47,500
> Canada: 46,800

Can we afford more immigrants to the U.S. each year? Yes we can. However, what is the right number and how do we distribute that number between countries? Please read on.

If we are to increase this 1.38 million to 2.0 million, then it would be highly irresponsible for us to do so without securing our border and revising other policies such as 'catch and release' or limiting the current definition of chain migration. A fair, compassionate and reasoned immigration policy must stop, as best as reasonably possible, immigrants who enter the U.S. illegally.

I already commented what I think is a reasoned and compassionate immigration policy (first blog comment on this article). However, we need to be honest about solving this complex problem. Making a clarion call by asking us "what would Jesus do" is a good general moral principle. However, Jesus never gave us an answer book for all of our problems. When it comes to 'choosing the right means to good ends' there is room for differences of opinion within the spectrum of legitimate moral solutions. I don't believe Jesus would call for 'open borders' as the answer merely because this is what the U.S. had in the 1700s-1800s right up to 1921. At that time, we were a different nation with different needs. I agree with Fr. Martin that we can be more generous and compassionate about our immigration policy, but Congress must do this.

When an article only reflects a partial view of all the facts and implies directly or indirectly that the current policy 'is not what Jesus would do' is not a good realistic solution, nor does it help us to establish morally good ends (number of legal immigrants per year) and in choosing the right means to achieve those good ends (specific immigration policy). I believe that there are many solutions that would satisfy good moral principles. The solution will come from a compromise between members of Congress and the President. Unfortunately, the U.S. has failed to do this for more than 20 years now.

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