Catholic leaders resist Trump’s ‘national emergency’ plan to fund border wall

President Donald Trump speaks during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall along the southern border. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Trump had been insinuating for weeks that a declaration of a national emergency would be the funding option of last resort for his long-promised border wall. On Feb. 15 he made good on that threat, arguing that his proposed wall was necessary to stop “an invasion of our country” by undocumented migrants and asylum seekers.

Mr. Trump insists he needs to add 350 miles to the 654 miles of physical barriers along the 1,950-mile border with Mexico.

Bypassing Congress, Mr. Trump hopes to siphon billions of dollars from federal military construction and drug-interdiction efforts to finance a border wall he first proposed in 2015 during his campaign for president. The move drew immediate bipartisan objections on Capitol Hill and is expected to provoke multiple legal challenges.

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In continuing resolutions to fund the government passed the same day, Congress had offered the administration $1.4 billion for additional border barriers, well below the $5.7 billion Mr. Trump insists he needs to add 350 miles to the nation’s 654 miles of walls, fencing and other forms of physical barriers along its 1,950-mile border with Mexico.

As justification for his emergency declaration, the president has frequently spoken of a state of lawlessness along the southern border. He has warned of undocumented migrants, with many violent offenders among them, flooding border communities and has insinuated that terrorists were creeping across the nation’s open deserts.

To Bishop Mark Seitz the real emergency is humanitarian—a matter of deciding how best to care for the people coming to the border. “That should concern us,” he said. “This is a group of very vulnerable people.”

Regarding the border from his perspective as leader of the Diocese of El Paso, Bishop Mark Seitz said, “I don’t perceive an emergency in the sense that he means it at least...as an invasion of aliens.” El Paso is a vibrant Texas city that shares the border with Juarez, Mexico. “We’re at a low ebb in terms of the people who are crossing,” he pointed out. To Bishop Seitz the real emergency is humanitarian—a matter of deciding how best to care for the people coming to the border. “That should concern us,” he said. “This is a group of very vulnerable people.”

Dylan Corbett is the director of the Hope Border Institute. Mr. Corbett spoke to America from a Guatemalan community near the border with Chiapas, Mexico. He was on a fact-finding tour of the region and visiting with the families of two children who died in December while in the custody of the El Paso border patrol. “The children died on our watch, while under our custody with our border patrol,” he said. Those lost children reflect a changed reality about the nature of the migrants at the border, he said. “The people who are coming now are families,” Mr. Corbett said, “dads or moms with children.”

Apprehensions of Mexican nationals collapsed from a recent high of more than 1.6 million in 2000 to as few as 128,000 in 2017.

According to Bishop Seitz, past undocumented border crossers were primarily young single men and women from Mexico seeking job opportunities in the United States. “Now what we are seeing are families that are fleeing unbelievably difficult situations in their home countries,” he said, “and looking for a place of security more than anything else, where their lives are not being threatened every day.” Families represented just 3 percent of apprehension incidents with border agents in 2012. Last year they represented 35 percent of border patrol apprehensions.

Though the president speaks frequently of menacing caravans of migrants from Central America, estimates of the overall number of people reaching the border without legal status have diminished greatly in recent years judging from border apprehensions, a data point used to estimate overall migration flows. That is especially true of undocumented migrants from Mexico. Apprehensions of Mexican nationals collapsed from a recent high of more than 1.6 million in 2000 to as few as 128,000 in 2017. Though the numbers of migrants and asylum seekers from Central American states like Honduras and Guatemala have increased in recent years, culminating in a spike to 467,000 apprehensions in 2018, overall numbers of border apprehensions are far below previous peaks.

Members of the Trump administration in recent months have also frequently mentioned that “thousands” of suspected terrorists had been apprehended at the southern border. Vice President Mike Pence mentioned on Jan. 19 that he believed more than 10 each day, almost 4,000 a year, were apprehended by border agents. But according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection report to Congress last May, border officials actually encountered only six immigrants whose names were on a federal list of known or suspected terrorists at ports of entry at the border in the first half of fiscal year 2018.

"We are seeing are families that are fleeing unbelievably difficult situations in their home countries.”

The president has also suggested the wall will stem the flow of illicit drugs across the border, but drug interdiction experts say traffickers prefer to smuggle their product through busy ports of entry, not the open desert the proposed wall would bisect. “Yes, there are areas of criminal concern on the border,” said Bishop Gerald Kicanas. “We have human trafficking, we have gun trafficking and we have drug trafficking, but most of these criminal acts are happening through ports of entry.” According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics, 90 percent of heroin, 88 percent of cocaine, 87 percent of methamphetamine and 80 percent of fentanyl in the first 11 months of the 2018 fiscal year was seized at legal crossing points.

The former leader of the Diocese of Tucson, Ariz., Bishop Kicanas has come out of retirement to temporarily serve the Diocese of Las Cruces, N.M. He worries that more miles of walls will do little to curtail crime or address complex migration issues. But he is sure they will mean more deaths in the southwestern deserts.

“Building more walls will just drive people into more dangerous areas,” said Bishop Kicanas. “We experienced so many tragic deaths in the desert of people crossing in areas where it was nearly impossible to bring water to them.”

Experts say traffickers prefer to smuggle their product through busy ports of entry, not the open desert the proposed wall would bisect.

Pointing to the ongoing economic, political and social crises in Central American states that are driving migration north, Bishop Kicanas said, “We do agree with the president that there is a humanitarian crisis at the border, but the way to look at addressing that is through comprehensive immigration reform” and better assisting those nations where migration originates. “Most people don’t want to leave their own countries, their own cultures, their communities,” he said, but facing grave threats of violence and economic deprivation, “they have no choice.”

Sean Carroll, S.J., the director of the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Ariz., suggests that as the region’s most affluent nation, the United States has the responsibility to address the root causes of this hemispheric migration emergency. And “to be strategic about this, promote economic development especially for people who live on the margins, scale up successful programs, and devote resources to peace-building and programs that can offer young people alternatives to lives of violence,” he said.

Though the president estimated the wall’s cost at $12 billion, critics say it will be far more expensive, with some estimates as high as $60 billion. The Department of Homeland Security’s own estimate is $22 billion.

“If some of this money could be used” to address the root causes of migration, “that would be great,” said Bishop Kicanas. In 2017 Central America’s Northern Triangle states—Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador—received just $297 million in disbursements from the U.S. Agency for International Development to support programs in governance and economic development.

“Three hundred people a day are coming into El Paso and being assisted by its residents,” he said. “That is not a crisis; that is a community dealing with a situation with generosity and compassion.”

For Bishop Kicanas the failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform, moldering in Congress since 2003, is the real emergency at the border. “Everyone knows this system is broken and we know how it can be fixed. We just have to have the moral courage to do it,” he said.

“We have to live the values we profess as a nation. We say that we prize diversity; we say that we prize people coming here hoping for a decent way of life. Our Statue of Liberty has welcomed generations of immigrants to our country,” Bishop Kicanas said, “but right now it is hard for them to enter, and that is why there is such a great influx of people at our border.”

Incidents in which border agents felt required to use force dropped significantly in 2017.

“There have been only two real emergencies [on the border] that I have experienced,” Mr. Corbett said. In both instances, one during the 2018 midterm elections and the other around Christmas last year when the federal government’s partial shutdown was dominating national headlines, scores of asylum seekers were dumped on El Paso streets by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Mr. Corbett perceived that as a staged emergency. “That’s how they want the border to appear,” he said, “a crazy place, out of control.

“But it’s not,” said Mr. Corbett. “El Paso is a thriving, safe community.”

With just a few hours warning about the impending dump of asylum seekers on the city’s streets, the Hope Border Initiative and other humanitarian entities in El Paso were able to respond. Mr. Corbett described the experience as emblematic of the city’s spirit and sense of solidarity with migrants. “Three hundred people a day are coming into El Paso and being assisted by its residents,” he said. “That is not a crisis; that is a community dealing with a situation with generosity and compassion.”

“When [the state of emergency] is framed as a threat to our country,” said Bishop Seitz, “that could not be farther from the truth.

“The truth is, even if you just want to look at it in purely economic terms, we desperately need people to do the kind of work that they are willing to do.” The so-called threat of migration, he suggests, could prove to be a great boon to the nation. Bishop Seitz argues that to keep the economy moving in the United States, “we need to bring in more people and the laws need to be adjusted to make that possible.”

“Out of respect for a God-given human dignity, as Catholics our call is to respond to [a humanitarian crisis on the border] any way we can,” said Father Carroll, “whether with our time or with our financial resources or with our prayers—these are all ways to be helpful.”

Infographic sources: “The Border Wall: What Has Trump Built So Far?,” Denise Lu, The New York Times, Feb. 12, 2019; “What We Know About Illegal Immigration From Mexico,” Pew Research Center, Dec. 4, 2018; Use of Force Statistics, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, www.cbp.gov; “Immigrant Share in U.S. Nears Record High but Remains Below That of Many Other Countries,” Pew Research Center, Jan. 30, 2019;  Fact-checking Trump Officials,” Alan Gomez, USA Today, Jan. 16, 2019.

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J Cosgrove
3 months ago

Yes, the country needs additional people but why should these people take preference over those who have applied and want to come legally? Why not argue to solve the problem in their home country? And they are Catholic Countries.

With Beto O'Rourke admitting the walls works, what is the reason to oppose it? Bishop Kicanas even admits the walls work. For those who say there is no crisis read http://bit.ly/2X6Wqa9 from 2014 under Obama

Mike Macrie
3 months ago

Coz, I live in a Farm Region and the Reality of needed farm workers is this, Not enough visas;
“The United States grants few visas to unskilled laborers who wish to permanently immigrate. And the only option for hiring seasonal migrant workers is to use the U.S. Department of Labor's temporary agricultural workers program called H-2A.
That program does not produce the number of migrants workers U.S. farms need, Rodger said.
"What's happening is the law has not kept up with the reality of our labor needs," Rodger said. "We just don't have the number of visas we need ... to put the supply and demand back in balance."
Otherwise, America will soon be incapable of producing most fruits and vegetables”
Coz, where I live Small Farm Owners fight over migrant work crews to get their own berries picked on time.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

You just agreed with me. Thank you! The problem is different from what the authors and bishops are arguing for. The issue is a legal number of a certain type. My guess is that Trump and the Republicans would have little or no objections to solving the problem you describe.
The authors here shown no willingness to discuss what is actually happening and finding solutions. It’s all emotional arguments how a small population experiences hardships when hundreds of millions are not seen and not discussed.

Mike Macrie
3 months ago

Yes the solution is not Rocket Science, it’s just the willingness of having both sides of the Aisle, Democrats and Republicans sitting down and putting the needs of the Country First. The Wall is a Red Herron, it’s just a feel good measure that the Political Parties battle over for Votes. Just bringing up the topic of Visas, the Political Right goes crazy. The Right and the Left want to keep their Base in Line not understanding the Country’s need for unskilled Labor.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

Couple things, the barriers work. Second I have not seen anyone supporting visa overstay violators and the current administration is after them too. So I do not understand your comment.

Mike Macrie
3 months ago

You and I will never agree that Barriers will stop Illegal Immigration because Barriers will not stop workers who come in on H-2A programs from slipping into the population. As long there is a short supply of unskilled labor, Employers will hire them to survive and Landlords will rent to them. The laws of Capitalism will prevail. But if a Barrier makes the people living on the Border feel good who am I to say no. It’s just not going to stop Illegal Immigration.
I don’t think I said that anyone is supporting people to over stay their Visas, your comment lost me too. I did say that they are not issuing enough Visas to unskilled workers to relieve the labor shortage in Agriculture.

Judith Jordan
2 months 4 weeks ago

Trump denies that the visa over stay violators are a larger group than people coming across the border. BTW, a large number of them come from Canada. BUILD A WALL!

Mike Macrie
3 months ago

Yes the solution is not Rocket Science, it’s just the willingness of having both sides of the Aisle, Democrats and Republicans sitting down and putting the needs of the Country First. The Wall is a Red Herron, it’s just a feel good measure that the Political Parties battle over for Votes. Just bringing up the topic of Visas, the Political Right goes crazy. The Right and the Left want to keep their Base in Line not understanding the Country’s need for unskilled Labor.

Jay Zamberlin
3 months ago

The "Protestant" USA takes in more immigrants than the rest of the Western Hemisphere COMBINED, why are these Catholic mouthpieces never focused on that, which would include, of Course, CATHOLIC Latin America, with lots of land, resources, etc. Phonies, all of them, AND they rake in millions from the feds for these immigration services they provide. They now officially disgust me.

Barry Sullivan
3 months ago

Thanks for sharing these valuable insights from Catholic leaders, including those who know what is really going on at the border (such as El Paso's Bishop Mark Seitz). As one of the comments indicated, this is not a real emergency for the U.S.; this is a real emergency for families seeking safety. Under U.S. law they have a right to appeal for asylum.
The comments from these knowledgeable Christ followers is a much needed corrective to the heinous actions of our government. Let us pray that the message of Jesus will be applied by all as we address what is really going on at our borders.
Peace

Jay Zamberlin
3 months ago

As someone who lives in a border state, respectfully, you don't know what you're talking about. Catholic "leaders" get money from Feds, and have for years, they are hardly disinterested observers. Catholic "leaders" have shown themselves to be quite oblique to real problems created by their "expert" analysis, which is too often there to promote some self interest, note the sex scandals, note the undermining of Catholic values in Catholic colleges, the list goes on. If you want to know what is "going on" come on down to California and I'll show you around.

Barry Sullivan
3 months ago

Hello Jay,
I love San Diego, if that is where you are in California. We have visited there several times over the years, most recently last year.

I didn’t add in my first post that I am writing this from El Paso, Texas, also a very busy border crossing area. We spend several weeks each year here. Not that this makes me an expert on the issue, though we do cross the border frequently to attend a church and work with missionary activities. We have friends on both sides of this border town. So, we have at least some direct awareness about what is going on down here.

Most importantly, from the perspective of applying our faith in thinking about real-world issues, I was impressed by this America article because it relies on church leaders from the border areas who seem to understand the reality of the situation and are ready to put faith into practice.

Engendering fear and hate through bold-face lies to satisfy one’s political base may be clever politics. Perhaps one day soon we as a nation will again focus on real problems and emergencies. Most importantly, let us pray that Hope based the Gospel will triumph over fear. How many times does the Bible and especially Jesus tell us to not be afraid? Please everyone reading this, look up Father James Martin’s podcasts on these immigration-related issues. One of these is at this link: https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2018/06/19/father-james-martin-five-things-you-can-do-help-immigrants-border

Fact checks relating to this issue are easy to find in from responsible news media. Just one from yesterday that covers a lot:
From PBS NewsHour (February 15, 2019).
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/watch-reporter-challenges-trump-on-his-immigration-facts
Trump says there’s a ‘crisis’ at the border. Here’s what the data says
How Trump has already changed immigration policy
Trump says walls work. It’s much more complicated
4 myths about how immigrants affect the U.S. economy

Peace to all!

Douglas Fang
3 months ago

There is no real “National Emergency”. This is pure LIE manufactured by the radical right-wing nuts like Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, etc.

This will be the precedence. In the future, a new POTUS may surrender to the radical left-wing like AOC and issue “National Emergency” for climate change etc.

This will work both ways, folks. Remember this!

John Sharpe
3 months ago

“This will be the precedence. In the future, a new POTUS may surrender to the radical left-wing like AOC and issue “National Emergency” for climate change etc”

Repeating fake news sock puppet talking points

Use your head and think about it. If and when the Democrats retake the White House they will do whatever they think they can get away with regardless of what trump does or does not do, Trump actions will have zero impact on them pushing their radical agendas. This is coming from the party that has ex-intelligence agency leaders out on book tours admitting they were conspiring to overthrow a duly elected potus. This is 3rd world type of corruption that should give even trump haters reason for concern.

Judith Jordan
2 months 4 weeks ago

John Sharp
With all due respect, I think you must live in a bubble of “fake news.” Nobody produces more fake news and lies than Trump. One has to have a deliberate disregard of the truth not to realize this. I read articles and books on the right, the middle, and the left. How else could someone make an informed decision? I have never read any article or book that made Trump look worse than he does himself.

Trump’s actions are no big deal because the Dems will do whatever they want anyway? If I sin, you get to sin too? I spent 14 ½ years in Catholic schools, before Vatican II, and no one ever came close to validating such a concept. In fact, they strongly taught against it. But I digress. The issue here and now is that Trump has actually done it. He declared a national emergency because he could not get Congress to do what he wanted. It is frightening that you cannot see this assault to the separation of powers and how it weakens our democracy.

“…ex-intelligence agency leaders out on book tours admitting they were conspiring to overthrow a duly elected potus.”
I assume you are referring to Andrew McCabe. Have you actually heard him at one of his book stops; or, are you just listening to the right wing? At no time did McCabe and others plan a coup. One of the main purposes of the 25th Amendment is to prevent a coup. It provides an orderly, legal procedure, rather than resorting to a coup.

When McCabe was talking with others, the 25th amendment was mentioned and then the discussion moved on. There were no meetings, no actions, no movement, no plotting. In fact, you would not even know about it if McCabe had not written it in his book. Hardly evidence of a coup. It boggles the mind that the right wing now finds it unacceptable for Americans to even mention an amendment to the Constitution.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

The Democrats and the press said there was a crisis not too long ago. I wondered what happened since then. Read http://bit.ly/2X6Wqa9

Border crisis scrambling the politics of immigration policy - 2014 Washington Post

Douglas Fang
3 months ago

J – This is the only answer I give you on this topic and I hope that you have some little bit of courage and honesty left to accept the truth or as I told you before – “You can’t handle the truth! – A Few Good Men”

Yes – there is an immigration crisis – this crisis has been around for a while and it is in a stalemate due to hardcore positions on both sides. Similarly, there are all kinds of crisis we see in today’s society – opioid crisis, inequality crisis, health care crisis, student loan crisis, etc. However, a crisis is not constitutionally the same as “national emergency”.
Trump contradicts/betrays himself when he announced it – you can see it in the news yourself:

I want to do it faster. I could do the wall over a longer period of time,” Trump said on Friday of his intention to issue the declaration. “I didn’t need to do this. But I’d rather do it much faster.”

Is this a rational and constitutional reason to declare “national emergency”? It is so pathetic beyond any description.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

Anytime someone argues using ad hominems and from a morally superior position has just undermined what they have said. Try rephrasing your comment so that it is not offensive. But thank you for admitting there is a crisis. There have been 240 thousand people caught on the SW borders (Oct-Jan) compared to 150 thousand a year ago (1/3 women sexually abused). That is roughly a 60% increase this FY. There are currently 31 national emergencies in effect, Three by Trump and ten by Obama. It is not an unusual event.

Judith Jordan
2 months 4 weeks ago

Mr. Cosgrove--

Your comment about national emergencies is incomplete and makes it appear that Trump is doing the same thing as other presidents, which he is not.
None of the national emergencies by previous presidents involved a president making an end run around Congress to spend money on a project that Congress had decided against funding. Trump is challenging the fundamental constitutional principle that the legislative branch controls the government’s purse. This is a situation where a president asked for funding for a project, Congress said no, and the president said I’ll use emergency powers to do it anyway. Trump’s emergency declaration is the first to authorize military action since 9/11.

There have been about 59 times when emergency powers were invoked since the Carter administration. None are like Trump’s.
https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/emergency-powers
The overwhelming majority of times when presidents declared a national emergency, they did it to impose sanctions on various foreign officials and groups; freeze foreign assets; and make it illegal for Americans to do business with foreign powers for their wrongdoing. These sanctions are usually for human rights violations.

Many national emergencies are still open because the situations still exists --i.e., imposing sanctions for human rights violations which still continue.
Almost all of President Obama’s declarations were sanctions on foreign individuals or countries for human rights violations. President Obama had 12 declarations which averages 1.5 a year. Trump has 4 declarations which averages 2 a year.

Phillip Stone
3 months ago

Do you realise who you are quoting from that film?
It was an evil, murderous officer in the armed forces doing what he had the power to do at the local level, riding rough shod over law, justice and the greater good. Jack Nicholson plays the devil and villains frequently and realistically as he did in A Few Good Men.

You can lie through quoting Bible verses out of context, what is new about using movies?

Have you ever thought, if we urban and suburban US citizens paid proper money for seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables than a living wage could be paid to those who plant, tend, grow and harvest them for distribution and then they need not be itinerant workers but able to live with stability in a community with services to their sick and their children. .

Robin Vestal
3 months ago

These are our brothers and sisters in need of our help and care. I so appreciate those, who like the Kino Initiative, stand with and help them. We have a duty and a responsibility to stand with our brothers and sisters and bring help and welcome to those fleeing for safety. We don't need a wall we need to follow Jesus.

Christopher Lochner
3 months ago

What about those who live in very unsafe and poverty stricken cities? Do not these people need help? This is a classic "squeaky wheel gets the grease" situation parading as "love" from the bishops. ( Imagine their horror if they discovered the immigrants were all Southern Baptists!) I love Jesus; I have little love for the hierarchy.

Tim Donovan
3 months ago

I'm a former registered Democrat of more than 30 of my 56 years of age. For several years after I left the Democratic party because of their vehement support for the violence of legal abortion for any resson, I became a registered Independent. Why? Because neither party fully represented my views. About 5 years ago I became a moderate Republican. That is, I still largely agree with typical Democratic policies. I very reluctantly voted for President Trump, primarily because he opposes the violence of legal abortion. I don't like being a so-called "single issue " voter, but I think the deliberate killing of almost 1 million innocent unborn human beings is at present of paramount impodtance. There are millions of other people in our nation who are single issue voters regarding various issues. These include among many others gun control (which I support) or gun rights. Reasonable environmental protection laws (which I support) or favoring continued reliance primarily on fossil fuels. People who support Emily's List only support Democratic women candidates for office who favor legal abortion for any reason. Thus, they are single issue voters. For instance, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine who favors legal abortion wouldn't qualify for their support. Nor would Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who recently signed a law even more radical than Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. Other people (although fortunately they are diminishing in number) only support Republicans or Democrats, or won't vote for any Jews or any Muslims or any black people. I would vote for any pro-life candidate regardless of race or religion or party if he or she was reasonably "decent" on other issues important to me. Years ago, I worked at a,group home caring for disabled men. (I'm a retired Special Education teacher of children with brain damage). Several of my co-workers were immigrants from Liberia who had fled from a brutal civil war seeking a better life in our nation. So I think it's reasonable for people from many Latin American nations who are fleeing violence to seek entrance into our nation. Yes, our government should encourage economic development in impoverished nations south of the border. I'm glad that the US Agency for International Development supports programs for economic development as stated in the article. I suspect such programs should receive greater funding. I don't support President Trump's proposed plan to use drug interdiction money to build more of a wall or barriers along our border with Mexico, no matter how well intentioned his plan may be. Our government (as well as humanitarian groups and our Church and other faiths) should provide or increase aid to poor countries to build schools and support business development so that (hopefully) the conditions in those countries will improve so that violence will decrease, employment will increase, and drug abuse won't be such a huge problem. I also support our government through bipartisan cooperation to come up with reasonable programs to reduce poverty in our nation to the maximum degree possible (of course we can't entirely eliminate poverty) as well as increase funding for more police protection. Finally, I'm someone who knows, respects and often loves people of many different faiths (my sister-in-law and niece are Presbyterians forinstance, as was my late Grandmom, all of whom I love/loved) . I also have friends, neighbors, former co-workers and acquaintances who are Protestants of different denominations, (yes, including Baptists!), Orthodox Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Also, I have a pen pal in prison who's a Jehovah's Witness and my late Aunt was a Mormom. I wouldn't mind at all if the immigrants from south of the border were Southern Baptists, or Jews or muslims or for that matter followers of the Hindu religion. I believe that all reasonable Catholics agree that there are members of our faith who are either moral or immoral or somewhere in between. In fact all of us sin in different ways, in my opinion. I certainly do, so I go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation each month. I find it to be very consoling to receive forgiveness through the sacrament. Please, let's do our best as Catholics, Americans, and regardless of our many differences, to work for the common good. Let's encourage our lawmakers whether Democrats or Republicans to work together as much as possible, compromise when necessary without abandoning crucial principles, and not become hostile when debating controversial matters such as immigration.

George Obregon
3 months ago

It's reprehensible that Catholic leaders are opposed to Homeland Security on our southern Border.

Of course these Catholic leaders have no responsibility to protect our nation from foreign enemies, which explains their listless attitude towards Homeland Security. For shame.
/geo ex machina

Douglas Fang
3 months ago

There are some folks here who viciously attack any article in America that contain even a slight amount of critics against Trump, the worse POTUS in the recent history of USA. They are the true blind believers in the man who once arrogantly said something like this – “ I Could Stand In the Middle Fifth Avenue And Shoot Somebody And I Wouldn't Lose Any Voters”.

I can bet that these people would readily crucify Jesus today if He dares to criticize this POTUS.

Jay Zamberlin
3 months ago

This is an article about immigration policy, and all of the comments are germane to that main topic, not Donald J. Trump.

Seems like you are the one fixated on Trump.

America Mag is a left wing rag, whose leadership in the past, and currently, have drawn censure from the Church herself and/or strong questioning of the resident orthodoxy/adherence to established Church teaching.

In the place of such missing or questionable (vs. solid) teaching we are treated to the per usual left wing tropes. The one exception is the scant praise for extremist abortion policy, tantamount to infanticide, but no such calls for any sort of serious censure by the Church of notorious Catholics advocating for the same. We now have, in effect, the theater of the absurd, and that has ZERO to do with the present occupier of 1600 Penn. Ave.

Bev Ceccanti
3 months ago

Jay: I'm so glad to learn about the censures. I've been concerned about persistent blasphemy from regular commentors on these pages as well.

Terry Kane
3 months ago

America Magazine is a morally bankrupt partisan mouthpiece.

Here is proof of its prejudice against Catholic school boys who support President Donald J. Trump: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=26&v=lSkpPaiUF8s

Even the Washington Post corrected its major error, while the Jesuit magazine just wrote tepidly about the boys: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/diocese-reverses-course-clears-covington-catholic-high-school-students-of-wrongdoing-after-investigation-of-viral-incident-on-mall/2019/02/13/c11195f8-2fa7-11e9-8ad3-9a5b113ecd3c_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.e8d6cf99e44e

Kevin Clarke
3 months ago

Which coverage/commentary do you object to specifically? To my recollection America Media relied on wire services for coverage of this incident.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

“Relied on wire services for coverage of this incident”

That is not an argument against agenda journalism. Anyone can cherry pick published sources to achieve an editorial imbalance.

Terry Kane
3 months ago

Kevin
Wouldn't you think that after the Kavanaugh episode where the editors endorsed, then withdrew the endorsement of Judge Kavanaugh based on wire services for coverage, the editors would have learned a lesson. But NO, they attacked the Catholic school boys, then they sort of took that back. They speak politely about abortion-loving politicians and "Catholics," but waste no time attacking Catholics who do not agree with the editors' progressive ideology.
Relying on services for coverage is not the traditional mode of operations for a media operation - there should be some actual investigation before printing. They could at least qualify the story by saying something like "according to so and so" (using a named source) or wait until the matter has actually been made clear. America jumps the gun and its invective flows very easily.
According to this story, "Catholic leaders" resist all things Trump. Do you believe that all Catholic leaders oppose President Trump? The article only mentions those who "resist," as if there is no other point of view. They ask people in foreign countries to get opinions. The name of the magazine is "America," not "Latin America."
Anyone who reads this Jesuit magazine must come to the conclusion that all Catholic leaders despise everything President Trump does. Forget that he opposes abortion and is attempting to enliven faith based organizations and enable religion to have a more powerful voice in civic affairs than it has had in recent times. No, because he ran as a Republican, the editors hate the president. There are other Catholic leaders, but if they do not toe the line, they are never mentioned. The Communist Party was not unlike like that!
Sad

Kevin Clarke
3 months ago

No editorials were written commenting on this event. America relies on wire reports for fast-breaking stories. America may or may not follow up later. Some commentators erroneously described an RNS report published on this website as "America's take."

Here is most, if not all, of the coverage America offered on this event based on a keyword search. I invite readers to come to their own conclusions:

https://www.americamagazine.org/search?search_api_fulltext=covington&sort_by=field_publication_date&field_start_date=&field_end_date=&sort_order=DESC

As for the interviews of the above story, I made the obvious choice of interviewing Catholic lay and ecclesial leaders who live and work along the border because of their knowledgable perspective on the matter. Later that day the border bishops as a group issued a statement challenging the need for an emergency declaration as did the president of the USCCB, Cardinal DiNardo.

Mr. Corbett was indeed outside the United States when I interviewed him on a solidarity visit with families in Guatemala.

The name for this publication was selected to suggest its editorial ambition to track all issues of interest and current events throughout North and South America. 

I cannot speak to the Communist Party's editorial guidelines.

Terry Kane
3 months ago

Kevin -
I appreciate your responding to your readers. Would that the editors do that as well.
Somehow you seem to claim that just because it is published here that shouldn't mean the reader should believe this is "America's take." Why not? If the editors do not hold that position, why publish it here unless they state that they do not stand behind the piece? You must be aware that readers here want to believe the things they see here carry the imprimatur of the Jesuits and/or the Catholic Church.
Some of the comments on this thread to which you are responding do not simply apply to this one event (to use your word). If you read this magazine, and I'd guess you often do, You would have to come to the conclusion that this is a leftist site.
I do not claim to speak about the Communist Party's editorial guidelines, but rather about the mindset which that group held. At the time of the Communist heyday, the "party line" HAD to be followed; today, America Magazine has a mindset also.
Many editorial guidelines encourage the writer to seek out an alternative view on the topic. Surely there must be Catholic leaders who disagree with the opinions contained in your article here (and would be willing to state so publicly). Yet they do not appear in this piece - nor do any opposing voices appear in most of the articles in this magazine (especially where immigration or President Trump is concerned).
Catholic leaders do not all follow in lock-step, yet a reader of this site does not get exposed to conflicting views. Readers might not know that there is diversity of thought among Catholics. You can acknowledge that this is true.

John Sharpe
3 months ago

“We have human trafficking, we have gun trafficking and we have drug trafficking, but most of these criminal acts are happening through ports of entry.”

How does one calculate the number of smugglers and traffickers they didn’t apprehend and drugs they didn’t confiscate crossing illegally, not through legal ports of entry?

Adeolu Ademoyo
3 months ago

Though tribalism is the bane and the defining feature and characteristic of the current American polity, it may be helpful for us to at least struggle to discuss with reference to fact and faith given the faith nature of AmericaMagazine. In this regard, as Christians and Catholics we should reject the idea that there are "alternative" facts and "alternative" truth.

When something is called a fact, then it does not have a qualification, it is verifiable, refutable and accessible by all. Facts are not tribe or base defined. Given the universal, open, verifiable, refutable and accessible nature of facts, facts do not appeal to tribes or so-called base. However, on the contrary, "alternative" facts are not verifiable outside the tribe; "alternative" facts and "alternative" truth are not accessible outside the tribe and the base; they are known only to the members of a tribe-political, ethnic, religious, cultural etc. "Alternative" facts and "alternative" truth are base and tribe defined. This is why members of the tribe and base do not care about verifiability, refutability, accessibility of "alternative" fact and "alternative" truth, (for "alternative" facts are opinions, they are unverifiable) because the base and tribal community only follow the "alternative" truth and "alternative" fact "the tribal leader" tells the members of the tribe and base through the tribalist, parochial, sectional, narrow and inward looking media outlets of the base and the tribe!

An example of "alternative" fact and "alternative" truth is the garbage, and cynical fiction "Finish The Wall" when no wall has been built since 2016. It is a verifiable, accessible, refutable fact that no wall has been built since 2016. So how can one "finish" something that has not started? But you are welcome to the American world of "alternative" fact and "alternative" truth! Yet 30% of American population who belong to a base, a tribe (political, cultural, religious, ethnic) believe the nonsensical and cynical fiction "Finish The Wall" being touted and mouthed by the "great" tribal leader because it is an "alternative" fact , and "alternative" truth told by the tribal leader to feed fear into the base and members of the tribe so that they remain frightened, scared, angry, furious and resentful in their tribal cocoon! The same 30% of American population who believe in the "alternative" fact and "alternative" truth "Finish The Wall" is the same 30% of American population who believe till today in 2019 in the garbage and nonsense that President Barak Obama is not a native born American because someone "the tribal leader" said so! A good example of this practice of "alternative" fact and "alternative" truth is what happen in countries with military dictatorship and totalitarian states like Russia under another "great" tribal leader Vladimir Putin.

So, though commentators on articles in the AmericaMagazine belong to different political parties-Democratic party, Republican party, Independents, Socialist party, Tea party etc, and commentators tend to comment from the standpoint of their parties, tribes and base, it may be more helpful to speak with reference to accessible, refutable, verifiable fact on one hand and faith, Christianity and Catholicism on the other hand. Based on this my questions are : (i) what is factually wrong in the claims of the Catholics who the writer of the article quoted? (ii) what is against Christianity and Catholicism in the claims of the Catholics who the writer of the article quoted? This way we focus on fact and faith in the article rather than walled base and tribal opinions.

John Sharpe
3 months ago

An example of "alternative" fact and "alternative" truth is the garbage, and cynical fiction "Finish The Wall" when no wall has been built since 2016.

Maybe you can explain what those guys were welding on the video
https://youtu.be/VxG12nTBaOM

THOMAS E BRANDLIN, MNA
3 months ago

What Bishop Seitz should really be concerned about is the humanitarian issues of what these hordes of immigrants do that harm the people in his diocese who are here legally.
As well, why are the bishops so vitriolic about and to the President? This President has done more for Life than most of his predecessors. The episcopacy in this country tends to glorify President Milque Toast, oh, I'm sorry, Obama. Yet he was openly contemptuous of the bishops and Catholics in general. Recall the phone call with Cardinal Dolan (who seems to be one of the few bishops who has courage and is not afraid to address difficult problems in a meaningful way) that His Eminence described as less than courteous. The boys in the pointy hats can't have it both ways.

arthur mccaffrey
3 months ago

there would not be so many families coming if the Catholic Church in central America stopped promoting procreation as God's will. Birth control education should be a condition of entry for all asylum seekers whose only job skill seems to be breeding. That is the real humanitarian crisis--poor families having more children than they can afford or care for--how else to explain very young children being sent to the border on their own?

FRAN ABBOTT
3 months ago

I am totally astounded by the lack of Christian charity and compassion -- and even basic civility -- in many of these comments. Why is there such hatred for people who are so much less fortunate than we are, hatred for the Catholic Church and for the Jesuit world view? I just don't get it.

Barry Sullivan
3 months ago

Hello Fran,
I agree with your astonishment over some of these uncivil comments.
Thanks

FRAN ABBOTT
3 months ago

Thank YOU, Barry.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

Are you just as astonished at those who imply they are better Christians/Catholics than others? I believe there is a passage from Luke that applies.

FRAN ABBOTT
3 months ago

I am astonished and saddened that fellow Catholics would resort to the types of incivility on display here. However, I am not astonished by Mr. Gaglione's suggestion below that "there seems to me to be a large number of ideologues who probably have been recruited to attack every article that America publishes that contradicts current Republican orthodoxy, that is Trumpian rhetoric, about the border and immigrants."

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

Mr/Ms Abbott,
I assure you that I have not been recruited by anyone nor do I think anyone else has. I have been commenting here since before 2008. I am a graduate of a Jesuit university and started reading this site only when some of my classmates started talking about the incredibly specious articles that appeared on the America site. They are mainly emotionally based and few use evidence and logic. The opinions here are far from what I knew during my Jesuit education.

FRAN ABBOTT
3 months ago

My suspicion about organized efforts are consistent with what is going on in certain Catholic circles today. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/world/europe/princess-gloria-von-thurn-und-taxis-francis.html

Vincent Gaglione
3 months ago

The lack in most of these posted comments to address the issue of a Christian response to the immigration and border situations disturbs me to no end. Are these people all subscribers to America magazine and media? I have my doubts because there seems to me to be a large number of ideologues who probably have been recruited to attack every article that America publishes that contradicts current Republican orthodoxy, that is Trumpian rhetoric, about the border and immigrants.

Yes, “illegal” immigration is a problem. No, a wall doesn’t solve the problem. Rather, we need a broad-based effort for immigration reform that includes border security, appropriate recognition of international asylum standards, better tracking of those who come to the USA and overstay visas, etc., etc. The wall is political rhetoric for conservative ideologues hellbent on ethnic and racial discrimination and the white “purity” and majority of the USA.

Adeolu Ademoyo
3 months ago

Mr. Vincent Gaglione,
Thanks for your post. Your observation that some comments on this platform lack the depth and rigor of Christianity and Catholicism is correct. You can almost predict the thrust of the comments of certain "names"-I will not call them commentators because sometime you wonder if these "names" are real.

Given the intersection of faith with our lived experiences, one will expect those who disagree with the editorial positions of AmericaMagazine and the views of AmericaMagazine writers to back up their position with (i) the deposit of our faith -which we all know is independent of anybody's tribal and base "alternative" "fact" and "alternative" "truth" and on the other hand empirically verifiable and accessible fact. But Mr. Vincent Gaglione, you are right, one does not see that in the comments of these tribe women and men. Rather "names" come here under the guise of being real commentators to abuse and take advantage of the open nature of online platform-such as AmericaMagazine and the open and democratic nature of the American polity to line up tribal and base alternative "fact" , alternative "truth" and spew them at us.

The point is that we are in deep trouble when the hallowed chamber of the American presidency is being turned into the seat of tribalism, where the "great" tribal leader takes orders from tribes women and men in their narrow, inward looking, parochial media outlets where their alternative "truth" and alternative "fact" are baked, hawked and fed to the rest of the tribe men and women in their parochial base and tribe(the 30% of the American population). The agenda of these tribe women and men is to intimidate AmericaMagazine and turn it into another tribal media megaphone in the image of their own tribal media outlets. But with comments and positions of people like you (who ask the tribe men and women to appeal to faith and fact), the agenda of these tribe women and men will fail week in and week out of the publication of AmericaMagazine. Thanks for your post. God Bless you and your family.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

Mr. Ademoyo,
You have it backwards. The tribalism is coming from the liberals and Democrats, not the president. Their whole political agenda is based on identity politics or identifying any group they can and claiming they are oppressed. Where is things like racism, ethnic background, sex, gender identification, sexual orientation, religion (only certain ones), disability, language use, etc. coming from. All from the liberals and the left. So it is not Trump who is the tribalist but the Democrats.

Adeolu Ademoyo
3 months ago

Mr. J Cosgrove.
Thanks for your post. I will stay with the facts in my response to you.
1. What do you think of the birther movement which claimed that President Barak Obama is not a native born American citizen-a position which is also parroted by the Klu Klux Klan. The "great" tribal leader categorically stated that President Barak Obama is not a native born American citizen. The "great" tribal leader built his entrance into the 2016 electoral politics on the birther movement-which claimed that President Obama is not a native born American. Now about 30% of American population who are members of the "great" tribal leader's base and tribe believed it then and still believe it in 2019. What do you think Mr. Cosgrove?

2. Mr. J Cosgrove, do you know of the story of the Central Park Five Vs the "great" tribal leader? If you do not know I will inform briefly. Sometime in 1989, a female jogger, Ms. Trisha Meili was brutally and sadistically raped, beaten and left dead in Central park, New York. Two weeks after the female jogger was brutally raped, beaten and left dead in Central Park, the "great" tribal leader paid $85,000 to place a series of ads in New York newspapers, calling for the state to “Bring Back The Death Penalty! Bring Back Our Police.” The words of the "great" tribal leader were clear -death for the Central Park Five before trial. The names of the Central Park Five are Raymond who was a teenager, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise, Antron McCray, and Kevin Richardson. All the Central Park Five are four African Americans and one Hispanic. Now listen, Mr. J Cosgrove, the law is the law. My position is that if these boys were guilty after court trial, then they MUST face the full wrath of the law. But the "great" tribal leader DID NOT wait for court trial before he condemned the boys to death with his own mouth and through newspaper campaigns on the issue. The "great" tribal leader campaigned for death penalty for these African American teenagers and young men before trial. To him they are guilty. Why? It is obvious.

3. The Central Park Five were tried and wrongly sent to jail. But they knew that they were innocent and they kept fighting in the court. Now in 2002, the actual perpetrator, Mr. Matias Reyes, who raped, beat and sent Ms. Trisha Meili to her un-acceptable death confessed to the crime. DNA testing revealed that Mr. Matias Reyes committed the crime alone. The court exonerated Raymond and the rest of the Central Park Five. Two questions for you Mr. Cosgrove (i) If you Mr. J. Cosgrove were the tribal leader who condemned and convicted (in and with his mind and with his mouth) the Central Park Five before trial and who later found that the court freed the Central park Five, what will you do? (ii) What did the real "great" tribal leader do? The "great" tribal leader continued to believe in the guilt of the Central Park Five-who are African Americans and Hispanic. Characteristic of the childish, childlike, egoistic narcissistic so-called "fighting" spirit of the "great" tribal leader-who some alleged "Christian" members of the "great' tribal leader's base and tribe dubiously associate with and sacrilegiously compare to some prophets in the Holy Book-the Old Testament of our common deposit-the Bible (thereby desecrating the Holy Bible) refused to apologize to the Central Park Five because they are African Americans. I guess the "great" tribal leader must be thinking that it is an abomination for him a "great" tribal leader to apologize to "some" African American and Hispanic youths!

4. Mr. J Cosgrove, you are free not to see this link. But I have another question for you. Can you see the link between the "great" tribal leader's position that the Central Park Five who are African Americans must be executed before trial, and who the "great" tribal leader claimed are still guilty even after the court exonerated and acquitted them and the "great" tribal leader's (who himself is a European American, whose ancestors came from Germany and Scotland, and whose latest wife is a recent Slovenia (former Yugoslavia) immigrant who initially came into the US on a visitor's visa called B1 Visa) claim that President Barak Obama -(who is an African American) is not a native born American citizen? Can you see this link Mr. J. Cosgrove?

5. I will stop here. Given the history and political pedigree of the "great" tribal leader and his desperation to use fear, anger, resentment, as tactics to rally his base and members of his tribe he has turned the hallowed chambers of the presidency to the seat and cave of tribalism. I leave the facts to you to deal with. Please to verify my factual claims , kindly do the following- google "The Central Park Five". You can even consult the tribe and cave media outlets of the base and tribe of the "great" tribal leader for information on the Central Park Five. Thanks and God Bless you and your family Mr. Cosgrove.

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