Sunday, June 3, 2018

Towards a border policy


Hi, Tom. I saw your question, and didn’t overlook it. What should we do at the border, about border control? I’ll respond as briefly as I can, but that’s not too brief.

Step one: we must acknowledge that there is a right to control the border and also a right to migrate. These rights are in tension, and must be balanced in justice. That means, whenever we devise a border policy that protects the rights of American citizens and not the rights of immigrants, that policy is already unjust, before we write a single word of the law. Justice requires balance – which, for us today, starts with repentance.

Step two: if and when we smash the remnants of racism in our hearts and in our border laws, we still have to recognize that the ICE packs have done huge damage. If our minds and hearts are clear and pure, a problem we remains: we have a history of injustice reaching way back. We have to address that.

Step three and four: a detail of addressing our history is recognizing that immigrants approaching our border will assume they are approaching a zone of lawlessness – not just the coyotes, but also the land of the unjust brutes who claim that law is law is law, and that a statute based on injustice is still an enforceable stature. ICE has the moral authority of a band of thugs – no more. Our law must embrace the lessons of Prohibition, that you can catch grandma with a tot of whisky or the Mafia, but not both; to enforce the law requires that choose and focus on serious targets. Forget young men looking for work, and chase real criminals. But even after we get that clear in our minds and hearts, we still have to work diligently for years or decades to persuade 100 million skeptics that we are through with racist chases through the bushes to catch suspicious brown people. To enforce the law, we need to focus, and also persuade all interested parties that we have changed and are now intent on enforcing a just policy.

Step five: Pope Paul VI taught that the name for peace in our time is development. That is, if we are serious about peace, we must work hard to address the economic imbalance within our nation and also among nations. The challenges of poverty and corruption and violence in Honduras and El Salvador and elsewhere are not someone else’s problem. We must learn (re-learn) something about the solidarity of nations, and expand our foreign aid by several orders of magnitude.

Then we can talk about how to stop MS-13.

USCCB has sketched an approach.

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