Pastoral Thought

12-30-18

 

            New Year’s Day is also World Day of Peace. We should think about what Pope Francis said last November:  “I especially keep in my thoughts and prayers over 250 million migrants worldwide, of whom 22.5 million are refugees. These are the people who most keenly suffer from the absence of peace.”

            I will not rehearse the many passages in the Bible where God and Jesus tell us the importance of sheltering the homeless and welcoming the stranger. Rather I will mention certain things that I know:

â–ª Despite talk from high and low levels in our country, undocumented (“illegal”) immigrants have a lower crime rate than born Americans. Every large city in Arizona shows this.

â–ª Agriculture and food production in the USA depend heavily on immigrant labor (heavily Mexican) of whom a large number are “illegal.”

â–ª Although our economy needs these workers, Congress has never reformed immigration law (dating back to the ‘60’s) which limits lower-skilled labor far below the level we need. Why? Why force willing workers, that we need, to sneak in? Why not reform our immigration policies?

â–ª Every Mexican household I know of has one or two adults working full-time, sometimes six (or even seven) days a week; legal or not, they all pay taxes, rent, mortgage and all other normal expenses. In other words, they help turn the wheels of our economy.

â–ª Refugees, e.g., from Syria, Iraq, Central American, et.al., are heavily conditioned by fear for their own or their families’ lives. Our country refuses them entrance despite our having intervened (interfered) in those countries by invasion or military aid for decades.

â–ª The responsibility is on all of us. Some of our public figures and media personalities distort the truth, lie, or deliberately stay ignorant about the facts. You and I must seek the truth and act upon it. No other way is compatible with loyalty to Christ.

Father John Hynes