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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Perhaps Bishop Barnes Should Have Waited for the Speech

Here's a portion of a press-release issued hours before the president's speech by Bishop Gerald R. Barnes of San Bernardino, California, Chairman of the Bishops' Committee on Migration:

The Catholic Church supports the right of a sovereign nation to control its border. As we have stated in the past, however, an enforcement-only approach to this crisis will not solve the problem of illegal immigration.

Over the past ten to twelve years, our nation has spent billions of dollars on border enforcement and has tripled the number of Border Patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico border. Yet, our nation's immigration system, including its legal channels for entering the country, remain woefully antiquated and ill-suited to address today's migration phenomenon. Consequently, during the same period that border enforcement has grown, the number of undocumented in our nation has doubled and the number of deaths of migrants in the desert has risen sharply.

News reports indicate that President Bush will use the speech to announce the authorization of the use of National Guard troops along the U.S.-Mexico border. I am concerned about the introduction of military personnel because there has not been an adequate public discussion about its implications, especially for the treatment of migrants.

The U.S. Bishops have stated consistently that the real solution to the immigration crisis lies in a comprehensive approach to the problem. This approach must include a long-term strategy to address the root causes of flight, such as combating poverty in sending countries. It also must include comprehensive reform of our nation's immigration laws which features an opportunity to earn citizenship for the undocumented in our country and the creation of legal avenues for migration for migrants to work and join families in a safe, orderly, and humane manner. We are hopeful that the president also will commit himself to these elements as part of a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

Does the New Evangelization require the Church to join the feed-the-beast news cycle frenzy by offering pre-analysis? In the Good Old Days, this tactic would be called out as poisoning the well, or knocking down a straw man. Shouldn't a decent respect for Truth serve better by responding to the actual policy proposal?

Note that here also Bishop Barnes only does a drive-by on the opportunity that exists within the legal channels to address this "crisis."

**Query** When did America stop being a nation of people "dedicated to a proposition" and become a "nation of immigrants." **End Query**

[posted by e-mail]

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