Catholic leaders: Illegal entry does not define who you are

There is nothing earth-shattering here, but since we had previously discussed the National Association of Evangelicals on the issue of amnesty, I thought it only fitting to tell you about how leading Catholics are working toward Comprehensive Immigration Reform (called Amnesty for short).  

This is an account of a conference a few days ago at Georgetown University at which Cardinal McCarrick says the window is closed at the moment to push for Amnesty—no kidding!

From the National Catholic Reporter:

“A toxic political atmosphere” is preventing much-needed humane reform of the “broken immigration system” in the United States, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick said Nov. 3 at a forum on immigration and human dignity at Georgetown University.

Calling for “comprehensive immigration reform,’ the retired Washington archbishop said, “We have to change what is broken, lest more people will suffer. We have to be courageous and persistent and change the system.”

McCarrick was lead speaker of a three-member panel at the forum, put on by Georgetown’s Woodstock Theological Center and co-sponsored by CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.), the Migration Policy Institute and the Jesuit Conference, USA. More than 300 people attended.

In one way or another all the speakers urged new attention to immigration reform — which McCarrick bluntly said is now on a political back burner to the more currently dominant issues of the economic crisis, U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the health care reform debate.

The golden opportunity for immigration reform two years ago is gone, and those seeking comprehensive, humane reform need to watch closely for the next open window and seize it, he said.

“Our receptivity to immigrants defines who we are” as Americans, said Donald M Kerwin Jr., a Woodstock Center associate fellow and vice president for programs of the Migration Policy Institute. “What immigrants want today is what your parents and grandparents wanted” as immigrants in previous generations.

Kerwin, who for 15 years was director of CLINIC, a national program established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to provide legal assistance to refugees, asylum seekers and other immigrants seeking visas and legal residency in the United States, sharply disputed the use of “illegal aliens” or “illegal immigrants” as terms defining or identifying those who enter the country without legal status.

“The rejection of ‘illegal alien’ is not a quibble. … It’s a line drawn in the sand” to say that these are human beings with rights and legitimate aspirations, whose illegal entry does not define who they are, he said.  [I think it says an awful lot about them!]

A little research into CLINIC

I don’t have time today to look too deeply into CLINIC (some interesting stuff on their website) because I am going away for a few days and have to get out of here, but I was curious who was funding this legal office.   Turns out you are—not entirely, though!  On average CLINIC gets about a half a million dollars a year from the US taxpayer to legally defend immigrants including refugees, and apparently to lobby.    The money passes through a Washington, DC office run by Kerwin for 15 years.

If you are interested check out their latest Form 990 here.   And, also go to that wonderful new source of information USA Spending.gov for information on their federal grants.

By the way, as regular readers know the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, one of the top ten federal refugee contractors,  is one of the largest recipients of federal grant dollars.  I wonder do they ever consider that if millions of illegal aliens are legalized overnight that they will compound even further the poor job prospects for legal refugees.

And, why are we giving millions and millions of tax dollars to rich churches and their political activities?

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