Making room for the stranger

This article from Mark Shea pretty well sums up my view on illegal immigration. I think I will just paste in his whole post:

I don’t get the panic over illegal immigrants. They are thoroughly woven into our economy, so it’s cloud cuckoo unrealism to imagine we are going round up 12 million of them and send them back. And they are, largely, Lazarus–doing back-breaking work that we need them to do and getting crap wages for it. I’ve never understood the menace they allegedly represent: hard-working, largely Catholic, with a strong sense of family who have shown repeatedly that they want to make a better life for themselves and their kids. Yeah, sure, they’ve ignored US immigration law: a human system. Not ideal, but not the end of the world either. The reality, though, is that large segment of our economy would collapse without them. So since we have already made it clear we are willing to exploit them, I think the real onus is, as ever, on the powerful rather than the powerless. Weak and hungry people who fudge on a human law are guilty, it seems to me, of a venial sin at best.  Powerful people who exploit the poor and the alien and deny the worker his wages are guilty of three of the sins that cry out to heaven for judgment.

1867 The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are "sins that cry to heaven": the blood of Abel, the sin of the Sodomites, the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt, the cry of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan, injustice to the wage earner.

Such is the fractured nature of American politics that the first two sins are sacred rights defended as "freedom of choice" and "the right to gay marriage" by the Left, while the latter three sins are solemnly defended pillars of any conservative worth his salt. We’ll take the powerless migrant’s labor, denounce him for doing it and then defend the guy who pays him crap wages. Any sympathy for the poor and powerless laborer is bleeding heart liberalism and (naturellement) incipient socialism.

Somehow, both ideologies manage to steer us toward defense of the powerful and rich (whether Planned Parenthood or Agribusiness) and away from defense of the least of these, whether the terrified single mom or the powerless bean picker. In my view, as a simple-minded Chestertonian, it seems clear that this is an obvious case of wrongly ordered priorities. Fuss budgetry about US immigration codes vs. sins that cry out to heaven seem to me to be no contest: the law was made for man, not man for the law. Face reality that these people ain’t going anywhere, that they are unjustly recompensed, and fix that. Fix the porous borders as you can, but don’t use it as an excuse for exploiting the stranger, orphan and widow. The have a Defender it is unwise to anger.

On a totally unrelated note, it appears that Luther believed in the Immaculate Conception of Mary, well before it was declared a dogmatic doctrine (1858) and after he had left the Catholic faith.

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About Kleiner

Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Utah State University. I teach across the curriculum, but am most interested in continental philosophy, ancient and medieval philosophy as well as Catholic thought, all of which might be summed up as an interest in the ressourcement tradition (returning in order to make progress). I also enjoy spending time thinking about liberal education and its ends.
This entry was posted in Catholic thought/religion/culture, Polis (politics, culture). Bookmark the permalink.

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