Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Minnesota Bishops, Immigrants, Papers and Justice

Imagine yourself on the sidewalk, going home from work. Ahead, you see a uniformed figure, a member of the state police. He turns, notices you and says: "Your papers, please."

You reach in your pocket for the government papers that give you the right to be in that area. They're not there. You try your other pockets.

The state official is growing impatient.

Then you remember: you left your papers on the dresser at home.

So you are handcuffed, taken to a holding facility: where you will wait while those in authority begin sifting through your background. You'd better hope that there are no irregularities in your past, and that you have all your papers: or you will not walk on that sidewalk again.

"It Can't Happen Here," Right?

That won't happen to me. I speak fluent American English and have pasty-white skin. Sparkling blue eyes attest to my northwestern European ancestry.

I won't be picked up because of my appearance, until someone gets the idea that middle-aged bearded men are a threat.

I won't be asked to show my papers, because I don't look like 'those immigrants.'

Immigrants Commit Crimes! So do 'Real Americans'

Timothy McVeigh helped blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building Oklahoma City. He was white. That doesn't mean that all "white" folks want to blow up buildings with people inside.

Some immigrants commit crimes. That doesn't mean that all immigrants are criminals, waiting for a chance to strike.

Immigrants are People

From today's news:
"Minnesota bishops urge national immigration reform"
TheCatholicSpirit.com (June 30, 2010)
(The Official Newspaper of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis)

"Minnesota's Catholic bishops want comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level, citing the need for legislation that is just and compassionate.

" 'The way we treat immigrants, whether documented or undocumented, is a matter of justice,' the bishops wrote. 'It re­flects our commitment to fairness and de­cency, our respect for persons and families.'...

"...The statement, the bishops' third since 2007, was re­leased June 15. It was signed by all 10 of the state's active and retired bishops. It was prompted in part by recent legislation passed in Arizona and concerns of a similar law being adopted in Minnesota.

"The soon-to-be-enacted Arizona law would require police officers to make a 'reasonable attempt' to determine a person's legal status during any lawful 'stop, detention or arrest' and arrest those who can't prove their status...."
Let me repeat that last phrase: "...and arrest those who can't prove their status."

Yes, folks who moved to America without getting the proper government papers are a problem - at least for some bureaucrats. And yes, illegal aliens/undocumented immigrants/whatever are a problem. As I quoted a few days ago:
"Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian."
Robert Orben, The Quotations Page
(June 25, 2010)
Sometimes, when bishops sign off on a statement, I have to grit my teeth and work at understanding how and why they said what they did. (June 24, 2010)

Today, it won't be so much work. I've been interested in the 'immigrant crisis,' or whatever it's called, for some time.

And I'm very glad that my ancestors looked Anglo.

Related posts:In the news:
A tip of the hat to catholicspirit, on Twitter, for the heads-up on their article.

2 comments:

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Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...

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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.