Today's Topic



Illegal Immigration as
a Social Problem,
Part II

Part I

Natalia J. Garland

Print Version

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, the Archbishop of Los Angeles, gave a speech at the Fifth Annual John M. Templeton, Jr. Lecture on the Constitution and Economic Liberty, in Philadelphia, on May 8, 2007. Mahony's assertions, in my opinion, are so convoluted that it is mind-boggling to try to analyze his speech. As per my reading of Mahony's theme and supporting arguments: his Bible quotations are incorrectly applied to America's treatment of illegal immigrants, his conclusion about America's immigration laws is false, and his view of illegal immigrants seems both vague and romantic.

Below are passages from Mahony's speech which I have selected for commentary. Each passage is printed in boldface to show that it is a direct quotation. I have also indicated the paragraph number from which each passage is taken.


(1) My perspective on the economy, however, is not the common sense understanding of this term. "Economy" has its roots in the Greek oikonomia which, in the first instance, means the arrangement of a household. Here, the principal focus is not monetary. Oikonomia suggests care for how a household is ordered or administered according to a plan. (From paragraph #3)

It is difficult to argue against Scripture or biblical themes, because Scripture can be misquoted to justify almost anything. Mahony's first theme is that of oikonomia. He seems to view the economy as involving both money and a general sense of order or management, although he clearly states that his focus is not on money. And, it would seem that Mahony's focus on the administration of a household refers to making changes in current immigration law and providing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. For Mahony, these are the three characteristics of oikonomia in America's immigration situation: (A) Money, (B) Changing immigration laws, (C) Pathway to citizenship.

For illegal immigrants, however, it is probably money, or jobs, which is their main focus. There would not be massive immigration to America were it not for the availability of jobs. Current immigrants, mostly from Mexico, are not coming here to escape religious persecution, torture or mutilation, or dictatorship governments. Is the demand for citizenship a means to full participation in American society and government because this is the nation they love, or merely a means to keeping a job and acquiring voting rights?

(2) The question is: who belongs in the household? Is God's good household roomy enough for all? Or, who precisely is the "We" in "We the People?" (From paragraph #3)

His question is easy to answer: "We the People" refers to the citizens of the United States of America--not the citizens of Mexico or Bolivia or Norway. This brings us to Mahony's second theme: that the household of God and the government of America are the same. Yes, we are a nation under God, and some evangelicals believe America is especially chosen or blessed by God, but that does not mean that we are actually God's household or God's only household. The concept of a household could apply to different nations, communities, or family units. Even if we accept the idea that America is God's household, or one of God's households, it does not follow that the household would be administered in the way that Mahony proposes. It is surprising that Mahony does not view the Vatican as God's household.

(3) The Wisdom of the Scriptures suggests that HOPE is a powerful push toward a new future in which there is room enough for all in God's household. The beginning of God's people on the earth involved God moving Abraham across ancient borders:

Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you..."
(From paragraph #4)

Mahony's third theme is that of hope and the movement of people across borders as both an action of hope and as a means to realize hope in another land. It is an interesting theme, and I wish Mahony would develop it in greater detail--perhaps as an academic paper or book with examples from the Bible and world history. It may be true that illegal immigrants come to America with hope for a better future. However, that hope is linked to the availability of jobs. Mahoney does not present his concept of hope as a pure quality within itself, like honesty or loyalty. Nobody has to cross a border to be an honest person. Is there no hope in Mexico? Perhaps a different kind of hope? Perhaps hope based on a people's political movement in their own country? Are the Catholic priests in Mexico advocating for their own poor?

We now learn that Mahony believes there is "room enough for all in God's household." For Mahony, the "we" in "We the People" seems to mean "all." And "all" seems to mean everyone who has crossed the border illegally. Taken literally, it is impossible for America to have room enough for all the people in the world. Mahony's "all" seems to refer to a population which is mostly Mexican and Roman Catholic. Now, it is possible that a total of 100,000 Iraq War refugees will soon be admitted to America. Will Cardinal Mahony welcome these Muslims? If there were millions of Buddhist illegal immigrants from Thailand living in America, would Mahony advocate for them?

There are two major flaws with Mahony's statements on crossing borders. (A) God commanded Moses to leave his country and go to another land. God did NOT command the citizens of Mexico or any other country to go to America. (B) Crossing the U.S.-Mexico border northward for the purpose of jobs and hope, is no different from the early settlers of America moving ever westward for the same purpose. If the northward expansion of Mexicans into America is a part of God's oikonomia, then Mahony has validated the concept of Manifest Destiny.

(4) So powerful is this theme of new hope that in our history, the rich legacy of African-American Gospel and Spirituals time and time again refers to crossing the Jordan as the sign of hope; an escape from despair. So, movement to places of hope is woven into the very fabric of the Biblical story, continuing even today as we look around us. (From paragraph #5)

Reference to African-Americans, particularly to the history of black slaves in America, is very out of place. The problem of illegal immigration is NOT a civil rights issue. It is not a spiritual issue, unless the illegal immigrants themselves view it as a personal spiritual quest. Even if we view illegal immigration from Mahony's thematic constructions, there is no connection between illegally and voluntarily crossing the U.S. border with hope and having been trafficked involuntarily in a slave ship across the Atlantic. The Jordan River is a spiritual symbol in gospel music. It can be applied to a mental or spiritual state, as well as to physical movement from one place to another.

Some advocates seem to try to compare giving sanctuary to illegal immigrants with the history of slaves, Jews, and early Christians. What about abolitionists who helped slaves escape? What about Christians who hid Jews during World War II? What about the early Christians who practiced their religion when it was illegal in the Roman Empire? They all broke the law. Let me clarify these faulty comparisons. Helping slaves and Jews was often a matter of life and death. Slaves wanted liberation from a system that had violated every aspect of their free will. Slavery involved the ownership of humans based on skin color. Jews wanted to stay alive and not be forcefully transported to death camps. Christians who practiced their religion in the Roman Empire made a personal choice and they often paid for it with martyrdom. Illegal immigrants want jobs (and there is nothing wrong with wanting jobs), they came to America voluntarily, and they are boldly demanding citizenship in the world's greatest country.

There is also a tendency to try to compare the illegal immigrant situation with the Civil Rights movement and the Women's Suffrage movement. Let me take a moment to also clarify these faulty comparisons. Those blacks and women were American citizens. Their main focus was on equality in their own country. Illegal immigrants, however, are not American citizens, nor are they victims of discrimination in terms of race, gender, age, or sexual orientation. As workers, they are exploited. But, their children go to school with other children, they use public transportation, they find housing, and many live in sanctuary cities where they can work without fear of deportation. Although illegal immigrants might have personal experiences of discrimination, such discrimination is not built into the law.

In another document ("A Day of Action in Honor of Immigrant Workers and Their Families: Suggestions Toward Promoting Immigration Reform on May 1st, 2007"), Mahony calls for, among other changes, "...labor protections which apply to U.S. workers; wages and benefits which do not undercut domestic workers..." This should be the main focus of advocacy for illegal immigrant workers. Pay them fair and livable wages as you would pay an American citizen. If all workers were paid the same wages for the same jobs, then this would finally prove if illegal immigrants are taking jobs away from American citizens. If Americans do not want the jobs, then employers are justified in seeking an immigrant workforce.

(5) Americans, of course, understand this pull of hope and push of despair. We hear it every time we contemplate the powerful words of Emma Lazarus, now engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty. Here are words that continue to speak to a nation built by those whose despair, enflamed by hope, drove them to cross borders and seek new beginnings:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breath free..."
(From paragraph #7)

Many different people have built and continue to build America. The Hispanic community, like all waves of immigrants and their descendants, is valued for their contributions. There are, however, complications as America grows and as the world around us changes. I have commented on these complications in other essays. Before illegal immigration was ever a news item, I wrote Nation of Neighbors in January, 2004. I also made some comments on illegal immigration and the poem of Emma Lazarus in How Much Is One Life Worth? which I wrote in August, 2006.

(6) It is precisely because of their own origins in a people who moved in hope to leave behind despair, that the Scriptures teach us to have an unrelenting compassion for those who, even after 9/11 seek new hope in their lives. The ethical injunctions of Moses remind us again and again, in Deuteronomy, in Exodus, and in Leviticus. (From paragraph #7)

Mahony then goes on to quote the above Old Testament Books regarding care for the stranger and the alien. Mahony seems to overlook the ways in which Americans have already cared for illegal immigrants: free education for their children, free school lunches, free hospital services, and translation of many documents (including school notices to parents,) into Spanish. As the Cardinal is aware, there are Catholic masses conducted in Spanish. Courts provide interpreters in order to afford them due process of law. America also has immigration laws which welcome the stranger but these laws are not followed and, to the benefit of the illegal immigrant, usually are not enforced.

We all have hope after 9/11. The most courageous are those who have hope after the loss of loved ones in the Twin Towers, or after the loss of soldiers in Iraq. We all hope for a safe and prosperous America, and some have given their lives for this.

Not only do Americans help the stranger after 9/11, but we also help the foreigner in their own land. Below is a table from the Embassy of the United States in Mexico. It shows the aid given to Mexico from 2001 to 2004, and the requested amount for 2005 (the chart is outdated, but it was all I could find on the Embassy website at the time of this writing). The amounts are in millions of dollars.

U.S. Aid to Mexico

Category 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005-Request
Development Assitance 7.885 8.116 13.224 17.895 14.777
Child Survival and Health Programs 5.987 9.500 5.205 3.700 3.230
Economic Support 6.178 10.000 11.685 11.342 13.392
Total 20.050 27.616 30.114 33.027 31.399


In addition to the above are the millions of dollars being spent on border security. The American government is using taxpayer's money to build a border fence to protect national sovereignty and to enforce immigration laws, while Mahoney boldly defies this cost and effort by justifying illegal immigration thus far. Regarding immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship, it is taxpayers' money again that will pay for the processing of new forms and the staffing of a revamped department of government.

(7) Finally, the head of the Jerusalem Church, the Apostle James, sternly warns us never to take advantage of those who work among us as guests, or their despair will reach the ear of God just as the cries of Hebrew slaves under Egypt once did:

James 5:4 Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
(From paragraph #7)

The above passage is the only one in which I find myself in complete agreement with Mahony. American employers who pay lower wages to illegal immigrants are guilty of taking advantage of them. Everyone has probably heard or read stories of employers who withhold pay or who cheat illegal immigrants out of promised pay. Not only do these employers exploit illegal immigrants, but they also damage the American job market with lowered wages which, in turn, jeopardizes middle-class standards of living.

(8) As a Christian, there are no prior commitments that can overrule, or trump, this Biblical tradition of compassion for the stranger, the alien, and the worker. In whatever economic, political, or social policies we discuss - whatever discussion of constitutional rights and liberties - we cannot turn our backs to this Biblical legacy of hope. (From paragraph #7)

Let's talk about other forms of compassion besides jobs, wages, harboring people who have broken the law, and a pathway to citizenship. Many people need compassion and concrete help: the homeless, drug addicts, persons--usually women and children--who are trafficked into prostitution, the victims of Hurricane Katrina who are still trying to rebuild their lives, and Iraq War veterans who return home disabled. The Catholic Church has many social programs, but there are still unfulfilled needs to which Mahony could devote his compassion and energy.

Here is a news item from the Tennessee Democrat newspaper: "A woman testified Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee that Jorge Melchor took her and another woman, who were both from Guatemala, to trailer homes and an apartment to have sex for money with Spanish-speaking men over the course of two days. Melchor is on trial on charges of conspiracy, human trafficking and harboring undocumented workers for the purpose of prostitution. On Monday, Melchor, a native of Colombia, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful re-entry after being previously deported from the United States." [End of quote.]

Citizenship will not eliminate the market for prostitution or the trafficking of women. What does the Church teach about prostitution? The two women mentioned above have been physically violated and emotionally traumatized. And, there are certainly many other similar stories which we never hear about. Where do these women fit in God's household?

(9) First, do undocumented immigrants help our economy grow or do they use and misue our economic resources? The premise of the question is whether, in terms of pure monetary measurement, these individuals and their families are a benefit to our country. I would submit, based on this narrow premise, that these immigrants fill important jobs and contribute overall to our national economy. (From paragraph #11)

It is very difficult to find reliable information on whether or not illegal immigrants contribute to or take from the American economy. This matter is not a "narrow premise" but an essential one. The prosperity of America is essential to our citizens, especially to our middle class which is what enables us to maintain a democracy, and to our position of positive influence in the world. For more information on the topic of illegal immigrants and the economy of New York City, see my essay on Response to Michael Bloomberg which I wrote in March, 2006.

(10) In Catholic thought, the human person should not serve the economy, but the economy should serve the human person, so that each person and his or her family can live in dignity and without want and can move, if needed, to find the place of hope. (From paragraph #12)

This is perhaps the most vague passage in Mahony's speech. On the surface, it sounds like socialism. Since Mahony frames this passage in terms of "Catholic thought," let's talk more about families and human dignity. The Social Agenda, published by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, states: "Migrants should be met with a hospitable and welcoming attitude which can encourage them to become part of the Church's life, always with due regard for their freedom and their specific cultural identity." And in the same paragraph: "The Church in America must be constantly concerned to provide for the effective evangelization of those recent arrivals who do not yet know Christ."

For the sake of brevity in an essay which is already quite long, I will relate Mahony's remarks and the The Social Agenda quotations to three specific problems within the Hispanic community: domestic violence, illegitimate births, and drunken driving. One out of every four women in America will be victimized by domestic violence, and the chances are higher for immigrant women. The American government attempted to help these women with the Violence Against Women Act which was passed in 1994. This Act states that illegal immigrants who are victims of domestic violence, married to American citizens or to permanent residents, can themselves apply for residency rather than their husbands having to apply for them. This is just another one of the ways in which America helps the stranger.

Next, let's look at some of the statistics on illegitimate births. One out of every 7 Hispanic immigrant women had an illegitimate baby, and 65 percent of these illegitimate births were to mothers who did not graduate from high school. (These percentages are from 2003.) Illegitimacy is not necessarily a problem of illegal immigration, but a cultural problem in the countries from which the illegal immigrants come. For example, the illegitimacy rate in El Salvador is 73 percent; in Jamaica it is 86 percent.

The chart below shows the increases in illegitimate births among immigrants and native-born Americans from 1980 to 2003. The data comes from the National Center for Health Services, and was analyzed by the Center for Immigration Studies. (Puerto Rican-born mothers were excluded from the chart. All children were American-born.)

Number and Percent of Illegitimate Births for
Immigrants and Native-Born by Race and Hispanic Origin

  2003 2003 1980 1980
  Percent Illegitimate Number Illegitimate Percent Illegitimate Number Illegitimate
IMMIGRANTS 31.5% 298,332 13.3% 44,764
Hispanic 41.9% 234,317 18.8% 27,243
Non-Hispanic White 11.8% 16,054 6.3% 6,593
Non-Hispanic Black 39.4% 27,815 32.6% 7,447
Non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific 11.0% 19,804 4.2% 2,433
NATIVE-BORN 35.4% 1,105,404 18.8% 607,393
Hispanic 49.6% 165,502 25.9% 36,174
Non-Hispanic White 24.4% 537,423 9.9% 248,111
Non-Hispanic Black 72.5% 368,285 57.5% 307,390
Non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific 29.9% 10,146 17.7% 2,308
TOTAL 34.5% 1,403,736 18.3% 652,157


The study goes on to say: "Research shows that children of unmarried parents are much more likely to live in poverty, have low academic achievement, and have higher high school dropout rates than those born to married parents. Run-ins with the law, drug use, and incarceration are all more common among children born to unmarried parents. Welfare use is also significantly higher for families with illegitimate children. Infants born out of wedlock suffer higher mortality rates. Illegitimate children have been found to suffer from more-difficult-to-measure problems such as low levels of self esteem and self worth. Finally, children of unmarried parents are themselves at higher risk for being unmarried parents when they reach adulthood. One of the most important and troubling findings by researchers is that being born out of wedlock increases the chances of negative social outcomes for children even after controlling for income, race, and other social factors. Illegitimacy is clearly a problem for both those born to unmarried parents and for the larger society." [End of quote.]

When Mahony speaks of oikonomia, or the management of God's household, he must also consider the social problems which illegal immigrants bring with them and the adjustment difficulties which may or may not exacerbate these problems. Citizenship is not a remedy for problems which were already a part of the illegal immigrant's culture. Again, I recognize that the Roman Catholic Church has many social and mental health programs, but there is a huge problem with illegitimate births which has gotten worse over the years. This goes against Catholic teachings on pre-marital sex and against Catholic family values.

Finally, let's look at the problem of drinking and driving. The Orange County chapter of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) provides the following statistics. The statistics are based on 178,950 DUI arrests (not convictions) during 2001.

California DUI Arrests, 2001

Male 84.8%
Hispanic 44.1% (31.3% of the population)
White 42.6% (49.7% of the population)
Black 7% (6.7% of the population)
Other 6.3% (12.4% of the population)


(11) The current reality in our nation, however, is that we accept their labor, their separation from family, their taxes, and their purchasing power, yet we do not offer the undocumented population the protection of our laws. While such a system might meet our economic needs in the narrow measurement of monetary gain, it fails to meet the broad definition of oikonomia or the call of Scripture. It contributes to a disordered household without hope and without compassion, as we witness in immigrant neighborhoods throughout the nation. (From paragraph #13)

It is not necessarily laws or lack of laws which caused the current dysfunctional immigration system. Current laws are not enforced. Big business and the government have permitted the employment of illegal immigrants. Corporations are not penalized. Illegal immigrants are not deported. After years of massive illegal immigration, we now feel the burden placed on schools, hospitals, prisons, and neighborhoods. It is out of control.

Mahony seems to refer to immigrant neighborhoods as disordered households, without hope; or to the lack of proper oikonomia as creating disorder in these neighborhoods. In an article entitled, "The Realignment of America," Michael Barone (author of Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America's Founding Fathers) talks about the current trend of mainstream Americans moving out of large costal cities, such as Los Angeles where Mahony serves as Archbishop, while immigrants are moving into these areas. He states:"The result is that these Coastal Megalopolises are increasingly a two-tiered society, with large affluent populations happily contemplating (at least until recently) their rapidly rising housing values, and a large, mostly immigrant working class working at low wages and struggling to move up the economic ladder. The economic divide in New York and Los Angeles is starting to look like the economic divide in Mexico City and São Paulo." [End of quote.]

These changes in demographics will also mean changes in electoral votes and Congressional seats. It means opportunity for new leaders to emerge. Mahony, although not a newcomer, seems to be emerging in a new role as a leader of and spokesperson for illegal immigrants. If large numbers of immigrants remain in certain cities (the U.S. Census has measured this trend), then immigrants might not have motivation to assimilate into American society. If they are socially and pyschologically isolated in ethnic neighborhoods, they might not really be aware of the characteristics and values of mainstream society. The lack of true oiknonomia, therefore, is obstructed by their lack of familiarity with everyday Americans, and by some leaders who politically manipulate them with extremist views of multiculturalism. Citizenship will not improve this. It will probably take several generations for the illegal immigrant population to adjust to American life.

(12) Once it is agreed that all should share in the feast that is the fruit of their hands, the question becomes whether those who reside outside the law have the same claim to a seat at the table as those who are not outside of it. Given the current broken immigration system, Church leaders say "Yes!" Let me explain. (From paragraph #15)

No citizen of a foreign country should have the same claim as an American citizen. Citizenship is not a form of welfare. Citizenship involves a preference for America above one's country of origin, and assimilation and allegiance. It means physical and psychological separation from the country of origin, not just in terms of hope in a new land, but in terms of formation of a new identity. This does not seem to be true among Mexicans who still believe that the Southwest belongs to Mexico and who carry resentment toward America for having won the Mexican-American War.

(13) In the view of Church leadership, and many others, our current immigration laws are, in a word, unjust. We gladly accept the toil and taxes of the immigrant work force to fill our economic needs, but we look the other way when they are exploited in the workplace, die in the desert, or are arrested for providing "nanny" and cleaning services at desirable addresses. When convenient politically, we scapegoat the immigrant without acknowledging our complicity. Our immigration laws perpetuate this reality. (From paragraph #18)

America's immigration laws are not unjust. The current immigration system is broken because the laws have not been enforced, and now it is too late to enforce them without human suffering. This broken system has actually emboldened illegal immigrants to demand amnesty and citizenship. They have protested in the streets without fear of arrest. The cities where immigration protest marches took place even brought out portable toilets for them! Let's face it, no illegal immigrants appear to be returning to their native countries. The harsh reality is that their lives in America, even with employer exploitation, is better than their lives were in their native countries.

Dying in the desert? Yes, that happens. Often, they are abandoned by the human smugglers (people of their own race) who guide them across the border. American border agents in Arizona put water barrels out in the desert for them, with bright blue flags to indicate free water. Acknowledge our complicity? The average American citizen never knew what was going on. American taxpayers were duped by big business and our own government. "We the People" were not involved in breaking the immigration system, but are we are the ones trying to fix it. Our immigration laws may be outdated or inadequate, but not unjust or immoral.

(14) In the area of immigration, the Church leadership argues that our country has a moral obligation to change the law because it violates the order of God's household and undermines basic human dignity. (From paragraph #20)

Let's talk about Church leadership and God's household. Hispanics are changing the Roman Catholic Church in America. Currently, Hispanics account for around one-third of America's Catholics. However, 54 percent of them practice a charismatic form of Catholicism unknown to previous generations of Irish American Catholics or Italian American Catholics. This is true of immigrant as well as American-born Hispanics. This situation is further complicated by the fact that many Hispanic Catholics are converting to Protestant religions, especially to pentecostalism. The following chart is taken from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. It shows the religious affiliation of Hispanics in America, in 2007.

Religious Affiliation of Hispanics in America

Roman Catholic 68%
Protestant 20%
Secular 8%
Other Christians 3%
Other Faiths 1%
Don't Know/Refused 1%


Hispanic evangelicals are more likely to vote Republican, whereas Hispanic Catholics are more likely to vote Democrat. The influence of Hispanic evangelicals is also being felt in other countries which have been strongholds of Catholicism. Pope Benedict XVI recently visited Brazil where the Catholic population has decreased from 89 percent in 1980 to 74 percent in 2000. Brazilian Catholics are also practicing a charismatic form of Catholicism which includes divine healing and speaking in tongues. The conversion of Hispanic Catholics to spirit-filled forms of worship, and the inclusion of animated charismatic worship within the Catholic mass, is a disturbing social change for Catholic leaders.

(15) From the Catholic perspective, the ultimate question in the immigration debate is whether we want to live in a society that accepts the toil of undocumented workers with one hand and then treats them like criminals with the other. (From paragraph #21)

Mahony needs to provide examples of how illegal immigrants are treated like criminals.

(16) It respects the place of national sovreignty - based on moral principles and freedom - not a fiction of artificial national security. It also is grounded in a proper view of economics, true to the etymology of the term which emerged in ancient civilizations and in early Christian history to describe the arrangement of a household - God's household which is ordered and open to those who long to sit at the table which they helped set. (From paragraph #25)

Six suspected terrorists, now known as the Fort Dix Six, were recently arrested for planning to attack the Fort Dix military base in New Jersey. Three of them had entered America illegally in 1984, crossing the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas. Due to government inefficiency and the don't-ask-don't-tell policy, they were never deported. The need for homeland security is real. It is a matter of life and death. We must be constantly vigilant.

(17) We continue on a lifelong journey that is guided not only by the legacy of the Christian tradition, but by the deepest yearnings of every heart - the heart of every person of every nation - the soul of each human being regardless of religious persuasion. Because fundamentally the deepest desire, the highest aspiration, and the most enduring hope of each and every person, is to breathe free. (From paragraph #27)

This is the last and perhaps most romantic paragraph of Mahony's speech. Mahony seems to be searching for a commonality between illegal immigrants and all human beings. In other words, we all yearn to be free. Or, in other words, we are all illegal immigrants at heart. Mahony's final theme seems to be in the vein of the 'brotherhood of man.' This theme harks back to the 1960's, back to another era of political activism. It is almost nostalgic.

Does everybody yearn to be free? History seems to prove otherwise, and so would a glance at any of today's newspapers. What about Jorge Melchor, the man mentioned earlier who forced two women into prostitution? There are many examples of antisocial and criminal behavior which seem to point to a deep desire to squash the freedom of others. If there is such a thing as evil, then Mahony's final argument is invalidated. And, again, illegal immigrants currently come to America for jobs and not because they yearn for freedom from persecution or dictatorships. They yearn for a higher standard of living and the good things that money can buy.

Conclusion to Part II

The social problems of the illegal immigrant population are extensive, and some of these problems pre-date their entry into America. Many illegal immigrants, and their American-born children, seem to continue and even increase the culturally based problems of their native countries. Illegal immigration itself is a social problem for many mainstream Americans because of language barriers, and because of the impact on schools, hospitals, courts and prisons. These problems must be addressed, but we must do so according to an objective fact-finding process.

In order to provide mental health services to immigrants, legal or illegal, it will certainly be necessary to hire bilingual social workers and psychologists. This means that many qualified mainstream American professionals will not be eligible for these jobs, and that there will likely be a shortage of trained or college-educated bilingual people. This shortage could be temporary, depending on how many Hispanic and other ethnic groups are attracted to the helping professions. "Bilingual prefered" is already a reality in the classified ads and for different types of jobs.

Perhaps the real commonality among Americans is the yearning for self-determination. There is concern that illegal immigration is going to have a long-term negative impact on middle-class standards of living and on opportunities for upward mobility. This does not imply racism. False accusations of racism, just because others happen to disagree, have a temper-tantrum quality. Likewise, pandering for votes or church members completely disregards the humanity of the illegal immigrant. It exploits their lack of education, and violates the trust and needs of "We the People." (Written 06/04/07: bibliography available.)

Until we meet again..............stay sane.

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Copyright 2007 Natalia J. Garland