Open letter to Bishop Joe S. Vasquez

On January 26, 2017, the Catholic News Service reported: The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration criticized President Donald Trump’s executive memorandum to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Below is an open letter to Bishop Vasquez in response.

Dear Bishop Vasquez,

I hope that this letter finds you in good health and rich in the joy of Christ’s holiness, in which I pray you will grow more and more.

I am puzzled by your opposition to the Trump administration’s decision to control illicit immigration into the United States.  You make some statements that are on their face quite counter intuitive.  For example, quoting from, ‘[The wall] would “put immigrant lives needlessly in harm’s way.”‘  Pardon me, your Excellency, but it is precisely by trying to cross the border at points other than the existing Ports of Entry that puts these “immigrants” in harm’s way.

The wall will channel them through the normal Ports of Entry which are really quite safe.  I know this as I have crossed the US/Mexico border thousands of times this way.  There is no danger of getting lost and dying of hunger and thirst in the desert, or of being captured by desperadoes seeking to employ undocumented persons against their will, or of snakebite, or even of being apprehended by the US Border Patrol.  Of course there is the matter of what distinguishes an immigrant from an invader.  An immigrant follows established legal pathways to citizenship and full integration and acculturation into the society and culture which welcomes him.  An invader forces his way across borders against the express laws and desires of the country whose borders he is crashing through.  Any country who wishes to do so may welcome immigrants, no country can reasonably be expected to welcome invaders.

Your criticism of a surge in immigrant detention and deportation forces, you say, would “tear families apart and spark fear and panic in communities.”  This too is counter intuitive.  If families stay together they will not get torn apart.  If people stay and work to better the conditions in the communities in which they were born and raised there will be no fear and panic about border enforcement.  Nor would there be fear and panic if they go through the admittedly lengthy and arduous procedures to be welcomed as legal immigrants with all the requisite documentation.

If they don’t have the proper documentation to cross at the Ports of Entry then they obviously should stay in the country where all about them speak their language and share their culture, where they are closer to the help and support of their friends and family.  If they don’t have that documentation and they have invaded the US by whatever means, we as Christians have the duty to assist them, indeed, we may not close our hearts to them and their self inflicted plight.

We must feed, clothe and nurse them back to health before we return them to their homes and families whence they came.  We must encourage them to improve their lot in their native place with the strength they will receive from fidelity to the Gospel, particularly the Beatitudes.  We must support them with our unceasing prayers.  We must send them gifts to sustain them from our own generosity, including methods of working for social change in conformity to the Gospels and the teaching to the Church.

The Church in the US can and should play a vital and active role in assisting the Churches in all these places from which these unfortunate invaders come, in making the lives of their flocks spiritually richer and materially more secure.  Indeed, as you are well aware Americans have been, and under the wise direction of our secular leaders and spiritual shepherds, will continue to be extremely generous to those in need.

My hope is that you will not be misled by the culture of death, which while wearing the mask of moral superiority and mouthing platitudes of caring and peace, has been for many decades trying to smash American culture by fostering a race war among us.  I pray that you will discern the true path of the authentic Gospel to guide your flock along it towards Christ our Lord, while defending them from the sham gospel of fashionable and easy delusions that leads to self congratulation and violence.

Cordially yours in Christ,

Tamquam L. Rugiens

Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito. – Virgil
Do not yield to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.