Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Conviction first, arrest later?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Mar 06, 2012

Unless you enjoy speaking about political issues exclusively in bumper-sticker slogans, you should recognize that immigration is a complex issue. The American bishops are right to insist that all immigrants, legal or not, should be treated with respect for their fundamental human dignity. But the bishops do not help matters when they make thoroughly illogical arguments. Consider this remarkable passage from today’s CWN story:

Auxiliary Bishop Mitchell Rozanski of Baltimore said that an illegal immigrant should “not be detained until he/she has been convicted of a crime that poses a threat to public safety of immigrant communities and families, rather than at the time of arrest.”

Then what if an illegal immigrant is convicted of a crime that threatens the safety of non-immigrants? Presumably Bishop Rozanski would agree that he should be detained. But that’s not what his statement said.

Worse, the bishop’s statement says that an immigrant should be detained only after he has been convicted. But he won’t be convicted unless he’s brought to trial, and he won’t be brought to trial unless he’s arrested, and if he’s arrested, he’s detained.

I know, I know. Bishop Rozanski means that he should not be detained by Homeland Security officials, under the terms of the Secure Communities program. His case should proceed through the normal court system before it becomes a matter for immigration enforcement. That’s not an unreasonable argument (although I would disagree with it). But the bishop’s actual words suggest something else.

Again and again, American bishops have issued public statements that convey the impression they would oppose any effort to curtail illegal immigration. If they made a few careful distinctions, and acknowledged the complexity of the issue, they would be more effective advocates for immigration reform.

 

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($25,337 to go):
$150,000.00 $124,662.96
17% 83%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Denial of Service Attack: Success! December 19
Federal debt as a social-justice concern December 19
Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle December 18
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed December 18
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? December 18

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17