The problems of immigration have been faced by every prosperous society from the dawn of time. It is not surprising that, in an age of easy transportation and vast economic disparity among nations, widespread migration is once again a critical issue.The desire to assist immigrants naturally exists in tension with both the instinctive fears of existing citizens and the principled concern of those responsible for maximizing the benefits and minimizing the costs of major population shifts.The handling of immigration falls largely under the headings of charity and prudence. What the Church formally teaches on the subject is summarized in a single paragraph in the current Catechism.Because of the complexity of the problem, solutions depend in large part on gathering reliable information and applying human ingenuity in balancing a wide array of goods. Some of these goods have been outlined in various addresses of Pope John Paul II, including his 2003 address on World Migration Day.Also helpful is a scholarly Catholic inquiry into the principles which ought to govern decisions about immigration. But there is no one definitive resolution, and the discussion must inevitably continue, hopefully in a Christian spirit of solidarity with those less fortunate than ourselves.
If you only have time to look at three things, LOOK AT THESE.
- The Church's Wisdom in a Paragraph
- John Paul II Message for World Migration Day 2003
- Principled Immigration: A Sample Analysis
And if you've got more time...
An additional aspect of this discussion is the normal distinction between legal and illegal immigration. A good starting point here is John Paul II's address for World Migration Day in 1996, The Church and Illegal Immigration.