Heal Thyself Archbishop – Moral Obligation Is Not a One-Way Street

The Rev. John C. Nienstedt, the Roman Catholic archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, asserts that "We have a moral obligation to provide those who have come here [illegally] with an opportunity for full citizenship."

The archbishop's effort to impose a moral obligation on all Americans for the benefit of foreign nationals is nothing new and it is done with a high level of confidence that we will accept yet another moral obligation because of the guilt imposed on us by influential religious, political, media, and civic leaders.

In fact, it seems that every time we turn around, someone is imposing yet another moral obligation on us. President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry argue that Americans have a moral obligation to support and carry out military strikes against Syria because of the regime's use of chemical weapons. And on another occasion, the president tells us that, as Americans, we have a moral responsibility to end the slaughter of civilians in Syria and to ensure a stable Syria. Of course, a similar moral argument was made for American military intervention in Libya in 2011.

In addition, we have been told that the we have a moral responsibility for Haiti, a moral responsibility for world leadership, a moral responsibility to bring about a world without nuclear weapons, a core moral responsibility for preventing mass atrocities and genocide, a moral responsibility to maintain the nation's capacity to save lives in the United States and internationally, and a moral obligation to help those in need, no matter where they live in the world, regardless of our own tough fiscal times.

However, the archbishop and the other moral obligation imposers never talk about the moral obligations that they and others around the world have for Americans who ultimately pay the cost of the moral imperatives that they so readily impose on us. In their world, moral obligation is a one-way street.

So, on the immigration front, the archbishop shifts the moral obligation from the illegal aliens who routinely commit multiple felonies in order to get jobs onto all us who are doing our best to obey the law and to take care of ourselves, our families, and our communities. He says nothing about the moral obligation of the illegal aliens to stop committing forgery, Social Security fraud, perjury on I-9 forms, and identity theft.

Perversely, for the archbishop it is the victims of illegal alien, job-related crimes, including untold numbers of our children, who have a moral responsibility to reward illegal aliens with citizenship. In his world, illegal aliens have no moral obligation to us or to our innocent children whose very futures they have compromised.

Archbishop Nienstedt needs to look beyond his self-serving, glorified image of illegal aliens in order to see:

  • The massive number of innocent American victims of illegal alien, job-related felonies;

  • The harm done to legal immigrants who follow the rules, when illegal aliens are rewarded for lying and cheating and granted citizenship;

  • The American employers who try to hire Americans, pay them fair wages, and offer them benefits only to lose their businesses because they cannot compete with employers who cheat by hiring illegal aliens; and

  • The American workers who have seen their wages stagnate and their children lose the entry-level jobs that have traditionally helped pay for college and provided the work experience needed to move up in the labor force.

The archbishop needs to ask himself: "What is my moral obligation to the millions of Americans who live and play by the rules and what is my moral responsibility to those who have been harmed by illegal aliens who have violated our laws?"

Moral obligation needs to begin at home. Religious, political, media, and other elites need to focus on their moral responsibility to their fellow Americans and to stop treating us as a permanent underclass forced to do their bidding in support of foreign nationals.