A Response to Father Tom Joyce and U.S. Catholic

By Jerry Kammer and Jerry Kammer on February 15, 2012

Yesterday's e-mail brought a link to a blog post by Father Tom Joyce, writing at the web site of the magazine U.S. Catholic, which seeks to conduct a "conversation with American Catholics."

I was particularly taken aback by this statement by Father Joyce:

The Center for Immigration Studies is often quoted in the press as a foil to more immigrant friendly academia, yet they are tied informally to Numbers USA – an organization that doesn't even like legal immigrants.

Here is the response I posted this morning at the U.S. Catholic website:

I'm proudly a product of 16 years of Catholic education. But before I got out of sixth grade I had learned to identify the likes of Father Joyce's McCarthyesque putdown of the Center for Immigration Studies and NumbersUSA as bearing false witness.

I, too, believe in "rational and compassionate immigration reform." I'd remind Father Joyce that one of the principal reasons for the current stalemate is that this is precisely what Congress said it was offering with the 1986 amnesty legislation dubbed the Immigration Reform and Control Act. It was supposed to be a compassionate balance of amnesty for those already established in the U.S. with a commitment to control (i.e., stop) future illegal immigration with worksite enforcement. We all know what happened to that rationality and compassion.

Does Father Joyce believe that immigration law should ever be enforced? If not, he should honestly declare his support for open and unlimited immigration. If so, at what point should illegal immigration be stopped?

These are complex, multi-layered issues, Father. Please work to inform the debate, not to inflame it with cheap shots. The notion that NumbersUSA dislikes immigrants is risible. By that standard, those of us who want to regulate Wall Street are anti-capitalist, those of us who want to cut the Pentagon's budget are anti-defense, and those of us who believe in prudent nutrition are anti-food. – Jerry Kammer, senior research fellow, Center for Immigration Studies

Topics: Catholics