Setting standards for immigration

In case you missed it, Deal did a brief interview Friday with the Dallas Morning News on the subject of Catholic teaching and immigration. It’s a short piece, but informative, and included this interesting exchange:

[D]oes a government have a moral right to set limits on the kinds of people who enter?

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Kinds of people? Practically speaking, these disputes are always about some group or groups of people.

Just because this case is about Mexicans does not prove, in itself, that discrimination is involved. It only means that the border with Mexico is where the problem is originating. If it were Canadians, the debate would be the same.

I do think this mess is more of our making than Mexico’s. For some reason, in 2005 everyone decided to get all crazy about it, when they should have seen it coming for 20 years.

By “kinds of people,” I mean that some folks want more highly educated workers let into the U.S.

I don’t think entry into the U.S. should be based upon IQ or, especially, university degrees — they would all become Democrats! (Oh, well, maybe not IQ.)

I don’t think we want to make our decisions based on whether a particular group is contributing to the economy. That makes it even more problematic morally. Then you would have debates over who is providing benefits and who is not. You get into questions of what constitutes a benefit. Is it the level of a salary? Amount of taxes paid? Kind of work done? That becomes impossibly subjective.

I have a feeling some may disagree on this point. Do you think there’s anything wrong with setting criteria for who may or may not immigrate (and in what numbers)? From my understanding, Canada does that very thing, favoring those in the fields of technology or healthcare. Could that work in the United States, or would it run contrary to our Come-All-Ye-Huddled-Masses character?

Here’s the complete interview. As I mentioned, it’s short but good.


  • Brian Saint-Paul

    Brian Saint-Paul was the editor and publisher of Crisis Magazine. He has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America, in Washington. D.C. In addition to various positions in journalism and publishing, he has served as the associate director of a health research institute, a missionary, and a private school teacher. He lives with his wife in a historic Baltimore neighborhood, where he obsesses over Late Antiquity.

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