support the wall?

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Can Catholics support a border wall?

Should they?

President Trump is set to deliver a primetime address from the Oval Office tonight. The focus will be his proposal for a barrier on our southern border. Remember… this is the reason for the partial government shutdown. The President is requesting $5.6 billion for a wall/fence/barrier, and Democrats are refusing to compromise. Pelosi and Schumer have said they won’t allow a penny for the “wall.”

So who is right? Is a wall necessary? Is it effective? Moral?

Answer: Barriers of all types are commonly used for security everywhere in the world, including houses, properties, and even nations. In fact, we already have wall/fencing on nearly 700 miles of our southern border — approved and funded by Republicans and Democrats via the Secure Fence Act in 2006 and 2012.

DID YOU KNOW: The Secure Fence Act was originally approved by Senators Obama, Clinton…and yes, even Chuck Schumer.

The real question isn’t “should we build a wall” — but rather, should we finish it?

So what’s the problem?

The debate over the wall involves a lot of political posturing. Democrats want to harm Trump and keep him from delivering on a key campaign promise. But there’s more. Many progressives, including newly elected Democratic leaders, are calling for open borders, the abolition of ICE, and the end of laws that prevent the movement of people in and out of America — for any reason.

Nancy Pelosi says a wall “sends the wrong message” to outsiders. And she says the proposed wall is too “expensive.” Setting aside the irony of Pelosi criticizing the cost of any government program, the proposed border barrier would make up only 0.11% of spending in this year’s federal budget. Not 11%. Not 1.1%. But… 0.11%.

So is a border barrier effective? 

According to experts who are responsible for defending our border, a wall/barrier is critical — both to prevent chaos at the border, but also for national security. Further, the current unpredictability and lack of enforcement at the border has emboldened sex traffickers, ‘coyotes’ who exploit families and children, drug trafficking, and even terrorists. We expect President Trump will emphasize the humanitarian consequences of our current porous border in his address tonight.

Of course a wall is certainly not a fix-all. These same experts have explained that virtual monitoring, drones, cameras, and more are equally important. Finally, many illegal immigrants living in America today arrived not via border crossing, but by overstaying their visas. So while a wall is important, it alone will not solve the chaos of our current immigration problem.

But the biggest question for Catholics to consider: Is a fence or wall “immoral”? 

Walls and fences are obviously not, by definition, immoral. The answer depends on their purpose. With respect to walls to restrict immigration, a wall/fence/barrier can be perfectly legitimate if its aim is to establish order.

Our Bishops, citing the Catechism, argue that prosperous nations like ours must welcome foreigners to the extent we are able. But they also explicitly justify the use of security measures to protect the common good:

 

The second duty [of governments]is to secure one’s border and enforce the law for the sake of the common good. Sovereign nations have the right to enforce their laws and all persons must respect the legitimate exercise of this right: ‘Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.’ Catholic Catechism, 2241.

 

OUR TAKE: Immigration policy in America is broken. And until we get serious about enforcing our existing laws, immigration reform will never happen. Too many Americans, rightly in our opinion, are reluctant to compromise on “paths to legalization” when they know that our borders remain unsecure.

We support a big wall… with lots of secure gates. We want and welcome immigrants seeking to come to America to work, assimilate, and pursue the American dream. But we need a secure and orderly process to achieve this goal. Immigrants wanting to come to America should not be tempted by a dangerous illegal border crossing.

Finally, debates over the number and type (“skilled vs. unskilled”) of immigrants that we welcome will continue to be a big part of this debate — and people will have different answers for these questions. It’s important to point out that prioritizing the needs of existing American citizens does not make you immoral, racist, or bigoted.

The same Catholic principle of solidarity that obligates us to welcome the foreigner also obligates us to care for our fellow citizens. How to balance these obligations requires prudence. And good Catholics can and will disagree on how to best resolve these priorities.

The present chaos on our southern border demands action, and our elected representatives must not drag this out any longer.

President Trump is right to bring this important question to the American people.

We look forward to his address tonight.

Brian

P.S. After you watch the presidential address tonight, send me an email with your thoughts.

 

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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Brian Burch is President of CatholicVote.org.

18 Comments

  1. I support border security, in whatever form best achieves the goal of keeping the harmful elements out and lets in those who legally meet our requirements.

  2. Rev Alan Rosenau on

    Don’t wait long, Mr.President. Do whatever, however to resolve this, as you will and must, as our constitution and our people entirely support and do impel you to do for our common good.
    Act soon; it is a matter of genuine faith as well as fundamental reason.
    We are praying and it will be —Very Soon.

  3. I was disappointed after hearing the interview today on Catholic Radio. The presenter from this organization said that the moral issues was only security, which is not the case.

    With limited resources, the use of our finances is very important, and the cost of anything our government does has to be weighed against the benefits. The speaker from this organization repeated the same untruth stated by Sarah Sanders and Donald Trump, that terrorists are stopped at the border. From what I have read, there have been far more terrorists trying to come in at the Canadian border, and that there are only a handful that have ever tried to enter the southern border. The vast majority of terrorists have been stopped at airports.

    With all the needs we have; the homeless, poor education, many other issues, it is immoral to waste more money on building a wall. This is the part you are leaving out, and it is significant!

    • Help me understand justifying billions of tax dollars to support those who have entered the U.S. illegally out weighs the needs you have just cited? Foreign nationals who enter the U.S. legally nearly always have means to be self sufficient.

    • Government is not the tool to fix homelessness, education, or any social issue. If social issues bother you, tithe your time & money to a good charity. Here are some suggestions:
      -Crisis pregnancy center
      -Knights of Columbus
      -Soup kitchen
      -Habitat for Humanity
      -Food bank
      -Homeless shelter

    • You’re making it a zero sum equation, which isn’t actually the case.

      The premise on the table isn’t “wall or education or social programs-choose one.”

  4. Yes, my whole family support the wall. We are Cubans by birth but came to USA legally. We love this nation and worry to see how it has changed. The left is powerful and prayers are needed. May this beautiful country always be the land of the free. God bless America. Our Lady of Fatima pray for us.

  5. Definitely support a wall or barrier of some sort and additional resources to protect ICE and American citizens! We must PROHIBIT sex trafficking, drug traffickers, murderers, and terrorist from coming into our country. We must STOP ALLOWING Democratic politicians to use our safety as a political football. This is the first President that has had guts to go against the establishment on both sides. He needs lots and lots of prayers and our fellow citizens that view the current policy of obstruction need our prayers as well. It’s time to humbly acknowledge what WORKS, what needs to be done and to allow the government to do the job it was hired by the American citizens to do. God bless America and God Bless our president

  6. Trump has been told that his specs for a border wall must be made known to all Americans not just Catholics. Also, Trump has been informed that a $multi-billion “wall” is not the answer. He keeps pointing to the symptom and not the source. The source involves a UN sanctioned force entering, with heads of government’s approval, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala to restore law and order. Once there is calm those planning to immigrate to the US will return home. In the Oval Office press conference Trump repeated his lies about the type of individuals crossing the border. He falsely reported the estimates of the number of crossings and he dwelt on isolated cases of murder by illegals to further his campaign. He made no mention that during rallies for his 2016 election he emphatically bellowed that “Mexico would pay for the wall”. Mexican President Vincente Fox immediately jumped Trump saying “there will be no Mexican pesos for that “fuc%^%ng wall”.

    How does Trump’s enablers continue to turn a blind eye?

    • He ran on the issue and is seeking to fulfill a campaign promise. Recall the issue struck a chord with voters, as we are in year two of his presidency.

      That’s what’s in play here. Politics.

      Speaking only for myself, the ministrations of the President of Mexico mean very little to me.

  7. I totally agree with Donald Trump that we need this security from those who want to come here illegally. We have to defend the people who are defending us and all of the border patrol that I have heard plead with the President to build it.. I hope Americans are not blinded by this obvious ploy. Those opposing the measure to secure our borders have no concern for people on either side of the border.

  8. The real question is: why have we not had a wall along our border for the last 100 years? Start building in California and go East.

    • Because the turmoil in Central America was not apparent then. If Trump wants to secure our borders there is a giant border with Canada where many criminals cross. Problem is twofold… Trudeau might not pay a dime and the cost is much higher due to the length and difficult terrain.

  9. Respective to whether the border wall is “moral” or not-

    It’s a structure. It’s amoral.

    It’s no more moral nor immoral than the lock on my front door.

  10. I just realized that there is a Catholic wall… HEAVEN.

    You say: “The debate over the wall involves a lot of political posturing. Democrats want to harm Trump and keep him from delivering on a key campaign promise”. This is where I get off! That is an absolute lie. If you were at any of Trump’s many rallies you should recall that he also said emphatically that “Mexico would pay $billions for the wall”. Again he lied. You seem to favor Trump even with all of his lying and misdirection. He lies so much that our national security is exposed. Our allies are more confused!

  11. I am from Brazil and came to this country 27 yrd ago because I had married my husband, an American, and he wanted to return. We had to do all the immigration paperwork in Brazil. I paid fees, went to doctor’s appointments to make sure I was in good health, did background check with the Brazilian police, went to interviews. It was a long process. My husband had to prove that he could support me when I arrived here. He even came earlier to get a job so he could show proof of that. We went through the legal process and after 6 years I became an American citizen. That is the way it should be with everyone. This is a country with laws for a purpose. To keep order and peace. Charity toward the poor from other countries, which I know, I lived in a country with a lot of poor people and my family was far from being well to do, but work, education and faith was my motto and that moves mountains, brings change, so if one wants to help the poor in another country donate to organizations that help the poor with adequate housing, safety, medicine and education. Go on a mission trips and help them, but do not go against the president when he is trying to keep us safe. I know a lot of people, through different venues that bypassed that process and are here illegally. While most of them are here to work and seek a better life, I heard even from them of stories of those who did unethical things to stay here like engaging in purchasing marriage to a crazy American for ten thousand dollars and then getting a green card. Some will do anything for a green card. I heard from one of them who crossed the border with Texas some 20 years ago by paying coyotes to bring him in and crossing the Rio Grande in the Rio Grande Valley and went through farms and bypassed the immigration checkpoint. I know that area well because my husband has family in South Texas and we go through that checkpoint every year when we visit them. Only a very tall, secure wall would keep them from coming in but the Democrats don’t care. They just oppose the president because they are socialists and they want to destroy this country and make this country a new Venezuela in their hands. By the way, this man who told me about his “saga” to get here head a shot when one of the guys who were also traveling north with the group he came felt sick and stayed behind. The group heard a shot and then saw the coyote returning and the guy never appeared again. They just kill those who are sick and stay behind. They are criminals. Why would people put themselves in the hands of people like that. Because there is an opportunity to dare and enter this country. A wall would make that journey a bit harder unless they climb the wall which is improbable. Yes, I am for the wall and I am praying for President Trump to be successful to do it. The democrats are against the safety of the people. They want this country to go down the drains.

  12. From what I read everyone, including the TrumpOs are attacking the symptom not the source. The poor people from Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador are pleading for their lives and the safety that America offers. They are fleeing their home countries because of violence by murdering gangs like MS13. We should insist that the UN present a resolution to the leaders and form a “police” force to enter the countries at the behest of the political leaders with the express intent of returning the three to law and order. Once order is restored the caravans will return home.

    If those steps are taken Trump will be off the hook on his campaign “promise”.

  13. The Trump beat goes on. His minions are quick to defend his position by saying Trump is for “border security” when he continually focuses on the wall and not technology. He just turned over his budget to the congress that has a projection of $4 Trillion. The contingency is that the economy will grow. If it does not Medicare will be plundered.

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