Tuesday, August 1, 2017
by Rachel Lyons
“I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” Matthew 25:35
OSP Immigration and Refugee Team
Sorting through all the confusing and contradictory claims about immigrants and immigration is a challenge. Two reliable sources of information are the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and their Campaign for Immigration Reform and the Anti-Defamation League, the sources for the information here.
Myth: Terrorists are infiltrating the U.S. by coming across the border with Mexico.
There is no evidence that terrorists are entering the U.S. through the border with Mexico. The Department of Homeland Security has said that “the suggestion that individuals that have ties to ISIL have been apprehended at the southwest border is categorically false, and not supported by any credible intelligence or facts on the ground.” According to a 2015 report by the U.S Department of State, Bureau of Counterterrorism, “there are no known international terrorist organizations operating in Mexico, despite several erroneous reports to the contrary during 2014.” In fact, the vast majority of U.S. residents linked to terror since 2002 are U.S. citizens.
Myth: We can stop undocumented immigrants coming to the U.S. by building a wall along the border with Mexico.
A wall or a fence along the entire border with Mexico would be impractical and very likely ineffective. The border between the U.S. and Mexico is almost 2,000 miles long. It spans difficult terrain, including deserts and mountains. Rivers flow along two thirds of the border. Much of the area is private property, which the government would have to buy from the owners to build a fence or wall, and many do not want to sell. From the Great Wall of China to the Berlin Wall, history shows us that people find ways to cross walls. Experts predict that a wall along the entire length of the border would lead coyotes—human smugglers who charge migrants high rates to cross the border—to dig tunnels and create breaches. This would increase smuggling prices, making the process simply more lucrative for those exploiting migrants. As long as there is poverty and suffering in other parts of the world, people will continue to come to the U.S. to seek a better life, no matter how big a wall we build. The U.S. prides itself on being a “nation of immigrants,” and on the values of fairness and equality. It is possible to create a process for addressing immigration that treats immigrants with dignity and respect instead of as criminals. The US Bishops Conference has been advocating for reasonable immigration reform for many years, and the church continues to do so today.
THANK YOU to everyone who signed postcards on Sunday, July 23rd, to Gov. Rauner in support of the TRUST Act! We sent almost 200 postcards from Old St. Pat’s to the coalition of faith communities behind this effort. And we need to keep the pressure on. CALL TODAY to support the Illinois TRUST Act!
The TRUST Act’s main provisions will:
- Bar local law enforcement from engaging in immigration enforcement without a court-issued warrant
- Assist immigrant crime victims seeking legal protection
- Bar federal agents from making arrests in schools and health facilities
- Bar local participation in a federal registry based on country of origin or religion
Call Gov Rauner’s Springfield (217-782-0244) and Chicago (312-814-2121) office. “Hello, my name is ____. I am an Illinois resident, and I am calling to ask that Governor Rauner sign the Illinois TRUST Act, SB-31. This will protect our 4th amendment rights, and will make me, my family and people I care about more secure in Illinois. Can you pass this message along to the Governor? Thank you.”
For more information on our Immigration and Refugee Team, contact Rachel Lyons – 312-798-2399.