Cheap Seats 2017
Dreaming - 12/20
By Rich Trzupek
Let me start out by saying that I really like Father Bill Zavaski. Father Bill, a retired priest who helps out from time to time with services at my home parish, Holy Family Catholic Community, is a genuinely good man who – from all I can tell – genuinely practices what he preaches and harbors no hidden animosity toward anyone. As I am about to use a sermon delivered by this good man as an example of how good men and women of all sorts can be fooled by false promises and twisted truths, I want to make it infinitely clear at the outset that Father Bill is not the enemy here. The enemy are those who try to fool good people like Father Bill.
In a nutshell, Father Bill used this week’s homily to urge the congregation to support the so-called “DREAM Act”. Doing so would be a Christian act, he said, because more than 700,000 children were living in fear of being deported should the DREAM Act not become law. He urged us to contact our legislators to vote for passage of the measure.
Father Bill, like every other American, is free to express his opinion in any way that does not incite violence or panic. He has every right to speak passionately about issues that are important to him, from the pulpit, on the street or anywhere in between. Accordingly, in no way am I attempting to silence Father Bill or people who agree with him, I am rather attempting to expand the discussion and to do so in a respectful way.
The idea that over 700,000 children in America are living in fear is indeed disturbing. That’s what makes it so effective a talking point. If it were true, one’s heart must be made of stone not to take pity on this quivering mass of helpless hypothetical little tykes.
The key word there is “hypothetical”. The DREAM act is tied into the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy (DACA) policy established by President Obama in 2012. Under DACA, actions against minor aliens who entered the nation illegally were officially deferred, effectively until Congress and the Executive Branch could figure out a new immigration policy. It was a case of the President using his discretionary power as law enforcer to prevent enforcement of the law.
Since the United States is governed by the law, not by sentiment, this was something of a big deal. Obama was not the first President to use his office to correct what he believed to be a mistake that was none-the-less legally implemented according to the Constitution, but using Presidential power in this way is clearly the exception, not the rule.
Also in 2012, the Obama administration granted amnesty to illegal immigrants aged 30 and under. Ergo, those 700,000 “dreamers” supposedly shivering under the threat of deportation are not young waifs desperately hoping for citizenship under a supposedly authoritarian regime, they are almost entirely young to middle-aged adults who may be making a genuine contribution to society, who may be knowingly and selfishly draining valuable resources from society, or who may occupy any place in between in the scheme of things. In any case, they’re not worried about being tossed out, nor should they be.
In other words, if you are child who entered the United States illegally prior to 2012, you shouldn’t care about the DREAM act, because you’ve already got a free pass. If you are a child who entered the United States after 2012, the DREAM act doesn’t apply to you anyway – you should only be concerned about DACA. President Trump hasn’t ended DACA, much to the chagrin of many of his conservative supporters (including this one). He has simply set a proposed end date to the policy. The purpose here being to try to get Congress to get off its collective ass and pass a comprehensive immigration bill that would deal fairly with the consequences of the illegal immigration we have allowed to date, and provide for enforceable mechanisms to regulate legal immigration – and only legal immigration – in the future such that our ability to welcome and assimilate those who wish to jump into our melting pot is not diminished.
Should we be a welcoming nation? As a Catholic and a person of conscience, I say: absolutely. Does that mean we must welcome everyone? Of course not. As an enlightened, caring nation blessed with talent and riches, it is our obligation to ensure that we maintain our remarkable country such that we can best promote the growth of peace, liberty and prosperity throughout God’s Creation, not just in our own nation. That does not mean opening our borders to an unaccountable number of potential migrants yearning to be free, it means ensuring that we control our borders and resources such that we are able to continue to help expand the causes of liberty, freedom and tolerance throughout the world.