I have no doubt that America's Catholic bishops are nice people and that they mean well. But their callous indifference to America's unemployed and low-wage workers is astounding when it comes to their lobbying on immigration policy.
The Washington Post reports that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is going to expend another $800,000 of its anti-poverty funds to help pass a bill that will add millions more foreign workers to compete for scarce U.S. jobs.
The bishops’ anti-poverty program in the past year has invested more than $3.5 million in grass-roots immigration reform.
The organization of U.S. Catholic bishops said it would make $800,000 in grants available for projects aimed at mobilizing regular Catholics to push for the bishops’ immigration platform.
-- Washington Post, March 5, 2013
Wow. Not only are the bishops taking more than $4 million away from anti-poverty efforts in little more than a year, but they are investing it in a policy that will further depress wages in the occupations where the extra foreign workers will compete. And those occupations are disproportionately ones where the American workers in them already are making poverty or near-poverty wages.
Fortunately, our own polling has long found that most Catholics in the pews reject the bishops' priority of helping corporations gain more visas for foreign workers and of helping foreign citizens who have broken our immigration laws.
The Post seems to lament the fact, noting:
A recent Pew poll showed just 32 percent of churchgoing Catholics had heard about immigration issues at church. Among Catholics overall, just 7 percent said religion was the main force in shaping their immigration views.
That suggests that most priests are not as blind to the needs of their working-class parishioners as are the bishops, and that the priests refuse to preach the glories of a loose labor market.
About the 7% figure, I don't take the result to mean that Catholics' immigration views are uninformed by moral concerns. It may just mean that they use a moral compass that is stronger and different from the open-borders pronouncements of their bishops.
OK, my comments are harsh. I don't believe at all that the bishops WANT to help employers make more money on the backs of workers drawing lower wages. I don't believe the bishops WANT the gigantic economic underclass of Black and Hispanic Americans to grow. I don't believe the bishops THINK that loose labor markets that encourage greater and greater income disparity in our society are a moral good.
Really, I don't believe the Catholic bishops think those things at all -- even though those are the logical results of their preferred immigration policies.
But it doesn't seem like the bishops even THINK about the possibility of the results of their actions because they have made an idol out of immigration and a fetish out of concern for immigration lawbreakers as their priority concern. And they have allowed that to blind them to the pain and suffering of this country's most vulnerable citizens.
I can sort of understand how the bishops can make a mercy case for the 11 million illegal aliens. But I can't understand at all why they are spending anti-poverty funds to insisting on adding millions more new immigrant workers while 20 million Americans can't find a full-time job.
We should always remember that all these religious leaders who are demanding an amnesty for illegal aliens are also demanding a "comprehensive immigration reform" package that includes huge increases in future immigrant workers.
Would somebody explain to me what the bishops' argument is for increasing foreign workers in the future? If they were willing to care as much about poor Americans as they do about illegal aliens, the bishops would at least be demanding that the amnesty include large cuts in future green cards and worker visas? Why don't they?
Really, I would like to know because I have to believe that this nation's Catholic bishops are good people who mean well.
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
Updated: Wed, Mar 6th 2013 @ 8:11pm EST