Donald Trump may be wrong about building a wall between Mexico and the U.S., but doesn’t Mexico want to keep its residents and citizens? Would the U.S. like to see lots of its people migrate to Canada? Is California happy when its residents move to Colorado (I know the residents of Colorado aren’t)? I don’t understand the economics — GDP, taxes and so on. But it sure does seem that having more people is better than having fewer. If we had more people in Hillsdale, Trader Joe’s might set up a store here.
What got me thinking about this was Pope Francis’ remarks yesterday to Mexico’s youth:
You are the wealth of Mexico, you are the wealth of the Church. I understand that often it is difficult to feel your value when you are continually exposed to the loss of friends or relatives at the hands of the drug trade, of drugs themselves, of criminal organizations that sow terror. It is hard to feel the wealth of a nation when there are no opportunities for dignified work, no possibilities for study or advancement, when you feel your rights are being trampled on, which then leads you to extreme situations. It is difficult to appreciate the value of a place when, because of your youth, you are used for selfish purposes, seduced by promises that end up being untrue.
I know the magisterium is clearer than the Bible, but wouldn’t this suggest that the youth of Mexico are the wealth of that country, not the U.S.?
So how does that message to young Mexicans cohere with the pope’s pro-immigration speech to Congress?
In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants. Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us. Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. I am confident that we can do this.
Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12).
If we applied the golden rule to Mexico, wouldn’t it mean encouraging Mexicans, the wealth of the nation, to stay there and not migrate to the U.S., just as we want residents of the U.S. not to leave?
Then again, I’m not convinced that pastors should speak about economics and immigration policy. Below their pay grade.