Baltimore Catholic Diocese Attacks Public Safety
March 06, 2012, 05:23 AM
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In January, I blogged about the San Francisco Catholics crusading against the law-enforcement program Secure Communities: San Francisco Archbishop Campaigns against Public Safety.

Secure Communities is a federal system in which the fingerprints of persons already arrested are run through a federal database to check their immigration status so that dangerous criminals can be deported. Most people would consider that strategy to be basic common sense. Secure Communities is supposed to be implemented in every state by 2013.

But the Catholic church favors open borders and amnesty for the foreign lawbreakers who now fill its pews. It’s a market-share thing: numerous American Catholics bailed after the priest pedophilia scandal and for other reasons. In fact, Pew survey found that “roughly 10% of all Americans are former Catholics.” So importing newbie Catholics is seen as desirable by the men in big offices, despite the crime problems associated with millions of unidentified foreigners.

In one example of how intelligent law enforcement is meant to prevent crime, the family of Matthew Denice called on Massachusetts Governor Patrick to “enact Secure Communities” to avoid future deaths caused by illegal aliens.

Anyone who assumed that religious officials condemning a successful public safety program was just a California aberration would be wrong. Leading Catholics in Baltimore favor coddling criminals just as much as their comrades on the left coast:

Catholic Church: We need comprehensive immigration reform, not ‘Secure Communities’ program, Baltimore Sun, March 5, 2012

The recent article about the expansion into Baltimore of the Department of Homeland Security’s program to crackdown on illegal immigrants (“Immigrants, city fear divide over status checks,” Feb. 26) makes clear the need for real immigration reform. Programs such as Secure Communities, regardless of aim, are succeeding in spreading fear and division and in threatening the stability of the family. Moreover, the program is altering the relationship between federal immigration enforcement and local law enforcement.

The Catholic Church’s concern for the welfare of migrants stems from its belief that immigration is ultimately a humanitarian issue because it impacts the basic human rights and dignity of the human person. The Church believes this dignity is undermined by this program’s alleged channeling of immigrants into the criminal justice system through racial profiling and pre-textual arrests for the purpose of vetting them for their immigration status. Because Secure Communities is operated at the point of arrest, rather than post-conviction, it casts a wide net over virtually any immigrant who has come into contact with the criminal justice system.

In other parts of the country where Secure Communities is being operated, some law enforcement officers have denounced the program because it creates a lack of trust between immigrant communities and local police, affecting their ability to investigate crime, assist crime victims and ensure the safety of those communities.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is supportive of the recommendations of the Task Force for Secure Communities, which cited a number of recommendations for improving the program, including improving transparency and strengthening accountability by preventing and providing remedies for civil rights violations. The Bishops also urge that an individual not be detained until he/she has been convicted of a crime that poses a threat to public safety of immigrant communities and families, rather than at the time of arrest.

The Church acknowledges the right of governments to control and protect its borders however the human dignity and human rights of undocumented migrants should be respected. Programs like Secure Communities as well as overly-aggressive laws such as those passed in states like Alabama and Arizona underscore the need for comprehensive and just immigration reform. Enforcement-only immigration policies will not humanely or effectively fix our nation’s broken immigration system. It is time for comprehensive and just immigration reform that provides meaningful and adequate legal avenues for migration, compatible with both our future labor needs and our ongoing prioritization of family unity, and includes the targeted, proportional, and human enforcement of immigration laws.

Mitchell T. Rozanski, Baltimore
The writer is auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.