March 3, 2006

Letters to the Editor

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Hoosier ‘hostility’ toward immigrants must stop

I am responding to the letter written in the Feb. 3 issue of The Criterion concerning immigration and its effects in Indiana. As one who has lived in Indiana all my life, I am also concerned about the growing hostility that Hoosiers have shown to those coming from other countries.

As the letter writer articulated, we should follow the teachings of Christ, who was never known to have his followers break the law. Yet, the Bible implores us to welcome the immigrant in many scriptural passages, including Ezekiel 22:29, Leviticus 25:35-38 and Matthew 25:35.

These passages are clear that we were once immigrants, and we should always welcome them.

Secondly, we must also look to our tradition to see what our past popes and bishops have written. The Church has consistently and clearly upheld that if one does not find work in his/her own homeland, they have a right to find work elsewhere.

One can see this in the papal documents such as On Human Work, Peace on Earth and the U.S. bishops’ pastoral Strangers No Longer.

This is based on the teaching that all humans have dignity, which is nurtured by wages from work (On Human Work, Chapter 1, Pope John Paul II). Based on these teachings, both past and current, we see that it is unacceptable to deny the basic human right of work to anyone.

Furthermore, one must take a closer look at our immigration laws. It is true that many people legally came here during the different waves of migration to the United States. These people came looking for work, security and freedom. The immigrants today also come looking for work, security and freedom.

One cannot imagine that immigrants come to the United States to feed off of our Social Security system. The data does not mirror that assumption. Besides, I have never heard of a soup kitchen having such good food that people would travel 2,000 miles to eat it.

Finally, I come from a very comfortable lifestyle. I could never imagine my children starving in front of me because I do not have the resources to feed them. I would leave my home country and face a new country, new set of laws and new language—all with the hope of finding food.

It is true that we cannot accept everyone who comes to this country but, on the other hand, we must accept them as humans.

-Timothy Hellmann, Terre Haute



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