March 31, 2017

Letters to the Editor

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Let’s focus on Jesus’ teachings, not vilify those who are different, reader says

In response to the March 10 letter to the editor which appeared in The Criterion, I agree that we ought to have a responsible debate on this complicated situation of how to deal with the estimated 11.3 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., which the letter writer prefers to call illegal aliens. But that debate needs to be based upon accurate facts.

Her letter contained much false information, including that Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos does not speak English and received free food, housing and medical care. Undocumented immigrants are barred from receiving aid from most social services. Just ask someone from Catholic Charities.

Her two children, Jacqueline and Angel, are U.S. citizens and are being educated. I would like to share some statistics as cited by the Center for American Progress, an independent nonpartisan policy institute. There are over 3.8 million children of undocumented immigrants who are U.S. citizens. In addition, these undocumented immigrants pay more than $10 billion yearly in state and local taxes to include income, property and sales taxes.

These undocumented immigrants are a part of our communities, including our Catholic parishes. The average undocumented immigrant has been in the U.S. for 13 years, and 20 percent of the adults are married to a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident. And 50 percent of the undocumented immigrants who have been here more than 10 years own a home.

Yes, it is true that they are undocumented or illegally here. There are many reasons for this. Guadalupe came to the U.S. when she was 14 with her parents and has lived here for 22 years. She went to school, worked, got married and started her family.

Yes, she used a fake Social Security number, as most undocumented immigrants have done, to support herself and her family at a job at a waterpark in Mesa, Ariz. That was her only crime, contrary to the letter writer’s claims of her breaking law after law. She certainly was not a threat to public safety.

As Catholics, we must live our faith. Where is the empathy, the compassion, the understanding? There must be a humane way to deal with the 11.3 million undocumented immigrants, with the goal of protecting America and keeping families together.

There is no question that our immigration laws need to be updated.

The teachings of Jesus give us much insight into how he would solve this situation. His solution would be compassionate and based upon the facts!

Perhaps we should focus on Jesus’ teachings instead of on scare tactics and misinformation designed to vilify those who may be different then ourselves.

- Jim Bixler | Plainfield

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