Though the politics of the USCCB are rather more complex than we are often led to believe, there is at least one issue on which the bishops’ conference is reliably (and disastrously) left-wing: immigration. Who can forget the image of El Paso’s Bishop Mark Seitz physically escorting a family of five Honduran nationals across the U.S. border and into his diocesan territory? The act was an explicit protest against the Trump administration, which had been working diligently to curtail endless waves of such illegal border crossings.
Of course former President Trump, for whom border security was a key campaign issue in 2016, gave the bishops plenty such opportunities to object to conservative immigration policy (all of which they took). Now, with President Biden and congressional Democrats poised to pursue some of the most ambitious immigration programs ever considered by either party, the bishops stand ready to toe the line.
But they ought to pause and reconsider. Though well-intentioned, the bishops’ unflinching pro-immigration stance may well do more harm than good. For illustrations of this fact, we need only survey the situation, both at home and abroad, after years of porous borders made all the more so by progressive politicians and their episcopal activist allies. Who exactly is better off in 2021? Surely some people have benefitted marginally, like those who have laid down roots in the United States and achieved some small degree of financial stability. But the hidden costs merit careful consideration. There remains the distinct possibility that Bishop Seitz’s shepherding across the Rio Grande is not the act of charity and justice he suspects it to be.