November, 2022 Monthly Reflection


Sally Duffy, SC

Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently began bussing immigrants to places such as New York City, Chicago, and Washington DC to draw attention to more traditional cities governed by Democrats. Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida financed the flying of immigrants, many from Communist Venezuela, from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

This action is appalling and inhumane. Sadly, the tactics are similar to human trafficking, as if the ends justify the means of dehumanizing people. Many traffickers use psychology to keep their victims “enslaved.” Dehumanized, and treated as commodities or political pawns, these are mostly families without passports, who speak a different language, and wear only the clothes on their backs. These migrants are fleeing violence and life-threatening situations. Homelessness, hunger, extreme poverty, and violence are some of the reasons to risk a life-threatening journey to the United States border. Given the conditions of needing to migrate, the luring and promising of food, jobs, housing, etc. can be convincing tactics to persuade someone to board a plane.

This luring, false promises, fraud, emotionally abusive mischaracterization of immigrants, and deception about opportunities are tactics traffickers use. Isolation and total dependency are also tactics of traffickers. There was no communication and care coordination regarding the arriving immigrants by either governor.

There are economic and other reasons for calling these actions unjust and appalling. This truly is a moral issue; this is about who we are as Christians. Because we are all made in the unique image and likeness of God, and we are all called to welcome the stranger. “When I was an immigrant, you welcomed me.”

Immigrants have inherent dignity, a dignity given to them by God our creator. They are also a result of the incarnation, the brothers and sisters of Jesus. Therefore, they have shared membership in our society and our Church because of their relationship with Jesus Christ. We are a people of faith. Believing in the Trinity, the image and likeness of the Trinity means that we are relational, a community, personal, mutual, inclusive, and we are an accompanying people.

The question, “Who is my neighbor?” is the question we are asked on a daily basis. Our neighbor is the person God puts in front of us. Our neighbor is the person in need.  Compassion and mercy call us to reach out to the immigrant and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Philippians also teaches us that we are citizens of a heavenly kingdom and that there are laws greater than the laws of any country. Yes, laws are important but laws can also break people rather than help people.

I have many people that say to me, “But Sister, they are illegal.” God does not make anyone illegal or illegitimate. I do not know about you, but sometimes I break the law by speeding. Sometimes I do not catch that green light that has turned yellow and then is all of a sudden red. Now, maybe that never happens to you. My reasons for speeding are not the same reasons that immigrants leave their homes. They are doing it to save their children. Migrants are doing it because God is calling them to live out their God-given dignity and shared membership. The law is breaking them. Moreover, why is the law breaking them? It is because our immigration system is broken, antiquated, and needs to be fixed.

United States Catholic Conference of Bishops Conference in their statements on immigration calls us to radical hospitality, to welcome, and to take risks out of love. In the words of Pope Francis, “If we want security, then let’s give security, if we want life, then let us give life, if we want opportunities, then let us provide opportunities.” Our American values call us to human rights, liberty, and the international common good. Jesus came to liberate the captives and set free the oppressed.

Let us pray for all our brothers and sisters who are in the shadows, silenced, and oppressed, who if they are sent back to their country of origin, would be sent back to be killed, raped, or to be forced to be part of gangs. Let us pray to avoid complicity in the tactics of human traffickers and the conditions of human trafficking. Let us pray for the grace to know the needs of our brothers and sisters and to take the crucified down from their crosses.