I join you in your empathy for refugees. Charity demands a positive response to their plight, and, as you said, it begins with the problems in their native lands, where they would certainly prefer to stay.
But there is a problem indeed! Whenever this “most powerful and wealthy country in the world” steps in to help in those places, we invariably end up seen as hated and reviled invaders, enriching corrupt leaders, and fighting endless wars that kill a lot of innocent people.
Red Bank, Tennessee
Your “From the Editor” column in the November/December 2018 issue of MARYKNOLL states that something is missing from the debate about migration and indicates that it is “why.” We feel that this is a false choice and does not bring into discussion many other issues that need to be addressed.
No country can exist without laws that are enforced, and all countries have the right to enforce their borders and establish requirements for immigration. No country could exist with unrestricted immigration. All of the immigrants from Central America forced their way into Mexico, where they were offered sanctuary and work, but wanted to go to the United States because of the better economy. It is not the responsibility of, nor is it feasible for, the United States to solve all of the world’s problems.
Our immigration laws are broken and make no sense. They need to be fixed, but politics will prevent this. The countries that created this problem need to fix their own countries, although we don’t expect to see that happen because of politics and greed.
All of these issues need to be addressed, not just the “why.” Before you reject this opinion as from someone who is a crazy conservative or “nationalist,” my wife and I have two adopted children, and one of them, our daughter, is an indigenous Aymara from Puno, Peru, whom we adopted in 1974 with help from a Maryknoll priest.
Henry and Jane Meisner
Editor’s note: Thank you for your response and opinions, which reflect the fears and concerns of many people in our country. Your points on the rights of nations to border controls and security are fundamental to any nation, as is your point that the United States cannot solve all the world’s problems. Likewise, we agree our immigration laws are broken, and politics impedes reform. Politics during both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama presidencies doomed efforts by both men to pass bipartisan immigration reform. The decades-long influx of undocumented immigrants, largely from Mexico, as well as the current flood of migrants from Central America, is a regional issue. Proclaiming the Gospel has prompted Maryknoll missioners serving in developing countries around the world over the last 50 years to question the “why” of systemic poverty and injustice and to look for the root causes of these maladies, and by addressing them, help the impoverished, marginalized and oppressed. Border security and immigration reform are important. It is also important to address the underlying causes of this migration if we are to promote the transformation of our world that the Gospel demands.
FUTURE AT STAKE
In the letter entitled “Case for Oil” in your November/December 2018 issue, the writer states, “Climate change is a natural occurrence.” She later adds, “It is possible to burn fossil fuel without polluting.” It appears that the writer discounts completely the negative impact of human actions on the climate and the urgent need to alter these for the good of the planet.
It is imperative that people concerned about the future of the planet inform themselves, using credible sources such as the October 2018 report from the United Nations about the disastrous impact that certain policies and actions are having on our environment and the earth’s climate. What is at stake is the future of the world and all of its inhabitants.
The picture for the story “The Greatest Story Ever Lived” on page 11 of the November/December 2018 magazine broke my heart. I did not focus on the picture of the people portraying Mary and Joseph but on the suffering of the donkey. The cruelty of a ring in its nose, pulling it along and the pain in its eyes are what I will remember. God created the animals, too, and they should be respected as such.
Mount Dora, Florida
I was disappointed by the dismissive attitude toward Father John Dear by the letter writer in the July/August 2018 issue of MARYKNOLL under the heading “Evil Breeds Violence,” and the writer’s cynical opinion about the pervasiveness of greed and violence in all segments of society. I do not believe that passive resistance as practiced by Father Dear, in the footsteps of such forerunners as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, and his willingness to get arrested in the process is “a form of violence itself.” On the contrary, it is the opposite of violence. Neither do I share the opinion that “corporations are people.” That mistaken belief was the basis for the flawed U.S. Supreme Court decision in the “Citizens United” case, which launched the unlimited flow of unaccountable money into political campaigns—to the detriment of American democracy.
Nicholas A. Stigliani