Some people, including high officials of the Catholic Church, speak of nascent children, poised to enter the world according to God's law, and immigrants, poised to enter the United States, in violation of the laws of our country, as if they represent the same moral challenge. But children are bound to honor their parents and, while still in the care of their parents, what does such honor mean without obedience? Since, during this time of their dependency, they must live obedient to the will of their parents, how do they differ from the limbs and organs of their parents' bodies, which each of us must care for as for our own lives?
For this reason, if for no other, a mother is bound to care for the child in her womb as for her own life and a father for the children he has begotten as for his own limbs. But if one casts himself into a raging fire, though his flesh is not responsible for the act, it will nonetheless burn accordingly. Actions have consequences, which it is for parents to consider, and sometimes for children to suffer, though they are not responsible for what has been done.
In the first instance, therefore, blame follows responsibility, and responsibility follows obligation. Between parents, and children in their dependency, responsibility and blame, therefore, rest with the parents, and God holds them accountable — because they can understand what the law requires. They can self-consciously foresee the penalty and so must bear responsibility the just consequences that follows from what they decide to do.
Thus, when the proper care of their children is still wholly the parents' responsibility, the whole burden for wrongdoing, therefore, falls upon parents. But, as this is true of parents toward their children, isn't it also true of all those who have it in their power to avoid some destructive consequence to others, by doing or refraining from some action that may bring harm, or else avoid it? For example, except when forced or otherwise overpowered, shouldn't someone capable of doing so carefully consider the consequences of sexual intercourse before engaging in it?
If they consciously decide to do so, how can it be just for them to impose the death penalty upon their offspring for being the consequence of what was entirely their own doing? If it's the wrong time or circumstance in which for a child to be borne, how does responsibility for that fall upon the child? Why should the child give up his or her life to repair its inconvenient appearance, especially when it was ecstatically invoked by the very person seeking to procure such deadly reparations?
If people expected to find among us the same life-threatening misery and trouble they left behind, they wouldn't want to come. They are drawn to us by the impression that conditions here are far better than those they will leave behind. But even if we assume that they are motivated to come by a desire to care for their loved ones, as well as themselves, does the care they mean to show to others make us any less responsible to care for them?
Illegal immigrants make a similarly inconvenient appearance upon the threshold of our country. But do they show up at our request? What act in which we take pleasure culminated in our affirmation of their coming? To the contrary, we have given notice in our laws of the terms and limitations we prudently impose on those who wish to come here. Now we are being told that conditions elsewhere impose an obligation on us to receive whoever wants to come here on terms that entirely ignore, not just our convenience, but our safety and well-being.
Just as a responsible person should consider the consequences of sexual intercourse, before it occurs, we are bound to consider the consequences of massive immigration, before they occur. Throughout the world, experience shows that blighted urban areas result from unchecked, massive immigration. Infrastructure crumbles, health and security services are overburdened and people suffer enormous harm, including violent death and personal degradation, in places where gangsterism rules, without regard for any sense of justice but the discipline of fear.
For us simply to follow this ill-starred example promises misery for us and for anyone we foolishly cooperate in luring to our country. Because of that foolishness, people looking for a place to live and work in safety, peacefully enjoying the fruits of their due diligence, will find instead a replica of the harrowing, deadly hopelessness they fled. The resulting disappointment will breed anger and resentment among those who come and those who were here to greet them. Nothing can come of it but evil conflict and the immiseration of all.
Open borders will turn every society into an open, bloody, pus-filled and painfully infected wound. There is neither love nor compassion in such careless stupidity. Throughout our history as a nation, the United States has welcomed and benefitted from immigration. But we learned quickly that care and goodwill are required to make sure it builds upon the good Providence of God, rather than squandering the opportunity He has bestowed upon us. We learned to conquer the prejudicial demons that breed injustice, oppression and hateful conflict among ourselves. But we also learned that it takes time to do so, and a carefully self-disciplined respect for the understanding of right, justice and decent liberty without which the raw materials of prosperity become tempting excuses for self-destruction.
People who preach open borders wish to deprive us of time and care and discipline. They seek to collapse rather than build upon our success as a people. They hope to dissolve our union and loot whatever power and wealth they can out of the ruins. There is no love in this agenda, no compassion, only a ruthless and destructive will to power. For the sake of the good hope we have represented to people in the past, and should still offer to others in the future, we must defeat their ambition. Pray God for the wisdom to keep our hearts open to His rule and the strength of character to keep our borders firmly under control. With His help, will we continue our nation's heritage of welcoming others to share in our practice of God-endowed liberty— so long as they prove willing, from the start, to respect the lawful terms of that endowment.