A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC IN DECLINE

preamble to the constitutionDo I hate the US Catholic Bishops? No. Do I think they are especially bad people? No.  Nevertheless, I think their stance on immigration is stupidly immoral. What is their stance? See for yourself: Catholic Church’s Position on Immigration Reform.

How did I come across the statement the US Catholic Bishops made on immigration. A commenter (here) cited them as some kind of authority and posted a link. I replied (here). Here is the gist of what I said.

The Democratic Party advocates open borders; it just calls it something else. You pointed to a naive front group like the US Catholic Bishops. At the same time those bishops are suppose to be fighting against the killing of babies, abortion, they are working to guarantee Democrat victories at the polls. I don’t have to mock the authority of those men. They do it themselves.

What the US Catholic Bishops want is effectively a second immigration amnesty. SECOND immigration amnesty. We need a second one because the last one worked so well? For whom?

We have always had controlled immigration into this country. Now it is far more difficult. What is different now? People can travel more easily, of course, but what is crucial is our health, education, and welfare programs. Need I say the obvious? Democrats are eager to use these programs to buy the votes of gullible immigrants. (from here)

The US Catholic Bishops have a similar stance with respect to refugees. That is, they disliked President Trump’s Executive Order halting immigration from seven nations that are currently ungovernable. The US Catholic Bishops’ statement on the executive order is available at this post: US Catholic Bishops Publicly Shame President Trump Today At Church by Silence of Mind.

Disgusted, I commented that too. Here is the gist of what I said in my first comment.

What do we call people who substitute weeping emotion for rational thought? Helen Thomas, a White House reporter, ironically invented the expression when she told us how much her heart bleeds.

It is an unfortunate fact of life, but lots of clerics are bleeding hearts. Europe is being overrun by people who do not have any use for democracy. Once their government collapses, where are the Europeans supposed to go? Here? Why would want more brainless fools? Don’t we have enough already?

Seriously, when you play chess, to win you have to think 4 – 5 moves ahead. If we accept millions of refugees, I agree that solves the immediate problem. We have already put who even knows how many such people on welfare, and we are still not bankrupt. Just the same, if we keep accepting refugees and putting them on welfare, the consequences are readily predictable. The refugees will vote Democrat. That’s why the Democrats want them.

In addition, because our taxes are already out of sight because of expensive heath, education, and welfare programs, absorbing endless refugees will just cause our economy will fold up and close shop. We will also become a multilingual nation, a tower of Babel (That’s why the European Union never had a chance.). The collapse will be complete when our government becomes tyrannical. That is the only way it will be able to maintain order. If you have any doubts about the tyrannical part, consider all the disruptions the Democrats are causing Trump. The jackasses are deliberately trying to make the country ungovernable, and they think that is a smart move. The Nazis did the same sort of thing to the Weimar Republic.
🙄 (from here)

The US Catholic Bishops are ignoring the teachings of the Bible.  What is our basic problem? We don’t love each other enough, right? Does putting on a big show that supposedly shows how much we care solve that problem? No. Does overloading our health, education, and welfare systems solve that problem? No. Does electing a bunch of Democrats solve that problem? No. Does creating a situation that is guaranteed to foment immense social strife solve that problem? No.

Here is the other comment I left behind.

Hypocrites, people who only pretend to be highly and even perfectly moral, cannot make a constitutional republic work. The reason is simple enough. They won’t truly abide by the constitution. They will only make the pretense that that is what they are doing. Meanwhile, they will accuse their opponents of every damned thing they can imagine.

Still, the proof of their duplicity comes from their own lips. It is they, to excuse their lies, who call the Constitution a “living document”. With those two words they render the Constitution meaningless, and they think themselves clever. Yet with those two words they also expose the proof of all their own lies. (from here)

The modern Democratic Party and many in the Republican Party engage in legalism.  Like the Pharisees of old, they supposedly uphold a complex legalistic code. This code they tell us is quite honorable, but unlike the nonsense the Pharisees taught their lie can be easily seen. Their code is living; it conforms to the politics of the moment.  As they say, IT IS ALIVE! It is in truth a dishonorable monstrosity.

Should we help refugees from war zones? Of course, we should, but destroying our own culture and almost deliberately sowing social strife into our society will not help anyone. It just spreads the problems the refugees are trying to flee. Don’t we already have enough trouble getting along with each other? Isn’t adding bunches and bunches of poorly educated refugees, many accustomed to violence, like adding fuel to a fire?

Here is the order President Donald Trump issued: EXECUTIVE ORDER: PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES. As you read it, consider what the Constitution says in Article I, Section 8. It explicitly authorizes Congress to control immigration policy. Effectively, the Federal Government (unless a Republican is in office) has plenary power over immigration policy.

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States; (from here)

Therefore, the only question before a court should be whether Congress has authorized the president to deny restrict travel to our nation from nations that are deemed threats. In fact, since the president’s primary job is commander-in-chief, doesn’t he have that responsibility already?

So what did the Ninth Circuit Court decide when the Trump administration appealed to it and asked it to stay District Court Judge James L. Robart’s order which had ruled Trump’s unconstitutional and effectively revoked it.  The Ninth Circuit Court let Robart’s order stand.  See Motion for Stay of an Order of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington James L. Robart, District Judge, Presiding. Why? Here are a couple of examples of the ridiculous logic.

  • Foreigners have 5th Amendment rights. Effectively, using such logic, foreigners have the right to enter the United States any time they want to do so. We may as well call them citizens.
  • Foreigners have 1st Amendment rights. Does that mean foreigners have freedom of assembly in the United States. Why don’t we just lay out the welcome mat for foreign armies? Congress has in the past favored immigration from certain nations over others. Why? We shared a similar cultural heritage, including religious heritage. Commonsense, now seemingly in short supply, dictates that immigration from such nations would be less disruptive.

So, do foreigners, foreigners who are not even in our country, have rights under our Constitution? Well, the Framers made it explicitly clear whose rights they wrote OUR Constitution to protect.  See the Preamble at the beginning of this post.

This is not just bad law. It is insane. Those judges need to be removed from the bench. This decision is legal malpractice. If the judges on the Supreme Court don’t have enough good sense to overturn such blatant BS, God help us.  Hopefully, our new Attorney General will take the case over and devise a successful strategy.

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57 thoughts on “A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC IN DECLINE

  1. There is no logic to Progressivism except the ruthless logic of lawlessness and tyranny.

    And I am absolutely stunned at the Progressive stance taken by the Catholic Church on this issue.

    The Church is normally very scrupulous about being law abiding.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I don’t know what drives the bishops. What is messing up most of the folks in this nation is the lack of a good Christian education.

      It amazes me that the bishops don’t understand the Bible well enough to understand the need for borders.

      There is an old saying about fences. “Good fences make good boundaries.” I suppose the bishops just see the suffering of the refugees and the illegal immigrants (not necessarily a difference), and like good socialists they feel obliged to share other people’s lands and belongings.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Stephen

        “Well, I don’t know what drives the bishops.” See Matthew 25:35-40, CCC 2241

        “What is messing up most of the folks in this nation is the lack of a good Christian education.” I agree but come to a radically different conclusions.

        “It amazes me that the bishops don’t understand the Bible well enough to understand the need for borders.” Strawman.

        “Enforcement: The U.S. Catholic Bishops accept the legitimate role of the U.S. government in intercepting unauthorized migrants who attempt to travel to the United States. The Bishops also believe that by increasing lawful means for migrants to enter, live, and work in the United States, law enforcement will be better able to focus upon those who truly threaten public safety: drug and human traffickers, smugglers, and would‐be terrorists. Any enforcement measures must be targeted, proportional, and humane.”

        Unlike you, they don’t see material things as an absolute right because how can you when you accept the principle that it is God who bestows material goods. This Randian Neo-Palegianism that tries to take credit for Divine Providence is not Christianity. In fact, I would argue it is anti-Christ. It supplants the agency of God in human industry with the agency of men. You argue that you have an absolute right to property because you worked hard for it, but righteous men like Job had no such contentions.

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    2. Stephen

      Well then you should take a second look at your standard issue Catechism of the Catholic Church and your Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. That is, if you have either. The logic is this: Summum ius; summa iniuria or supreme justice is supreme injury. The Bard simplifies the logic even further: “The measure of mercy is not strained.”

      First CCC 2241 states: “The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.” The Church argues from the moral imperatives of Matthew 25:35-40, larger nations are obliged to welcome foreigners and that these foreigners have a NATURAL right to immigrate to a place where they can build greater security in life. According to CCC 1930, this right is inalienable and inviolable coming from the imprint of Divinity that every human person has by their nature.

      If these principles are strange to you, I suggest you have a serious discussion with your priest.

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  2. I was listening to a Mexican deacon, now stationed here in my town, caterwaul about all the gymnastics he had to go through to get his work visa to enter and stay in the United States.

    I suggested that the Catholic Church in Mexico just hire a good coyote and that would solve all his problems.

    The raw hypocrisy of the Church on this issue is frightening!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stephen

      Your derision for the clergy is not admirable except to heretics and atheists.

      “See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.” Ignatius of Antioch

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  3. I hear you, Tom. I agree with you, too.

    Last night I watched a video of Israel taking in some 8000 Nigerian Jewish refugees and integrating them into the country. It was really fascinating because they have no money, no employment skills, different race, different culture, language, but what makes it all work, what makes it possible is that they are Jews. There’s a foundation and a commonality there, shared values, shared history, and shared belief systems. They are in Israel as Jews, to assimilate into Israel as Israeli Jews, as refugees returning to their homeland.

    Contrast that to the attitude many in the US have, where we bring in Muslim refugees for example and than alter our own culture to accommodate them. Or Hispanic refugees and now everything must be written in Spanish too,so they don’t even have to give up their language. Israel is different in the sense that they protect their culture,their faith,their country, understanding that it is those very things that make them a country refugees are actually seeking to return to. So there is a Jewish national identity, even within the Nigerians.

    That’s what’s really lacking in the US, we pretend as if we don’t have a national identity or as if our own national identity is evil.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Baseball,apple pie,and chevrolet. 🙂

        It’s a really good question, one I’ve tried to pin down with some concrete details, but I am like a fish in water. I am clearly immersed in American culture and identity, I see evidence of it all around, but I’m so used to it, it is hard to describe. It cuts across race and culture and has some genuine shared values, values that are not universal.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. @insanitybytes22

          If we have no national identity, then the multiculturalists are “right” by default. All beliefs are at least as valid as our own because we have none. Yet, hypocritically multiculturalists think their beliefs are the most valid.

          They live a fantasy. They scream Jesus would do this or that yet we have no national identity. Our belief in Jesus has nothing to do with our culture? With twisted logic they would destroy our society, and they justify that in the name of Jesus? They would condemn those who oppose them as xenophobic? Who is scared of foreigners? It is people who will not see the obvious that are most frightening. We can deal with a terrorist. It the fool who insists he is on our side and wants to disarm us who truly is frightening. Without understanding what he is doing, he betrays us and delivers us for destruction.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Well, when they’re marching in our streets chanting “death to America” and “down with democracy,” we can start to get a feel for where their loyalties lay.

          Regardless however, we have a right, indeed, a responsibility to protect and look after our own first. It is immoral to be refusing to stand up for our own national identity and refusing to look after our own interests, all under the guise of false humility and virtue signaling.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Stephen

          “Well, when they’re marching in our streets chanting “death to America” Who is they?

          “Regardless however, we have a right, indeed, a responsibility to protect and look after our own first.” I agree to all but the addition of “first.” Even the Gentiles do that.

          “It is immoral to be refusing to stand up for our own national identity and refusing to look after our own interests, all under the guise of false humility and virtue signaling.” But as I pointed out before, if you admit there is no precise definition, how do we know they are a threat to that definition? The very standard by which you are judging their conduct, you admit, is unclear. So how can any subsequent judgments be just?

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        4. Stephen

          Also, something occurred to me: does the Constitution grant rights or does it protect existing ones? If it is the latter, where do these rights come from?

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        5. Stephen

          Oh most certainly. France, for example, has several sub-cultures connected to it, often with their own languages, art, cuisine, and so on. The Bretons, Alsatians, Occitans, and Basque all have distinct cultures, but there is an equally distinct supra-culture above them i.e. French. Their education, legal philosophy, and others all stem from various things. Even their Onion Soup has a long and established tradition with variations from different regions, yet it is the same soup.

          The same is true in Italy where the various divisions were even more fractured than France and had their own individual identities for a long time. But pasta in Venice is much the same as it is in Rome. Everyone take a break at 3 and strikes are common. Perugians and Tuscans may have some cultural differences, they are, at the heart, wholly Italian.

          What America has is an Empire problem that is being addressed too much like a National problem. What I mean is that the differences we have in our country are not differences of Perugian and Tuscan, Basque and Breton, but Hungarian and Austrian, Croatians and Romanians. We could learn a considerable deal from Austro-Hungary.

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        6. Stephen

          On the contrary, we see all the time the conflicts between national identities in America. Rust belt, Bible belt, New Englanders, Southerns, Deep Southers, Boarder States, West Coast. All these groupings have varying beliefs and conceptions of national identity that do not correspond to distinctions of Tuscan and Perugian. The grievances go much deeper and are more comparable to conflicts between German nationalists and Slavic nationalists in the Austro-Hungarian Empire wherein the competing parties were competing not only to carve out an independent national identity, but to make their identity the dominate, national one for all of Austro-Hungary. The conflict of New England and the South, for example, has its origins in the Civil War and we STILL haven’t honestly addressed those issues. The scions of those old battle lines are redrawn on more ideological than geographic lines now, but the issues and the geography remain largely the same. We can see further conflicts in East verses West coast. The states that began as territories have entirely different views of federalism than those that began as colonies, thereby shaping how people there view the role of the federal government. Even in New England, people are more friendly to the idea of local autonomy than those in west coast states since the west coast states owe their statehood to the federal government whereas the colonial states had constitutions prior to the Constitution.

          These differences play out in much more dramatic ways than, say, the conflicts between “Deep France” and Parisians. In short, I have thought about this a great deal.

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  4. The Churches position is much aligned with Thomas Aquinas its Theological Doctor. He states that nation with prosperity have an obligation to help others fleeing evil. However, those people have to respect and adapt to the culture and laws of said nation. Furthermore, nations do have a right to their sovereignty. The problem is that Just like our current political machine politico do not represent the whole position of the Church.

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    1. @Philip Augustine

      I do not know the whole position of the Catholic Church. I also do not have any interest in getting into a fight with the US Catholic Bishops. The problem with this issue is that generosity to the needy is being used as an excuse to destroy our country.

      Should we help refugees? Of course, but a large percentage of the world’s population is much poorer than our country, and the vast majority of those people live under authoritarian regimes. We are already approaching the tipping point. Too many people live off the government already, and those vote accordingly. Even if we only take small percentage of the world’s poor into the United States, we will permanently destroy our constitutional republic. If may already be too late.

      Does government even have a role? Yes, but the policies of the last administration were horrific. President Barack Obama’s foreign policy was made out of the same cloth as nightmares and horror movies. Instead of encouraging regional stability in the Middle East, he incited destructive revolutions. Hopefully, President Trump will calm things down, create safe zones for the refugees and help people rebuild what has been so needlessly destroyed.

      Hopefully, we each can do what we should be doing, participating in or contributing to private charities that bring relief to the world’s needy.

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      1. Stephen

        “I do not know the whole position of the Catholic Church.” Then why did you make a judgment on it?

        “Even if we only take small percentage of the world’s poor into the United States, we will permanently destroy our constitutional republic.” That is a non sequitur.

        “Hopefully, President Trump will calm things down, create safe zones for the refugees and help people rebuild what has been so needlessly destroyed.” He has not. He has merely fueled already tenuous relations with Iraq and is on the brink of losing them as an ally forever, thereby invalidating and spitting on the sacrifices we made there to make Iraq free. I hope you like Iran, because that is what Iraq will look like if Trump keeps doing what he is doing.

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  5. Excellent Tom–and I never knew that it was Helen Thomas who coined that little ditty….who knew 🙂 She was that reporter who always aggravated me
    I heard a commentary this evening offered by a law professor that it is apparent that the 9th circuit is still reeling from Trump’s election…pure and simple….

    One of the key worries, and you express this Tom, is how does a nation care for massive numbers of people who suddenly show up rather unexpectedly…people who have no money to speak of, no support, many without extended education or skills, many without the needed language skills, no housing, no jobs, medical needs….on and on it goes—who pays for this? The already struggling middle class?
    No one ever thinks about the aftermath…
    A few churches sponsor a few families, but there are too many. Mayors talk of allowing those coming to their cities to sleep in their offices—do we then lose our common sense, our practicality…
    I wish I knew the answer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Julie (aka Cookie)

      What about your question? The best answer I have is what I gave Philip Augustine. Charity is a heart problem. If we don’t have the heart for it, we won’t do it right. Because we don’t have the heart for it, we are not doing it right now. We just have everyone trying to make everyone else charitable.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Tom. I used this same reply in one of your posts. I believe it just as applicable to this post.

    In an ideal world, migration should be driven by choice, not necessity.

    In reading your suggested link, the above statement in my opinion, the core root problem of immigration. While I do not basically disagree with the report, I commend the Bishops for standing up for the vows they took to serve God.

    However, not everyone in our country and the world took the same vows, including namely, to serve the poor, and live in poverty, and chastity.
    So, what is the solution?

    In my opinion, we need to begin to enforce and welcome only those who migrate to the USA by choice, not necessity. Why? Because a very large majority of USA if far from having the morals, or inclination, to commit to taking the same vows as the being an ideal country as the devout Bishops. They are living examples of how an ideal world could be, but unfortunately is not, because the USA is frankly not as moral as the Bishops standards.

    Why? Frankly, to begin with, because the USA does not teach in public schools, the same morality standards as do Catholic or other religious denomination schools. Why? Because most Americans cannot afford to pay both taxes and high tuition, the morals and all the problems such as drugs, crime, and anarchy will only continue to worsen in the USA.

    For example, as religious schooling decreases in number, there are less students being influenced to hear the call to take the same vows as the Bishops.
    Are religious schools using propaganda to influence students to take moral religious vows begs the next question? Are secular public schools using propaganda to influence students to live morally?

    Between the two types of propaganda, which propaganda will lead more effectively to an ideal country or world?

    What is an ideal world beginning you might wonder?

    In my opinion, we should start with teaching students the Ten Commandments, especially “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” Why that One. Because not teaching that it is immoral to kill will never lead any country to living in an ideal world.

    As for the Bishops advice, I pray they will begin to focus on uniting all religions to agree to end using religious teaching, or propaganda, to influence terrorists to kill. The sooner, all religious leader agree, the sooner the possibility of world may focus on other root causes that will lead closer to ever begin to achieve an ideal world.

    For example, if interested read this post link.

    https://rudymartinka.com/2017/01/30/king-solomon-simple-solution-to-end-terrorism/

    Regards an goodwill blogging. .

    http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/immigration/churchteachingonimmigrationreform.cfm

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Frankly, I doubt the morality of those bishops is at high a level as you think. That’s not because I think myself wiser. It just that I don’t believe clothes make the man.

      Anyway, the position of the US Catholic Bishops on immigration is foolish. Even if the American people had the moral character you think those bishops have, the whole thing would eventually flop. There is a practical limit to how many people we can put on welfare, and it is damnably difficult to get people off.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I believe many of the goals of clergy are to lead us mere mortals to what could be a perfect world if we all chose to emulate Christ and live by His teachings.

        As for immigrants, they are not perfect when they break our laws to enter illegally. In a perfect world, instead of abandoning their nations, they would sacrifice to correct the reasons why they feel they must leave.

        For example, just imagine all the millions of Syrians instead of leaving Syria, they would have all marched to the Palace to overthrow the Assad regime. Or in Mexico, and South America, they should do the same to overthrow the drug cartels and the powerful landowners.

        Because we allowed our politicians to ignore immigration laws by not enforcing our laws, we as a nation paved the way for immigrants to choose to enter the USA illegally rather than fix the reasons why they leave.

        As for all clergy, in my opinion, the clergy may not all turn out to be perfect, but when they heard the call, they chose to make a sacrifice by vowing to live in poverty, chastity, and obedience to serve Christ and serve the poor.

        While some clergy succeed, some fail, some abandon their vows, and some become saints.

        I personally admire the clergy for their example and sacrifice when they answer the call of Christ and responded to serve the Spiritual needs and to further the faith and teach the word of Christ.

        If you read the Bishop’s statements, they state it is better the immigrants stay in their own countries and be aided economically by other countries. The USA is by far the most giving of aid in all the nations.

        Perhaps that may be the Lords reason for allowing the USA to have become so prosperous?

        The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. (Proverb 16:9)

        Regards and goodwill blogging.

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      2. Stephen

        “Anyway, the position of the US Catholic Bishops on immigration is foolish.” Oh?

        “Enforcement: The U.S. Catholic Bishops accept the legitimate role of the U.S. government in intercepting unauthorized migrants who attempt to travel to the United States. The Bishops also believe that by increasing lawful means for migrants to enter, live, and work in the United States, law enforcement will be better able to focus upon those who truly threaten public safety: drug and human traffickers, smugglers, and would‐be terrorists. Any enforcement measures must be targeted, proportional, and humane.”

        So having policies that improve legal immigration and enforcement that protects the public from real dangers rather than having to focus on people just trying to build a better life as Americans is a bad idea?

        “Addressing Root Causes: Congress should examine the root causes of migration, such as under‐development and poverty in sending countries, and seek long‐term solutions. The antidote to the problem of illegal immigration is sustainable economic development in sending countries. In an ideal world, migration should be driven by choice, not necessity.”

        So you don’t think that trying to address the issues where they are so that no believes they have to migrate in order to survive is a good idea?

        “Restoration of Due Process Rights: Due process rights taken away by the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) should be restored. For example, the three and ten year bars to reentry should be eliminated.”

        So you think that having a fair and impartial system should be reserved only for citizens? No one else deserves justice?

        “Family‐based Immigration Reform: It currently takes years for family members to be reunited through the family‐based legal immigration system. This leads to family breakdown and, in some cases, illegal immigration. Changes in family‐based immigration should be made to increase the number of family visas available and reduce family reunification waiting times.”

        Reforming our family immigration policy so that it is easier for families trying to reunite rather than break the law is bad?

        “Future Worker Program: A worker program to permit foreign‐born workers to enter the country safely and legally would help reduce illegal immigration and the loss of life in the American desert. Any program should include workplace protections, living wage levels, safeguards against the displacement of U.S. workers, and family unity.”

        So you think the exploitation of the visa system should continue?

        “Earned Legalization: An earned legalization program would allow foreign nationals of good moral character who are living in the United States to apply to adjust their status to obtain lawful permanent residence. Such a program would create an eventual path to citizenship, requiring applicants to complete and pass background checks, pay a fine, and establish eligibility for resident status to participate in the program. Such a program would help stabilize the workforce, promote family unity, and bring a large population “out of the shadows,” as members of their communities.”

        You cannot honestly say that this is unreasonable. Good people who want to be Americans, integrate in our society, and have been living here for many years should just be sent back?

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  7. Tony

    If you do a little research, I think that you will find that the position of the US Catholic Bishops on migration issues, particularly with regard to desperate refugees, agrees completely with the opinion of the Pope Francis and the entire world wide Catholic Church. It is also the opinion of many, if not most, of the major Christian denominations in the US. Given what Jesus actually said about how our actions should be lovingly guided toward the stranger and given that Jesus sacrificed for all men and women, you and your readers would be well advised to considered carefully our Christian responsibilities to aid those fleeing suffering and death as is set out by the scriptural wisdom of the Catholic Church and by so many other major Christian denominations.

    Tom, you have found yourself defending material goods at the expense of the moral goods that Jesus told us we should regard as far more valuable. Your effort here to reframe the debate actually adds nothing to compensate for that basic moral and Christian flaw in your position, and it does nothing to diminish the moral highground of the Catholic Bishops or those who have asserted in previous comments here the more Christian consensus position. There is no new wisdom here, just more of the same sad xenophobic refrain that denies the very universality of the application of the Word of God and His sacrifice for all peoples of all times, places, languages and races.

    We are at a reoccurring crossroads in this country where we can choose to open ourselves up to Jesus and to love and compassion, or we can wall ourselves in with very human fear and hatred. Nothing you have written here again makes that choice less starkly obvious.

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    1. @Tony

      1. I think the pope is wrong. I have explained. You have not addressed any the issues I have with illegal immigration or with refugees.
      2. If being in the majority is the only thing which matters (it isn’t), then I am good. The majority of Americans agrees with me. Since the majority of Americans, particularly Conservatives, are Christian, I think you are confusing the position of Liberal members of the clergy with the position of the church. Christians, not the clergy, make up the church.
      3. You have repeated some version of the same refrain over and over again.

      Given what Jesus actually said about how our actions should be lovingly guided toward the stranger and given that Jesus sacrificed for all men and women, you and your readers would be well advised to considered carefully our Christian responsibilities to aid those fleeing suffering and death as is set out by the scriptural wisdom of the Catholic Church and by so many other major Christian denominations.

      The issue is not whether we should help the needy. The issue is how. What you have insisted upon is that it has to be your way or it is unChristian. To that I have one word, nonsense!
      4. Thank you for once again calling me a name.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Tony

    “1. I think the pope is wrong. I have explained. You have not addressed any the issues I have with illegal immigration or with refugees.”

    Actually, I have, as have others including the US Catholic Bishops. There is nothing new here.

    “If being in the majority is the only thing which matters (it isn’t), then I am good. The majority of Americans agrees with me. Since the majority of Americans, particularly Conservatives, are Christian, I think you are confusing the position of Liberal members of the clergy with the position of the church. Christians, not the clergy, make up the church.”

    I’m not sure I agree that you speak for the majority of anything, but as you say, even if you did, there is nothing particularly Christian about being part of the biggest mob. The Body of Christ represented by the Church does not belong to its members – it belongs to Christ. As to what that means, please forgive me, but I think that I will trust the authorities of the Church (hardly a liberal batch despite your penchant for mislabeling everyone) over your authority or the authority of a mob governed only by fear and hatred.

    “The issue is not whether we should help the needy. The issue is how. What you have insisted upon is that it has to be your way or it is unChristian. To that I have one word, nonsense!”

    No, actually that has never been the issue here. The issue is very basic: How do we as Christians rank order in priority various, often complex and competing, requirements for moral and material goods? Jesus said to love God and love each other. “America First”? No, it is “God First” and your fellow humans second.

    No one, not me and not the Church authorities, are claiming that there are not practical considerations in prioritizing our requirmenrs for moral and material goods. If one has to chose between the starvation of your own family or your own neighbor close at hand verses the starvation of someone that you don’t know on the other side of the planet, then of course most of us will save and protect our own first. However, when you and your family and your community and your nation are reasonably safe and materially secure, and someone else is fleeing to us from the suffering of corruption, war and famine, the higher moral good is obviously to take them in. For the follower of Jesus to prioritize competing goods differently is what seems to be “nonsense”, and you have yet to say anything here to justify it otherwise.

    “4. Thank you for once again calling me a name.”

    ??? Are you referring to this:

    “There is no new wisdom here, just more of the same sad xenophobic refrain that denies the very universality of the application of the Word of God and His sacrifice for all peoples of all times, places, languages and races.”

    I don’t know whether you are a xenophobe. It’s not for me to judge. But are you seriously denying that your argument is not basically xenophobic? Even the slogan “America First” echoes from our xenophobic past when Lindbergh started an isolationist movement to try to keep American from intervening on behalf of England and against Hitler during WWII. Look how that turned out. Any way, for someone who is constantly categorizing his opponents with mislabels and ad hominems, you should know the difference between calling someone a name and labeling his obvious position.

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    1. @Tony

      1. First you claim to be part of the biggest mob, as it it matters, then when I point out your mob is not the biggest mob it does not matter? Could you make up your mind?

      I have not cited some authority, other than scripture, as the basis for my opinions. Frankly, I don’t care enough about what the pope thinks to allow him to influence my opinion. The church’s track record in politics is not that good. Pope John Paul was one of the few I respected.

      I am also on the Protestant side of the Reformation. Nevertheless, I don’t make a practice of denigrating Catholicism. When others don’t believe at all, why complain about people who do believe Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for our sins and rose from the dead. I just don’t want to be a Catholic. I am more comfortable in another church.

      What about your definition of the issue? Since you are not considering anything I have already said, what is the point of saying more to you? All you do is say Jesus this and Jesus that. It is your way or Jesus would not approve. And how are we suppose to know that? You point to clergy dressed in funny robes who say the same thing the same way. Will those finely dressed “holy men” be anywhere to be found when there shortsighted foolishness contributes to a societal wreck? No.

      4. Yes. That is it. Finely dressed ad hominems and nothing more.

      You want to point to examples where I have done the same? Go ahead, but what I done is to pointed to specific actions and called those actions what they just happen to be.

      Have I spoken of stealing? Have you inferred a thief? Then argue with what I have called stealing. Show it is not so.

      Like

      1. Tony

        You seem a little frustrated. Remember Tom, you are not arguing with little old me here about what Jesus would or would not approve of. No, you have taken it upon yourself to argue against basic Church doctrine, and not just Catholic Church doctrine, but the public doctrine of most major Christian denominations in this country and around the world. I sympathize that you feel outmatched, but it would seem to be misdirected for you to feel that you are somehow being victimized by me.

        This is also not the Reformation Wars and you are not Martin Luther rebelling against church corruption here. In fact, if you research it, I think that you will find that the migration policy position of the Lutheran Church’s ecclesiastics in America is fairly identical to the Catholic Church’s.

        “Funny robes”? I can only hope that you are trying to be humorous here because this kind of sounds like you actually are trying to “denigrate” things that our parents revered. You are right to say that this is not a Catholic verses Protestant issue so then why make out like it is? (I confess that I am intellectually curious to know how you ended up on “the Protestant side of the Reformation”. There are many Protestant sides you know. However, because the Catholic and major Protestant church doctrines are similar in regard to migration issues, that curiosity might be best left for another friendly discussion).

        I would, however, like to address your comments above with regard to the legal issues with Trump’s EO. I still think that the EO is morally flawed, but the only reason why that Trump debacle has not as yet withstood judicial scrutiny is because of his pure incompetence at every phase of its crafting, implementation and court defense.

        As I wrote before, the EO was a solution to no known problem, and its only practical purpose was always just to throw a bone at Trump’s base. Even his new Homeland Security Secretary has said its roll out was done badly. He could have survived the legal challenge in spite of the EO’s chaotic stupidity had his lawyers come to court with even the slightest fig leaf of evidence that the EO was necessary for security. Instead, the administration’s only argument was that the President’s actions are not even reviewable by the Courts – or in other words, that the President is above the Constitution and the law. Telling a court that, coupled with Trump’s tweeting that the US Distict Court presider is a “so-called judge” was like throwing up a red flag in front a bull.

        One would almost think that Trump and his Justice Department representatives wanted to lose this case – I wonder why. It still would take very little effort for Trump’s EO to prevail before the District Court. But does he really want wallow even more in the mess he made of this? My guess is that they will rewrite the thing a little better and scapegoat the courts for how badly the first one went – that lie will probably keep his loyal supporters fired up with misguided indignation. In any event, your blaming the courts for the Trump administration’s ineptitude is totally unfounded.

        Like

        1. @Tony

          I am not frustrated; I am annoyed. Instead of talking about the actual issues, you are just trying to guilt me into same foolishness you WANT to believe.

          You speak of basic church doctrine. Based upon what? Whenever you quote scripture it blows up in your face. So what do you do? You quote experts who say Jesus would do this or that with nothing more to go on than their own mystical authority. Have you ever seriously investigated the matter? No. I could point to scripture and say here is why I don’t take the bishops seriously, but it is a side argument. I have no interest in undermining the Catholic Church. Generally, the institution does more good than harm. When there are more pressing concerns, I don’t generally feel obliged to tell other people how to be Christians. I am content with my example.

          Unfortunately, YOU are making the Catholic Church the issue. So I have pointed to why I think the bishops are wrong and just plain gullible. Going further in that direction I will not go. It is pointless. So if you want to proudly preen because you think highfalutin clergy agree with you I don’t care. I prefer to based my position upon reasoned arguments, arguments which you are unwilling to touch with a ten-foot pole.

          Look at how you talk about Trump’s EO. You make wild assertions with no specifics. The silliest thing you said is the only thing that comes close to being specific. “The EO was a solution to no known problem.” At best, Robart is ignorant. At worst, he is a liar. We have had convicted of terrorist activity from the seven countries that were affected by order.

          Look at the list of countries affected by the order. They are in turmoil. No terrorists in them? Are you serious? Do you really think we have large numbers of people coming from the countries affected by the order who have legitimate business (that’s business, not being a refugee) in the United States? Yet the news media, who hates anyone who is not a Democrat, has tried to turn Trump’s EO into some kind of crisis. They managed to find some “victims” who were detained for a little while. The only crisis is some people are trying to make it impossible to governed this country unless they are in charge of it.

          You know better I do that what Judge Robart did was wrong. You know better I do that the circuit court should have ruled for the Trump administration. Yet you would rather win than be right, and that’s sick. And that’s why you have talked around the actual issues.

          Like

  9. Tom,

    Maybe I am reading and interpreting this way wrong but the main argument against “Immigration Reform” seems to be that Jesus would be against it, since He taught that we should help the poor and needy.

    When we minister to the poor and needy we are ministering to Christ, Matthew 25:35–40, for they will always be with us, Matthew 26:11. (Note here how Jesus told his disciples it was appropriate to forgo helping the poor). The main point is, that it is BELIEVERS and the CHURCH that God (The Bible) calls to help the poor and needy, not governments.

    God does however call believers to be obedient to those who govern them. Romans 13:1-2 (AMP) “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God [granted by His permission and sanction], and those which exist have been put in place by God. 2 Therefore whoever [a]resists [governmental] authority resists the ordinance of God. And those who have resisted it will bring judgment (civil penalty) on themselves.”
    1 Peter 2:13-14 (KJV) Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

    The argument can never be, if we call ourselves a Christian, do we like this or not; it must be what does the Bible say. In this case it seems pretty clear to me, my duty is to help the poor and needy to the best of my ability. My duty is to support the duly elected President of the United States of America (as long as his actions do not violate God’s Word). My duty is to pray for ALL our elected officials at all levels of government. The longer we forget this that faster we are “A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC IN DECLINE”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @directorfsm

      Thank you for your comment. Appreciate the scripture lesson.

      I warn you that Stephen is dogged. Rather than respond to every comment he makes, I have come to the conclusion it is to decide what needs to be said, say it as clearly as I can, and let it stand.

      Like

  10. Stephen

    How I know you did not actually read/understand the USCCB’s position:

    “The Catholic Catechism instructs the faithful that good government has two duties, both of which must be carried out and neither of which can be ignored. The first duty is to welcome the foreigner out of charity and respect for the human person. Persons have the right to immigrate and thus government must accommodate this right to the greatest extent possible, especially financially blessed nations: “The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.” Catholic Catechism, 2241.

    The second duty is to secure one’s border and enforce the law for the sake of the common good. Sovereign nations have the right to enforce their laws and all persons must respect the legitimate exercise of this right: “Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.” Catholic Catechism, 2241.”

    This is hardly the Democrat position. It certainly is not the Republican position, but it is certainly not the Democrat position. To call this position progressive is like saying Ayn Rand was the greatest Christian theologian of the modern age.

    Like

  11. Stephen

    “Effectively, using such logic, foreigners have the right to enter the United States any time they want to do so.” No, it means that if we detain them, they have the right to be held on actual charges. You know, basic human rights and all that.

    ” Does that mean foreigners have freedom of assembly in the United States.” Seeing as most of the Founders believed freedom of speech to be a natural human right, it is fully in keeping with our national heritage.

    “Why don’t we just lay out the welcome mat for foreign armies?” This makes no sense.

    “Congress has in the past favored immigration from certain nations over others. Why?” Short answer is racism and religious bigotry. The WASPs that were in power didn’t think the Irish were fully white and that Jews were icky.

    “We shared a similar cultural heritage, including religious heritage.” Make America White, Anglo-Saxon, and Protestant again. I was actually shocked to find you writing this post; I thought I had stumbled on some Roundhead, No-Nothing page. Please give us advance notice when you all decide to burn down convents and lynch priests again.

    “Commonsense, now seemingly in short supply, dictates that immigration from such nations would be less disruptive.”

    Yes, less disruptive to Trump’s reelection campaign.

    Like

  12. Tony

    Here are a few examples quoted in a CNN article of religious congregations that have voiced disagreement with Trump’s EO:

    “Even Trump’s childhood church has condemned the executive order.
    The Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, the top official in the Presbyterian Church (USA), called Trump’s order ‘a miscarriage of justice.’
    ‘I urge the president and his administration to reverse this very harmful decision regarding refugees,’ Nelson said. ‘Presbyterians are not afraid of this so-called terror threat. We are not afraid because we profess a faith in Jesus, who entered the world a refugee.'”

    “The Rev. Jim Winkler, President and General Secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, a partnership of some 38 U.S. churches and denominations, drew on the example of Christianity’s Holy Family.
    ‘By effectively preventing the entrance of refugees into this country, President Trump is establishing a policy that would have kept Joseph, Mary and Jesus from entering our nation,’ Winkler said.”

    “On Monday, meanwhile, Russell Moore, the top ethics and public policy official in the Southern Baptist Church, which has some 17 million members, released a letter that he will send to Trump and Vice President Michael Pence.
    Moore acknowledged concerns about admitting immigrants from trouble spots in the Middle East and Africa but said refugees are already stringently vetted and that his church — and the country — have long traditions of ‘welcoming the stranger.’

    ‘As a nation, we must seek to resolve the tension created by these two values — compassion for the sojourner and the security of our citizens — in a way that upholds both values,’ Moore said.”

    The article also acknowledges some support of Trump’s EO from pastors of some congregations. Considering the support that Trump had from evangelical Christians and Catholics who voted overwhelmingly in support of Trump during the election, the CNN article also recognizes that there may be a split between pulpit and pew on this issue. However, recent poll evidence sited is confusing as to whether or not these same groups who voted for Trump on some issues (such as abortion and gay marriage) may now be disagreeing with Trump on migration issues in general, or as to this specific EO. Even if one, for the sake of argument, allows that there may be a split between shepard and flock on refugee migration, there is no doubt that the more conservative establishment denominations’ scriptural interpretation is toward traditional Christian acceptance, while the membership view appears more reactionary. However, without better evidence of this split, I would not concede it actually exists, particularly within the Catholic, Episcopalian, Presbyterian or Lutheran denominations. And as noted before, perhaps because of their past history of discrimination, the usually diverse Jewish groups seem to be fairly unanimous in their acceptance of refugees and in opposing any migration discrimination which is even indirectly based upon ethnicity, race or religion.

    Here is a link to the whole article:

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/30/politics/trump-immigration-religion/

    Like

  13. Tony

    “I am not frustrated; I am annoyed. Instead of talking about the actual issues, you are just trying to guilt me into same foolishness you WANT to believe.

    You speak of basic church doctrine. Based upon what? Whenever you quote scripture it blows up in your face. So what do you do? You quote experts who say Jesus would do this or that with nothing more to go on than their own mystical authority. Have you ever seriously investigated the matter? No. I could point to scripture and say here is why I don’t take the bishops seriously, but it is a side argument. I have no interest in undermining the Catholic Church. Generally, the institution does more good than harm. When there are more pressing concerns, I don’t generally feel obliged to tell other people how to be Christians. I am content with my example.”

    Tom, isn’t one of the main purposes of your blog here to convince other people and to have discussions as to how your Christian faith informs you political beliefs? I used to be sceptical about that concept, but I admit that you have convinced me otherwise. I’m not trying to “guilt” you into anything. I’m just happily participating in the friendly Christian debate here just the same as you.

    When you study the Bible, don’t you rely on various authorities for interpretation? Don’t you look at several translations and then read the interpretations of scholars who have studied and prayed over the best exegesis of a given passage? Don’t you rely on a priest or pastor who has studied Christian philosophy and theology for how a given passage falls into an overall theological theme. Finally don’t you take that theological theme and apply it to how you should attempt at living a Christian life and how you should apply those beliefs to your politics?

    You don’t trust my authority on scripture, but unlike you, I am not even asking you to. I’m just saying that your scriptural interpretation on this issue disagrees with the authority of my church and of many other Christian churches. I have pointed out that scriptural authority and so have you, but you have not as yet to presented an authoritative argument that (forgive the pun) trumps theirs.

    When you essentially are preaching here that my politics is not Christian and that yours is, it seems to me that you are telling us how to be a Christian. I’ve got no problem with that. I and my church (whose policy I have actually researched) in this case just simply disagree with you, and we are having a discussion about it.

    As for your legal concerns, you don’t seem to understand the vast difference between a legal injection and a hearing on the merits.

    Like

    1. What scripture?

      You want to help the poor? I have not argued against it. I have complained your methods are foolish. If someone came into a doctor’s office and had a serious infection (gangrene) in his right foot, and the doctor removed his left foot, would the problem be with diagnosis and understanding of the problem or his execution?

      What was unconstitutional about Trump’s order? Did the judge say Congress had not given him the authority he exercised?

      Like

  14. Tony

    What scripture? Well, let’s just start with the interpretations of scripture that the US Catholic Bishops referred to in the link I posted and in the links that you reposted. It seems that Stephen has also made some impressive scriptural arguments here that you have never even dealt with, much less refuted with any authority of your own. I can find more links if you like. If we are going to use Christian Gospel and theology as the moral basis for our political involvement, then it is hard for me to imagine a situation where it is so uncontrovertably a government function which can either necessarily have a moral Christian basis or an immoral one. This is not the government usurping the individual role for charity Tom. The is the government doing what is absolutely required to do, what it only can do for us as a nation in either a way that is morally right or morally wrong.

    As for the legal issue, the District Court has yet to hold a trial or hearing on the merits of the plaintiff states’ claims, Constitutional or otherwise. Based on the fact that the plaintiffs provided enough evidence to show considerable harm from the EO, and that the Justice Department provided literally nothing to defend any harm otherwise, the District Court enjoined the EO on its face until a hearing on the merits could be prepared for and held. And it could have been held fairly quickly. However, the Justice Department instead decided to file an interlocutory appeal to the Circuit Court to abate the injunction. I listened to the Circuit Court hearing, and absent any evidentiary record from the defendants, at least one of the judges was practically begging the Justice Department to present some evidence that there was virtually any security threat at all, but they refused to, and instead just kept claiming that Courts had no authority to review the EO at all. It’s a ridiculous argument.

    No court has yet to actually hear on the merits whether the EO is lawful and constitutional. The standard of review that District Court’s will have to apply and the discretion afforded to the President will be much higher at trial. The standard of review once they actually have a record and evidence on appeal also provides the President much greater discretion, but his powers are not unlimited. In my humble opinion, the President will probably prevail unless his justice lawyers keep screwing it up completely. In fact, he probably would have prevailed initially before the District Court and the Appelate Courts had they not defended the EO so incompetently and with such contempt for the authority of the court. And of course, our Comander and Tweet didn’t help his case much either.

    Like

    1. @Tony

      Which scriptures did the bishops interpret. Do you know? Can you cite some verses?

      Stephen is impressive. That is, he is impressive until you read what he has quoted in context. A hot air balloon is impressive, but there is no telling where it might take you. Fun, but not practical. Do you own research.

      Our government does not exist to solve all the world’s problems by making everyone who would like to be on welfare an American citizen. Yet that is what Barack Obama has been trying to do. His foreign policy was a wreck, and Putin just helped matters along. Have you ever seriously investigated all the problems Europe is having with its Muslims. We are just lucky the Spanish did not have any patience with the vile gods some of the Indians south of our border worshiped.

      Like

  15. Tony

    Now that you have had a chance to let whaf really happed in court sink in, perhaps we should deal with this:

    “You know better I do that what Judge Robart did was wrong. You know better I do that the circuit court should have ruled for the Trump administration. Yet you would rather win than be right, and that’s sick. And that’s why you have talked around the actual issues.”

    I have never argued that the EO is unlawful or unconstitutional. My claim is that it is unchristian and immoral. You of all people know the difference between something being legal and being right.

    I have heard arguments from good lawyers on both sides, but with my very little and very dated expertise on these things, it seems that Trump’s EO would prevail in court despite that it was incompetently written and implemented, it has hurt our security and has only caused chaos. I could be wrong though. Sometimes you lose in court even when you are right on the law but are wrong on all the facts or just present your case badly. Don’t blame the judges for being activist if you are convicted when its really because you hire sucky attorney and you are a terrible client.

    Now I think you should apologize for calling me sick. 😉 That was meant as a joke bro.

    Like

    1. @Tony

      http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/feb/12/terror-convicts-came-from-countries-targeted-for-e/

      The odds are very good Trump will not prevail on this matter in court. And how will you react? “Well, I guess my expectation was wrong. Because the law is whatever the Supreme Court says it is, the Constitution says whatever the Supreme Court says it says. Those wise old men and ladies in black robes can’t be wrong. They have more gray hairs than Tom.”

      The ends do not justify the means, no matter how noble we think they might be. Lying that way is not right.

      Our judges are increasingly making decisions designed to satisfy their politics and personal opinions. They are suppose to decide according to the law. When they rule according to their personal preferences, that corrupt, and I can cite quite a few scriptures that say that. Politicians who select judges they already know will not rule impartially are corrupt.

      Where did all this corruption begin? It began with us. It began when we let our leaders start health, education, and welfare programs. When the Federal Government started that crap, they had to ignore the Constitution, and we still let it happen. Now corrupt politicians are bringing in illegal aliens and supposedly needy refugees and putting them on the public dole. They want their votes. And without proper voter ID, they don’t even have to wait until non-citizens becomes citizens.

      And you want blame to Trump? If judges can arbitrary decide cases using criteria that is clearly outside their purview, would you like to explain how a lawyer is supposed to prepare for a case?

      When you call me a xenophobe, it just shows you are not listening. You do not get it. It is not the immigrants I have a problem with. It is the people we have elected, especially the Democrats. They have no scruples and exhibit no shame.

      Do you by any chance have one standard for Trump and another for anyone who opposes him? Why is that?

      Like

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