Bishops vs. Bannon on Immigrants

Steve Bannon, former advisor to Donald Trump, recently pointed out that the Catholic Church has an economic interest in Latino immigrants. A spokesman for the U.S. Bishops promptly denounced this as “outrageous and insulting” (here). But Bannon’s claim about economic incentives is certainly true.

A recent survey by PRRI illustrates the strength of these incentives. An excerpt from their executive summary:

“The Catholic Church is experiencing an ethnic transformation. Twenty-five years ago, nearly nine in ten (87%) Catholics were white, non-Hispanic, compared to 55% today. Fewer than four in ten (36%) Catholics under the age of 30 are white, non-Hispanic; 52% are Hispanic.”

The U.S. bishops claim that the Church has always strongly defended immigrants. Yet when candidate Trump repeatedly proposed barring all Muslim immigrants, and President Trump repeatedly drew up executive orders to accomplish this, the U.S. bishops were silent, and few Catholic officials showed much concern. Historically, the Church has a mixed record on the subject. The Church made little effort to change America’s immigration laws which barred European Jews attempting to flee Nazi persecution. Going back even further, when Catholic countries in Europe repeatedly expelled the Jews, the Church neither objected, nor did it encourage other Catholic countries to admit them. The same is true of Muslims. The bishops protest too much.


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