Sunday, November 21, 2010


The Sunday, November 21, Fresno Bee newspaper concluded a week-long series analyzing illegal immigration in the great San Joaquin Valley--the food basket of our country. Each segment of the series offers great insights into all aspects of the issue.

But today's Editorial in the Fresno Bee offers one of the clearest insights into the whole issue, and I reprint it here so that many more people can reflect upon it. I am pleased that the recommendations made in the Editorial track perfectly with the recommendations which the Catholic Church has been making on immigration reform for many years.

EDITORIAL: Sorting out hypocrisy on illegal immigration
If we are looking for villains, we should look in the mirror.

[Posted at 12:00 AM on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010]

Illegal immigration is a hot-button topic among politicians and voters, so you'd think the nation would have the political will to fix its broken immigration system. But the dirty little secret is that too many of us benefit from illegal immigration to do something about it.

A weeklong series in The Bee by Chris Collins exposed the widespread hypocrisy surrounding illegal immigration and the reasons that Democrats and Republicans refuse to act -- beyond the demagoguing of the issue at public appearances. Americans say they oppose illegal immigration, but have come to expect its advantages, including low grocery prices and cheap yardwork and housecleaning services.

In the San Joaquin Valley, our major industry relies heavily on the labor of illegal workers. What would happen to our multibillion-dollar agricultural industry -- the foundation of the region's economy -- if illegal immigration were stopped in its tracks?

The Bee series also pointed out that illegal immigrants don't just work in agriculture. They are in restaurants, hotels and construction. They supply cheap labor that keep our costs down when we buy meals or rent hotel rooms.

If we are looking for villains, we should look in the mirror.

This is a key passage in The Bee series: "Some experts predict that the system will always be broken because too many people don't want change -- even if they say they do. Farmers get cheap labor, illegal immigrants get jobs, consumers pay less for services. No one wants to make difficult reforms that would disrupt this balance."

It's easy for illegal immigrants to get forged documents, and many employers don't even use E-Verify, the online government program to check an employee's legal status. To add to the hypocrisy, Congress won't even agree to make E-Verify a permanent program.

It's no wonder that there's no political will to implement meaningful immigration reform. Some don't even want to acknowledge the problem, contending that the term "undocumented worker" would be more fair than "illegal immigrant." On the other hand, the silence is deafening from businesses that benefit from the illegal immigrants. That is, until they are faced with aggressive enforcement. Then the businesses cry loudly.

Unfortunately, racism, bigotry and hatred are at the heart of some critics of immigration. But let us not forget that if all American immigrants were to "go home," we would be left with only Native Americans.

It is not racist, however, to tell the truth, and it is a fact that these immigrants are here illegally. Glossing it over with politically correct terms like "undocumented worker" only further obscures the real issues. Additionally, the use of this unproductive politically correct terminology only further inflames the issue.

We have long supported a comprehensive immigration reform that deals with the major challenges. That reform should include:

Enhanced border security to limit the growth of illegal immigration. That would also make our nation safer from terrorists intent on doing damage to our country.

We need a fair guest-worker program that provides a reliable pool of workers to industries needing foreign laborers.

There also should be an opportunity for those already here illegally to earn legal residency if they meet strict requirements, including paying fines and showing they have had a responsible work history.

We also believe the DREAM Act is a fair method to give legal status to those who have earned that right, and then to eventually pursue citizenship if they desire.

President George W. Bush offered a wise immigration reform package in 2007. But it fell apart in the Senate when Republicans and Democrats blocked it. They didn't want to fix the broken system because both parties had constituencies that benefited from the status quo.

We could solve the illegal immigration problem. But as The Bee series pointed out over the past week, that would threaten a way of life that works for too many people and business interests in America.

[Tell us what you think. Comment on this editorial by going to, then click on the editorial.]

To access the entire series in the Fresno Bee, go to:

Friday, November 19, 2010


Each year the Church invites us to remind ourselves of God’s plan of salvation for us sinners. Each day throughout Advent we are presented with yet another prophet providing further insights into the Messiah who will be sent by God to take away our sins and to restore our friendship with God.

Advent is rightfully called a “new beginning” since God’s plan of salvation is lived out yet anew year after year.

Advent 2010 has an added feature since we now begin a year-long preparation for the use of the new Roman Missal which has been recently translated more accurately into today’s English. This third edition of the Roman Missal in English will be used starting with the first Sunday of Advent 2011.

Priests, deacons, religious, various ministers, choirs, and all of the Catholics of our Archdiocese will be given special sessions to prepare to celebrate the Mass in English according to the new translation. The new translation has many word changes because this translation is more fully faithful to the original Latin text.

Preparing ourselves for new wording and new responses at Mass is only part of the “new beginning” which we will celebrate as Advent 2011 begins next year. I am hopeful that these months of catechesis will help us renew our understanding of the Eucharist in our lives as Catholics. As Catholics, we are singularly a “Eucharistic Church.” Our celebration of the Eucharist from the earliest days of the apostles, and down through history, distinguishes us from all other Churches who call themselves Christian.

The Eucharist is one of God’s greatest gifts to us in and through his Son, Jesus Christ. Recall the two men journeying to Emmaus on that first Easter Sunday afternoon who encountered the Risen Jesus without knowing it was him, and then their eyes were opened as he sat at table with them and “broke the bread” for them—then vanishing from their sight.

We must recall that in the consecrated bread and wine, we truly receive Jesus Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity. The bread and wine are totally changed from the appearances of bread and wine into the very Body and Blood of our Risen Savior, Jesus Christ.

As Catholics, our faith in the total transformation of the bread and wine distinguishes us from many other Christian Churches. We do not believe that the bread and wine simply serve as “reminders” or “symbols” of the Last Supper. Rather, we believe that the bread and wine are changed substantially into Christ’s Body and Blood—usually referred to with the term “transubstantiation”.

The Advent season we begin this year will be a time of preparation and renewal of our love for the Eucharist. The changes in wording and translation are only secondary to the great mystery of our Faith—receiving the sacred Body and Blood of Jesus Christ!

Monday, November 15, 2010


The California State Supreme Court has ruled that students who have received three or more years of high school education in California are eligible for the in-state tuition rate if they enter one of the State colleges or universities. These students must graduate from a California high school.

In a 7 to 0 unanimous opinion written by Justice Ming W. Chin, the State's highest Court decided that such students entering State colleges or universities are not required to pay out of state tuition rates.

This decision will affect about 25,000 undocumented students enrolled in the State's colleges and universities. And although eligible for the in-state tuition, such students are not eligible for government financial aid programs.

This is good news for all Californians! Virtually all undocumented students were brought to this country by family members; they did not decide on their own to come to our country.

Having these young people well educated helps fill our State's need for a more highly trained workforce, especially as thousands of baby-boomers begin to retire.

Now Congress and the President need to take the next step as early as possible: pass the DREAM Act so that these students who graduate from our colleges and universities can be placed on a path towards legal residency and eventual citizenship. I am hopeful that during this lame-duck session of Congress the leadership might put this legislation forward for a full vote in the House and Senate.

To maintain a punitive posture towards our undocumented young people who graduate from colleges and universities is not only against the American spirit, that attitude deprives our country of the benefit from an upcoming well educated work force.

Let's continue our collective efforts to pass the elements of immigration reform--either one by one, or as a comprehensive piece of legislation.

"For I was a stranger, and you welcomed me" (Matthew 25:35)