Rick Santorum appeared on The Lead today with Jake Tapper and was asked about President Obama’s immigration action. Santorum emphasized the importance of prioritizing enforcement of the law and securing the border, which he says Obama has failed to do. He also drove home his blue collar message, as he does in every public appearance and as he promotes heavily on his Patriot Voices website.
Tapper pointed out that the Catholic bishops supported the president’s action. Since Rick Santorum is Catholic, it was appropriate for Tapper to ask this question. People have a right to know if a Catholic politician agrees or disagrees with the bishops on a particular issue, particularly when the opinion of the people is decidedly contrary to the opinion of the bishops. On this issue, Santorum disagrees with the bishops, as is his right. He clearly says, “The President is wrong” in the context of a question on the bishops about compassion.
Watch the video, via The Lead:
I believe Rick Santorum would agree with me that it is precisely our Catholic Faith that gives us cause to oppose what the president has done. Santorum sees this as a matter of compassion for the American worker because the American worker is truly suffering in these times.
“You want to talk about compassion, how about compassion for the American worker,” Santorum said in an interview with CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.” “How about somebody who is trying to make ends meet working two and three jobs who now has 5 million more people competing for that job.”
Certainly, I agree. I cannot say that my suffering is worse than someone else’s, and likely neither would Rick Santorum, but common sense tells us that in a fallen world we cannot fix every problem, even with a powerful government. We can only fix some problems with government. Prioritizing is an unavoidable reality in government, therefore it is an unavoidable issue in politics, and the message being put out by the Democratic Party and by the Catholic bishops is that the suffering of illegal immigrants is more important than the suffering of the American worker. We are even accused of racism or of lacking compassion because we prioritize some problems over others. Prioritization is unavoidable.
It is precisely because we can’t do that kind of trade-off, theologically, of causing the suffering of the American worker in order to alleviate the suffering of people who have broken the law that many Christians find that they have to oppose the argument made by their spiritual leaders who are living a somewhat more comfortable life than the rest of us. Certainly, spiritual leaders see a lot of the suffering of illegal immigrants, but it is plastered all over the internet. It is not as though we cannot also see it. What we see that many spiritual leaders cannot seem to see is that spiritual authority does not give anyone the right to encourage injustice, and lawlessness is an injustice that is ripping the world apart right now.
Lawlessness begets lawlessness. If leaders (political or spiritual) thwart the law, the people will see no reason why they should not also thwart the law. The better solution is to enforce the law and to prioritize. Obama is acting lawlessly and prioritizing illegal immigrants at the expense of law-abiding American workers. You may disagree that this is what is happening, but the American worker knows his own plight, hence Republicans cleaned the Democrats’ proverbial clock in the mid-terms. The Republican takeover of Congress is the will of the people, clear and simple, in response to the Democratic Party’s policies, including immigration policy.
Most Americans agree with Santorum and Obama that prioritizing is a reality that we live in, but they agree with Santorum that the American worker should have a higher priority than the illegal immigrant. An op-ed today at the New York Times offers the view that Democrats have hurt themselves with white working voters and that this could spell political doom. These numbers on the mid-terms should have given Obama pause, but he went ahead anyway.
Latinos and Asian-Americans made up only 11 percent of the electorate. Even if immigration were the only issue driving their vote — and it most certainly was not — it could have shifted the national partisan balance of power by only a few percentage points.
Whites, meanwhile, accounted for 75 percent of the electorate. Far more than any other group, whites will decide the fate of the parties in the years to come. Unfortunately for the Democratic Party, the data suggest that immigration very much matters for whites.
Immigrants are moving to almost every corner of the nation. They usually look different from the white majority. And, irrespective of the facts, the dominant narrative maintains that immigrants rely heavily on public services like welfare, education and health care, that immigrants take jobs from native-born workers and lower their wages, and that immigration is leading to cultural decline.
Polls indicate that an overwhelming majority of white Americans view illegal immigration as a serious problem. A third think immigration over all is bad for the country.
In the midterms, 75 percent of Americans who felt that most illegal immigrants should be deported voted Republican. In contrast, only 35 percent of those who favored a chance for undocumented immigrants to apply for legal status supported Republican candidates. Of those who saw immigration as the nation’s most important problem, 74 percent went Republican.
That’s not racism or selfishness. It’s common sense. Democrats have been complaining about the income gap in America. So has Rick Santorum, by the way. So why is the Democratic president giving a gift to the one percent in the form of more cheap labor while ignoring the people in the middle?
From The Hill:
Unlike most political issues, immigration is not really a right vs. left or Republican vs. Democrat issue. Instead, immigration is better understood as an elite vs. public issue where the elite in our society tends to support higher levels of immigration and where the general public tends to support lower levels of immigration. For politicians of all political stripes, the question on immigration is whether they will side with the elite or the public.
There are various hypotheses about why the elites are for high immigration while the public is against it. I have my own theories, but the important thing to remember is that there are very few people on the left or on the right who dispute that higher immigration harms the American worker. The difference between the elites in their ivory towers and the public seems to be primarily that the public cares about that harm whereas the elites do not care. They are, after all, in ivory towers.
If you’re Catholic and you agree with the bishops, I can guess what you’re thinking now. “We should always welcome the immigrant,” regardless. The catechism says otherwise. The catechism says that immigrants must be law-abiding. It says that for a good reason. Lawlessness tears a country apart.
Santorum agrees that we should be welcoming of immigrants, and so do I, but he rightly points out to Tapper that we are not talking about “immigrants” here as a small number of people who are law-abiding. We’re talking about millions of people who disrespect the law. That is not “welcoming the immigrant.” It is welcoming the criminal. That is lawlessness by itself. Show me a picture of a criminal and I will say that he is a human being with dignity, regardless of who he is, but his dignity does not give him the right to break the law, and if he breaks the law, he has to deal with the consequences, according to the Catholic catechism (and common sense.)
What the president has done in by-passing Congress is also lawlessness (a violation of his oath) and when we put all of this lawlessness together, we have the same situation that we see in Mexico today, where people are burning government buildings in response to government lawlessness. Lawlessness cannot heal lawlessness. Rather, the lawlessness of Latin America has now spread to the United States. Pray for healing.
In the meantime, we need to do as Rick Santorum advises. Enforce the law. If President Obama will not fulfill his obligation as president, according to his oath, then the Congress needs to respond within their own Constitutional authority. Unless people see that our government is functional, they have no reason to trust that their votes matter anymore. The people will have no reason to trust that America is run by anything other than special interests who will seek to obtain power over the American citizen at any cost.
Santorum says that Congress must act. I say that if Congress does not act against lawlessness, the people may be expected to, as they are today in Mexico.