In the midst of hearing details concerning the recent tragedy in Cottonwood, MN I believe we Catholics have had a thorny dilemma handed to us, as we are torn between our Church's direction to open our hearts to all immigrants, including illegals, while expecting them (and ourselves too of course) to obey the law of the land. I don't believe these elements of our faith as Catholics are mutually exclusive; in fact, they are complimentary.
If you don't know the story, here is one link to a local news outlet with some details that will explain what happened.
Bottom line: a woman apparently ran a stop sign at high speed, crashed into a school bus and killed four children, and injured several more and the bus driver and another vehicle's driver. This woman didn't have a license, used a name that was false, worked at a factory nearby and is most likely an illegal immigrant.
The CCC only has one paragraph (2241) that seems to wrap together the facets of illegal immigration and our response to it:
"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.
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."
Children can be (and are) sadly killed by full-blown American citizens and legal immigrants on an all-too-frequent basis; that's not really the true issue at hand. The thorny problem we face is how to "welcome the foreigner" if it means overlooking the "juridical conditions" of their presence here in the United States? I will try to pull this together in Part 2, but I'd like to wait a couple of days and get others' thoughts on this question.