Catholic Sun Slants Story of Illegals

The Catholic Sun( online at  is a leading newspaper in Arizona servicing Catholic parishioners statewide.  Recently, the Manageing Editor, J.D. Long-García, wrote an emotion stirring take of the plight of an illegal family suffering fear, shame, and hardship.  While I feel that pain, I resented the supposed news piece, and wrote this letter.  I suspect it will not make it to print with the Catholic Sun or be severely edited:

Dear Editors,


Regarding the Catholic Sun‘s cover story, “EXODUS: Are Arizona Immigration Laws Having An Effect on Churchgoers?”. My simple answer to the headline’s posed question is as a churchgoer, YES, I am deeply effected. As a Master degreed counselor, I’ve worked in local schools, for Maricopa County Juvenile Courts, and privately. I can attest to the fact that there is a great need to help young families survive and thrive- to ultimately achieve the American Dream.

Managing Editor and article author, J.D. Long-Garcia, pointed out how there is a natural desire to immigrate and improve, even quoting Pope JohnXXIII. I feel for the young family here with limited options and now a sense of urgency to leave either due to the economy or fear of new legislation. Whether the economic woes we all feel or the laws new impact, the illegal immigrants face the flip side of the American Dream: living within the law is a hard thing to do at times.

I also read the wonderful and touching story of the Myanmar family of St. Jerome’s parish who lost their son. I was impressed to see that Catholic Charities helped the family emigrate and find a home in Arizona. The community helped this family in their joy and now in sorrow. The role of a Church Charity is best met in helping families achieve legal status and find a community of support.

Unfortunately, Arizona and other states have allowed the laws to be denied, setting up many a young family. Latinos from Mexico and other Latin American countries have been encouraged to seek out a better life. Yet, where is the organization,Catholic Charities, in helping these families come in properly and legally? No matter how Mr. Long-Garcia spins the story, the family in question is in an illegal status and ultimate quagmire as they’ve been misled, believing that no one would question their status. Now, many a family had illegal adults, and legal American children, all living as black market beings on the fringe. We Americans buy into the need to save everyone without thinking about what that means. We are NOT helping families by encouraging them to sneak in, live illegally and marginally, only so we can have a flow of cheap labor. We are also hurting the alien families and our own citizens when we deny the huge flux of violent crime directly related to illegal aliens.

Just ask many of the parishioners who are police officers how they feel about the twisted laws literally tying their hands from processing violent offenders.

I also have seen a great wave of illegal drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and children of high educational need flooding the state and local systems. They are not turned away and we all have tried to help. But, like a parent who’s let one’s child get away with something, we are clamping down and saying no more.

As a parishioner, I’ve listened to presentations by pastors of Mexican parishes talk of the degradation and third world-like standards in many poor communities south of the border. Our parishioners opened their wallets as the plate was passed. We help all of the time and want the poor to have a chance. We need more than biased, politically charged stories from the Catholic Sun. Your piece was not a news story but an opinion commentary promoted as news. I want to hear more about what is being done to help Mexicans thrive back home. With some of the most fertile ground, ideal location, and world importance, why is Mexico struggling internally? Poor infrastructure and corruption are critical realities that, I believe, the Catholic Church, as a global organization and political power, needs to step up and help as negotiating statesmen.

Organized crime and drug trafficking is a booming business of epoch proportions in Mexico. In fact, there are reports of how the local economies of some areas are improving from the drug cartel monies funneling into the local economies. Sadly, the local criminals in Mexico see the need for better societies and the locals cannot turn down the help. I am tired of the American citizen being blamed for expecting people to follow laws while being asked to donate money while the country of origin is literally ignored. A vital story I read stated the following:

“By some estimates, some $24 billion a year is transferred to Mexico as a result of the drug trade. This is essentially free money and needs to go somewhere, making it a substantial portion of the Mexican economy. While the Mexican government is keen to stop the violence along the border and among the cartels, in some ways it is less interested in stopping the flow of money,” (

The real story, Mr. Long-Garcia, is not the illegal alien scared of being caught, but the multi-billion dollar corrupt practices of drugs, of using and abusing the citizens there, and the absolute drain on our loving society to try and band-aid a political wound , now bleeding out on the Arizonan border.


Gayle Plato-Besley, M. Ed.

Phoenix, AZ OLOJ Parish Member


  1. Why a “virtual fence” is no fence at all. From the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps report on Feb. 15 muster activities…

    “In the first evening shift MCDC volunteers spotted 18 suspected illegal aliens on Friday night and spent two hours assisting Border Patrol who responded to the sighting. Using our “eye in the sky” (EITS) thermal cameras volunteers directed Border Patrol agents, who chased the 18 individuals numerous times over a two hour period. Yet 17 of the 18 managed to escape apprehension by the Border Patrol agents. Every time agents would get near the group of suspected illegal aliens they would run in all directions, only to re-group and attempt to continue their travels northward. This cat and mouse game continued on for hours until Border Patrol agents finally gave up due to a shift change.”

  2. Tempe Catholic says

    It would seem like a non-starter to try and start such a discussion in a paper whose raison d’etre is to serve as a communications organ of the Church and to propagate the magisterial position. While I would understand that you have the right to express a dissenting opinion and to disagree with the magisterial line as you see fit in accordance with your conscience, I would argue there might be better Catholic journals to serve as vehicles for this discussion. That being said, while I agree in general with the magisterial position on migration, I also agree that the Church needs to step up and work more aggressively for solutions on the supply side of this equation in order to fulfill its traditional mediational role.

  3. Why does the church forget its American parishioners? As you pointed out in your letter, the preying on the American family by these drug dealers, child molesters, drunk drivers and more, requires more than ‘praying’ for the perpetrators from the church. Where does the bible say you only help those who are criminals? We need a little more compassion for those who have been seriously hurt by this invasion. I often wonder how the victims of these horrendous car crashes survive later in life, if they managed to live through the incident. The illegal who causes the ‘accident’ gets medical treatment at our expense. What about the victim? Who pays for his treatment? Who pays for his loss of a job or salary? Are any of these victims still being adversely affected by that one illegal years later? Where is the church for them???

Leave a Reply