Religion and Immigration

By John Tanton
Volume 5, Number 3 (Spring 1995)
Issue theme: "Religious lobbies and the immigration debate"

Or is it immigration and religion? We obviously feel that religious groups should not control immigration policy, and they do not. But in the real world of political influence, religious figures and organizations have a very potent say. What are they saying? That is the theme of this issue.

At the outset let me cite our Winter 1992-93 issue (Vol III, No. 2), entitled 'The Role of the Churches in Population Growth, Immigration and the Environment.' Those who wish to delve further into this subject will find additional worthwhile background material there.

We lead off with our Washington editor Roy Beck. In the above mentioned issue, he focused on what the major religious denominations had to say about immigration. Here he is concerned with what their Washington lobbying offices are actually doing... revealingly, the two do not always coincide. Then David Simcox extends his analysis (begun in the earlier issue) of the Catholic Church's stake in immigration. The basis and power of their opposition to immigration reform comes through strongly they are a formidable opponent.

Our managing editor Robert Kyser (a retired Presbyterian minister) fills us in on mainline Protestant opinion, and musicologist Ed Levy does the same for his fellow Jews. John Vinson of the American Immigration Control Foundation presents a conservative Protestant view, and investigative reporter James Robb looks in on the little known Catholic order of Scalabrinians, whose mission is to �migr�s. A journalist member of the Apostolic Church reports on a church-run coyote operation in southern California.

These are substantial forces to be reckoned with.

Our second section stems from the hinterland - outside the beltway. Tom Faber and Wayne Lutton detail the situation in their home town of Chicago, and George Immerwahr gives us a view from overseas. John Rohe refreshes our memory on the Plyler v Doe case, and wonders if the Supreme Court will get a chance to reconsider it, thanks to California's Proposition l87. There is an update on the Arizona Official English initiative of 1988, recently ruled unconstitutional by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Jack Martin muses on the national security implications of the demographics south of the U.S./Mexico border. This leads into three articles on Mexico the drug traffic, treatment of immigrants on Mexico's southern border, and a call for that country to take care of its own poor, not export them.

Linda Thom challenges the Urban Institute on its analysis of the revenue and expenses attributable to immigration, the illegal variety in particular. Don Mann closes this section by widening our view to the 'Caribbean Centrifuge.'

In our book review segment we try to serve as your surrogate in reading, but we are sure you will want to peruse some of these titles for yourself. First comes Brent Nelson's prospectus on Peter Brimelow's long-awaited Alien Nation - a book that will be heavily promoted and will doubtless surface in the daily press. [See the advertisement for it inside our back cover.] Robert Kyser finds himself in general agreement with Stephen Mumford's book on NSSM 200, but wishes he would leave the concept of conspiracy behind.

Mark Wegierski reminds us, in the wake of our southern neighbor's currency collapse, to look north as well Canada's dollar teetered on the brink just after Mexico's peso fell. Will we have to rescue that one as well? (Our own currency is hardly 'sound as a dollar' - its value dropped 10% in the first 10 weeks of this year.) Then professor William McNeill shifts our focus away from current events with a look at the Germanic invasions in Europe of A.D. 400-600. Gustav Uhlich gets down to basics, examining the workings of the human central nervous system, with which both you and I have been able to get as far as we have in writing and reading this editorial. Does this apparatus set the limits of what we as humans can hope to achieve?

One needs courage and an optimistic nature to wade through such a collage of reports and essays and come up still willing to fight on! But we need the facts and clear-eyed assessments.

Our goal is still to present between one set of covers a coherent view of the immigration problem in hopes of moving it toward a resolution. We are always glad to hear from you on how we're doing. Comments on the use of a cover graphic will be particularly welcome ... this is our first such cover.

John Tanton

Editor and Publisher

About the author

John Tanton is Editor and Publisher of The Social Contract and founder of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His personal website is