US Bishops “Concerned” About Border Wall. Crime Victims? Not So Much.

Ramon Alberto Escobar stands accused of murdering four victims and attempting to kill four others. Escobar is well known to authorities, with the Salvadoran having previously been deported.

Six times.

That wasn’t unique. Bonifacio Oseguera-Gonzalez was deported six times prior to killing three people. Fraider Diaz-Carbajal confessed to a murder after illegally re-entering the US. Luis Bracamontes was deported twice before he murdered two police officers and wounded an African American motorist (at trial Bracamontes shouted, “Black lives don’t matter!”). Accused murderer Antonio Vasquez Vargas has eight deportations under his belt. And in 2016, Tomas Martinez-Maldonado was charged with sexually assaulting a 13 year-old after he had been kicked out of the country on nineteen occasions.

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That deportees can simply walk right back in is an example of why America needs a physical barrier on its southern border. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) recently weighed in on the issue, and the group expressed concern…about building a wall. About the threat to crime victims?

Not so much.

In a statement released on February 15, USCCB voiced opposition to what it called “a symbol of division and animosity,” preferring instead “the vision articulated by Pope Francis that at this time we need to be building bridges and not walls.” It’s not clear how bridges would make America safer, but it’s easy to see why a wall would. Israel saw illegal border crossings drop massively when it constructed one on its border with Egypt, so it’s reasonable to think one could save lives here too. But to the bishops, “animosity” is a bigger worry.  

This isn’t surprising given how the USCCB has a history of pushing irrelevant proposals while ignoring real problems. An example of the former can be seen in its call to ban “assault weapons,” even though FBI figures show that in 2017, rifles of all types combined were used in less than three percent of homicides, and cases of people using semi-automatic rifles to defend themselves aren’t hard to find. An example of the latter? How the bishops failed to address sexual predators in their midst. The USCCB’s website continues to reference ex-cardinal Theodore Cardinal McCarrick’s advocacy for gun control, despite him being exposed as a serial abuser.

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Two years go, police in Hempstead, New York arrested a man for stabbing two women and abusing a child; he had already been deported four times. While its members like to talk about “defending human life and promoting the dignity of the human person,” USCCB’s rhetoric can’t prevent tragedies like this. Steel and concrete can.

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