Catholic Social Teaching on the Economics of Immigration

By Yuengert, Andrew M. | Journal of Markets & Morality, Spring 2000 | Go to article overview

Catholic Social Teaching on the Economics of Immigration


Yuengert, Andrew M., Journal of Markets & Morality


Catholic social teaching and the economics literature take very different approaches to immigration policy. This article is both a rereading of the economics of immigration in light of Catholic social teaching, and a rereading of Catholic social teaching on immigration in light of the economics literature. Catholic social teaching provides a normative framework for immigration policy that is strikingly different from the secular framework within which economics currently operates. For example, the Catholic assertion that migration is a right contrasts sharply with the direction of economics research, which assumes the right of the state to curtail immigration. For its part, the economics literature suggests a new set of pressing questions for Catholic social teaching. Economics raises important questions about policies proposed by Catholic social teaching, and offers a subtler understanding of the effects of immigration in a economy with few barriers to capital, labor, and goods flows.

Introduction

While only a little more than one percent of the world's population resides in a country other than the one in which they were born, (1) immigrants are heavily concentrated in particular countries. In these countries, large waves of legal and illegal immigrants have sparked a debate about the effects of immigration, and calls for immigration restrictions enjoy a measure of popular support. Not surprisingly, economic research into immigration addresses concerns raised in public debates. The purpose of much of this research is to gauge the economic effects of immigration, to determine whether countries should restrict immigration, and, if so, exactly how it should be restricted.

To anyone trained in the economics of immigration and well-versed in the public debates, Catholic social teaching on immigration comes as a shock. In Catholic social teaching, immigration is a right that the state cannot abridge. This assertion of the rights of immigrants contrasts sharply with the direction of immigration research, which assumes the right of the state to curtail the family's right to seek a better life by moving.

Economists contribute much to the policy debate about immigration. However, there are certain basic questions beyond the economist's expertise, questions that are prior to the economic issues: Do people have a right to migrate, and does this right supersede the prerogatives and interests of the state? What are the duties of migrants with respect to obeying the laws of the host countries, including the laws that seek to exclude them? By what standard of justice do we measure the wages paid to immigrants? Furthermore, what standard of justice should be used toward natives whose wages fall as a result of immigration? These questions are properly called normative in economics, and they are prior to the positive issues addressed by economists. Because Catholic social teaching gives answers to these questions that are different from the answers given by secular sources, the implications of recent economic research must be reinterpreted in light of Catholic social teaching. Such a reinterpretation is the purpose of this article.

A Catholic economist seeking to understand this issue begins with Catholic social teaching to provide a context for the positive analysis. However, the traffic between Catholic social teaching and the economist does not flow in only one direction. The economic analysis of immigration raises important questions about the effectiveness of the immigration policies proposed by Catholic social teaching, and provides a more comprehensive framework within which to understand the phenomenon of immigration and its effects. Moreover, the economic analysis must eventually return to Catholic social teaching, seeking further guidance on certain normative issues that have not yet been addressed or resolved by Catholic social thinkers.

Catholic Social Teaching on Immigration

Catholic social teaching addresses immigration only briefly, but it speaks definitively. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Catholic Social Teaching on the Economics of Immigration
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.