Aside from capital punishment, there's nothing more polarizing in the Catholic world than the topic of illegal immigration. On the surface it would appear as if compassion (Mercy) and the law (Justice) clash. Yet, this is an impossibility for Catholic sensibility since Jesus Christ is the Incarnation of both Divine Justice and Mercy.
So why are we at each other's throats about this painful social dilemma?
It is because we are either throwing Justice out the window in an unbalanced attempt to recreate Divine Mercy, or we are fortifying the walls of Justice, fearful that a dose of Mercy might cause a barbarian invasion similar to the likes of ancient Rome. Of course these views are guided more by political ideology rather than by a true understanding of the Catholic faith. And this would also mean that our hearts and minds are being influenced by a small temporal fad, instead of by the perennial Truth. This would mean that we are more Democrat or Republican, and less the Body and Bride of Jesus Christ.
For, instead of political polarity, Jesus seeks a balanced unity in Truth and Love.
For instance, by comparison, the death penalty discourse divides into the abolitionist view and the retentionist view. But the Catholic Church views this paramount social issue in a more mature way. For the Church sees the right of the state to protect itself, and maintain social order, with the occasional, yet unfortunate, necessity of capital punishment. But the Church also urges the state to work toward Mercy and Reconciliation whenever possible. For the Church teaches from transcendent grace...but lives in the real world. Many opposing views, or unbalanced approaches, come either from emotion or abstract thought.
The same is true of illegal immigration.
On the 'left' we have the Mercy at all cost people. But Justice is trounced as laws are ignored and bad precedents are reenforced. With all Mercy and no Justice, some people are eventually hurt. Tax payers are hurt. U.S. southern border residents are hurt (as drug cartels, human traffickers, and criminals mix with the innocents), the economy is initially hurt, the integrity of the nation is hurt as entitlements swell, and the national political dialectic is hurt as the Democratic party whores immigrant latino's for ideological sway.
Reflected by recent USCCB statements on illegal immigration, the real Catholic answer will always incorporate both Justice and Mercy. Amnesty is not balanced, therefore not Truth. Mass deportations are not Just, therefore not Truth either.
What, then, is the answer?
The answer is in both Justice and Mercy. Justice is found in building a REAL fence. Justice is found in enforcing the existing laws which punish illegal entry. Justice is found in returning all those illegal immigrants with criminal records or ties to drug cartels or human trafficking. Justice is found in sending all illegal immigrants back who are not coming from an oppressive situation.
Mercy is found in allowing all of those entry, and residential status, who truly are escaping from an oppressive government. Mercy is caring for all of them, medically, physically, and emotionally, while we sort them out. Mercy is punishing, sanctioning, and revealing all southern nations that oppress people, and look the other way when drug cartels and human traffickers do their dirty business. Mercy is practicing the Justice of ridding the earth of these criminal miscreants.
For only in Mercy and Justice will the world benefit from this situation.