Why immigrants are the Church's future

Bigotry, as religious scholar Reza Aslan points out, is not the result of ignorance so much as it is of fear. Yet most of the fears directed at immigrants are unfounded. There is ample proof, for instance, that first-generation immigrants do not increase crime, they help to reduce it.

“Obviously,” said O’Malley, the fear is “not rational, and I think we are dealing with it in an irrational way.” In his opinion, the “path to citizenship” for immigrants, which is anathema to many conservatives, is absolutely essential. “If anything, the United States should capitalize on people’s desire to become part of this country,” he said. “They become great contributors.”

But if their children grow up seeing their parents treated as, well, as “aliens,” they will be full of resentment.

What used to be called “the Protestant work ethic” is now better understood as an immigrant ethic, and it is not just about work. O’Malley sees it as “about the family and the common good and the values that have been eroded by our extreme individualism in this country.”