Immigration Prosecution and Catholic Faith
My name is Paul Hunker, and I am the Chief Counsel for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Dallas, TX. I oversee an office of about 25 lawyers, and we are principally involved with immigration law enforcement, and in particular, immigration prosecution. We’re like district attorneys, only we seek to remove aliens that are in the United States unlawfully.
I am also a Catholic. I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic schools my whole life, including high school, college, and law school.
One of the ideas that was very important in my Catholic education was the importance of the family. The family is truly a building block of society. When the family is strong, the children will be strong and will contribute to society. When the family is weak, society will suffer as a result.
This emphasis on the centrality of the family to the stability of society greatly informs the judgments I have to make in my profession. As an immigration prosecutor, I am regularly faced with the decision of whether an illegal alien should be removed from the country. Given our limited resources, we cannot deport them all. Therefore, we try to focus on aliens who are dangerous and who pose a threat to society.
On the other hand, I am often also presented with situations of illegal aliens who have strong family ties within the country. These family ties always count strongly against the decision to deport them. Even if an immigrant has committed a crime 15 years ago that would otherwise make him liable for deportation, if he has started a family since this time, I would not be inclined to have him deported.
What I learn from my Catholic Faith is that I am not going to help society if I deport someone who does not pose a threat to the country, and who is a father to children living within our borders. The harm that this would cause his children, and thus also to society at large, would far outweigh the benefits. Separating a father from his children might even make it more likely that his children will grow up to be criminals.
Of course, if someone is an active criminal, we have to remove him, whether he is a father or not. We have to protect the people of the United States. If, however, someone is a father and he is not a criminal, or if he committed crimes in the distant past and has since been rehabilitated, we will not seek to remove him.
I am very grateful for my Faith and the education that I’ve gotten in Catholic social doctrine. This social doctrine gives me a framework to understand how to carry out my career in a way that will help, and avoid hurting, the United States.
Watch Paul Hunker’s Daily Insight HERE!