What Would Jesus Do About Illegal Immigration?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 28, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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JUAN WILLIAMS, GUEST HOST: Continuing now with our lead story: the continuing fallout over Arizona's tough new immigration law.

As you may know, the Republican governor of that state signed a measure that would authorize police to pull over, question and detain anybody they suspect to be in the country illegally. Critics of the law, including Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, say it opens the door to racial profiling and civil rights violations. But with violence spiraling out of control in some border states, what would Jesus do about illegal immigration in this country?

With us now, Father Jonathan Morris, the Fox News contributor and author of the book "The Promise." Father Jonathan, thanks for coming in.


WILLIAMS: All right. So I'm going to be kind of rough on you, so get ready.

MORRIS: I'm OK with that.

WILLIAMS: All right. So let me just ask you bluntly: Is this about keeping Hispanics in the pews because the Catholic Church is worried that fewer and fewer people are going to church?

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MORRIS: No. No, it's not. I think when we take a look at what the issue is right now, this is not a religious issue. I think all of us, whether you're a believer or not, we can use our human reason to say that even if somebody is doing something wrong, like crossing the border illegally, and I think that is wrong…

WILLIAMS: That's immoral; that's wrong.

MORRIS: Absolutely. Absolutely, but…

WILLIAMS: OK, yes, yes.

MORRIS: It does not mean that therefore we can do whatever we want to them. And that — we have to be able to stand up as a country and say…

WILLIAMS: Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

MORRIS: …we have to have laws that are just.

WILLIAMS: You can't put somebody in jail for breaking the law?

MORRIS: No, I didn't say that.


MORRIS: What I said is it doesn't give us the right to do whatever we want.

WILLIAMS: Well, we're not doing whatever we want.

MORRIS: Well, listen.

WILLIAMS: We're detaining them and hopefully deporting them.

MORRIS: Juan, there's no doubt that right now there's such an anti- immigrant sentiment right now because there's so much illegal immigration that people do get out of control and say, listen, we can do whatever we want. I get e-mails from people all the time saying what are you talking about? Get rid of them. Go do — these people are not supposed to be here.

WILLIAMS: But let me just say that when Zogby did a poll and asked Catholics, just Catholics about this, 64 percent of Catholics overwhelming said enforce the law and get illegals to return home.

MORRIS: I would be among that. I would be among that, enforce the law.

WILLIAMS: Well, I don't hear that from you. I hear — what I hear from you is you're representing a Hispanic Latino point of view, not the heart and soul of most Catholics.

MORRIS: Juan, listen to this. I say enforce the law. But you know what's going on right now? The federal government and the state government is being totally hypocritical in saying at one level you can't come over, another level of saying holding up a sign "Work Wanted." Not fining with felonies those people who are hiring illegal immigrants and not creating a temporary work program. These are things that should be done. We know as long as there's huge demand to come over, people are going to get through the border.

WILLIAMS: Well, I agree with you, why not go after the employers who are employing illegal immigrants. But let me just say it doesn't help when you get Roger Mahony, who comes from Los Angeles, and 70 percent of his archdiocese is made up of Latinos. So that's why I asked you the political question.


WILLIAMS: Seventy percent. And he starts talking about Nazis and says, you know, communists, this is the kind of thing people reporting on each other. What do you think of this kind of rhetoric…


WILLIAMS: …being used by the cardinal?

MORRIS: I've never heard a good comparison to Nazism about any social justice issue. I would not use those words. But what I would say is this. This law is idiotic. It's crazy, because it's not going to fix the situation. And so, what does it do? I'm not totally against profiling, police using profiling methods to get criminals. But, is this profiling actually going to solve the problem? Are we really going to solve the immigration problem? No. What it's doing is getting people class and ethnic basically tension growing in this country. And the federal government and the state government are not capable or don't want to, at this point, solve the issue.

WILLIAMS: OK. So what's ethical and moral about a rancher being shot in his backyard by some of these illegal immigrants? What's legal or ethical or moral in this when you see people being brought in in truckloads and dying trying to get in this country…


WILLIAMS: …and the country being unable to say let's stop it? Why doesn't Archbishop Mahony start talking to the Obama administration, the federal government in these kind of overheated rhetorical terms that he uses…

MORRIS: Right.

WILLIAMS: …and say let's get a law on the books?

MORRIS: That's been done at the level of the bishops in this country. And not just Catholics. Lots of religious leaders for years and years and years. They supported what George Bush was suggesting in the comprehensive immigration reform.


MORRIS: They've been pushing Obama administration to do it.

WILLIAMS: Well, are they doing it now? That's the question. Are they doing it now?

MORRIS: It doesn't seem there's political will right now in Washington to make the big decisions of penalizing in a serious way employers, and, secondly, coming up with a temporary work program.

WILLIAMS: Right, that's the question. Father Jonathan, thanks so much for coming in.

MORRIS: You're welcome.

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