"Time to Pull Up the Gang Plank"

I must disagree with your views on immigration. We now have a country that is divided into tribes.The melting pot has been shelved. It appears the new people are not really blending into the country. Evidence the recent incident in NYC where the Puerto Ricans held many P.R. flags, but little if any American flags were seen. We are witness to many jokes about east Indians running convenience stores, Russian cab drivers, Centeral Amerian people queing up on street corners hoping for day labor. I live in New Jersey, and I am now a foreigner in my own land. If I go to another county and get lost, I must be prepared to remember high school Spanish in order to understand directions to 35th Street. I spend 49% of my income on various taxes, of which a great chunk goes to the federal, state, and county governments to help the mostly Hispanic legals or illegals. Then I must hear from my bishop on contibuting to a fund to help the poor in the inner city. I live near Paterson, New Jersey, a city of nearly 40% Hispanic and Middle Eastern immigrants who, the bishop, says need help. Yet each time I pass through these enclaves, I hear noises from televisions featuring foreign movies on cable channels, large air conditioners humming away, and peole sitting on pretty new automobiles, in front of rent controlled apartments. I really don't think they are poor in the true sence of the word. Many of them have been here for years, and still cannot speak English. I'm troubled by your account of Peruvian young people saying they want to come to America, instead of staying in their own country, and working to make it better. I hope you won't get me wrong, I am not a bigot by any means, but I think it's time to "pull up the gang plank". I also think it's about time to tell our bishops to come up with better plans than just to give food to these people. I'm still waiting to hear from a priest, nun, brother, or bishop that they physically went to companies looking for jobs for people I'm still waiting for the church to start programs to teach skills. I've been asked to help distribute Thanksgiving and Xmas food to the poor, but never asked if I can help teach immigrants English, business skills, or how to apply for a job. Our county doesn't need more laborers, but rather skilled or semi-skilled people to push this country further ahead and give people opportunities. I'm sorry to say this, but America is becoming a third world nation on the brink of Socialism. This is how I feel, and I'm not ashamed of my views.


Dear John,

Thanks for the email. I cannot answer everything in it, altho it does seem to me a good idea about teaching people skills, helping them find jobs. Are parishes in New Jersey not doing that?

You mentioned:

I spend 49% of my income on various taxes, of which a great chunk goes to the federal, state, and county governments to help the mostly Hispanic legals or illegals

Do you know how big that chunk is? I have a lot of Hispanics in my parish here. The ones w/o documents actually have part of their income going into social security and no way of claiming that in the future. I understand there are perhaps a million workers who are doing that and in the process putting several billion dollars a year into the social security fund which they will never draw on.

I agree there is a danger of our country being tribalized, altho I see it more in terms of groups claiming "victim" status. When I can, I always discourage that way of thinking among immigrants and minority groups here. It is so self defeating. Life is inherently unfair and it does no good to envy someone who has more, just dive in and take advantage of the opportunities God gives which are manifold in this society. And at the same time try to help create opportunities for others which is what you seem to want to do.

I would not worry about tribalization in terms different cultures. The parents of immigrants, try as they may, cannot do much to pass on their culture to their children, even the language gets lost pretty quick unless a real effort is made. I assume that happened in your case as I did in mine as it is happening with present day children and grandchildren of immigrants.

Anyway, John, those are my thoughts. Prayers always.

God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom

P.S. About passing on culture, the best parents can do is help their children appreciate their Catholic faith which, because of Christ, is the embodiment of the best of all culture.

A Different Perspective from a Political Science Major