Earthly Kingdoms in the Shadow of the Heavenly: Understanding the Ethics of Immigration

by Peter Meilaender

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Source: NBC News (April 5, 2016)

Immigration presents us with a moral dilemma familiar in other circumstances: the challenge of weighing our particular obligations against our universal obligations to all human beings. We should think of ourselves as having special obligations toward our fellow countrymen and countrywomen, but there is a point at which the demands of universal charity outweigh special relationships. We can justify immigration restrictions and need not accept all comers if the pressures become more than we can bear without doing injustice toward those with a prior claim upon us. Yet the demands of universal charity also keep breaking in upon us, and we must recognize also the claims of those whose need is desperate.

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