(CNSNews.com) – Bishop Minerva Carcano of the California-Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church testified Tuesday that the U.S. has “raped” the lands of illegal immigrants, so they are fleeing to the U.S. so their children don’t starve.
“Immigrants want to stay home. They’re not able to stay home, because we’ve undermined their economies. We have raped their lands,” Carcano testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.
Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.) questioned Carcano’s characterization of the acts of criminal illegal aliens as “irresponsible acts” during her opening statement.
“To Ms. Root and Ms. Wilkerson, I want to say that I am praying for you and that United Methodist across this country and around the world – many of them immigrant families –are also praying for you,” said Carcano, referring to Michelle Root, whose daughter Sarah Root was killed by a drunk driving illegal immigrant, and Laura Wilkerson, whose son Joshua was brutally murdered by an illegal immigrant after he went to school.
“No parent should ever have to endure the death of a child, and certainly not because of the irresponsible actions of an individual or the violent actions of an individual,” Carcano added.
“In your testimony, you talked about the irresponsible actions that led to the deaths of the son and daughter of Ms. Wilkerson and Ms. Rue, right? Irresponsible acts. Isn’t the violation of the law by illegally entering the United States or overstaying the amount of time that the United States government has granted permission to an individual to stay in the United States an irresponsible action as well?” Goodlatte asked.
“I wish it were that simple, Congressman,” Carcano said, but when pressed for a yes or no answer, Carcano said, “No, it’s not. I’m sorry, that it’s not.”
“Then tell me why it’s not an irresponsible action to violate the law and cross the border into this country illegally or knowing in your passport you have a document that allows you to stay here for a specified period of time and overstay that, why that’s not an irresponsible action. Can’t you at least concede that?” Goodlatte asked.
“It’s a difference between moral and just laws when families are having to flee their places of residence because they can’t feed their family,” Carcano responded.
“So do people get to pick and choose which law they get to abide by? Is that what your philosophy is?” Goodlatte asked.
Carcano said that was not her philosophy, and when Goodlatte asked her why it’s not irresponsible to break the law, she said, “Because a parent has a responsibility to feed his or her children so that they don’t die.”
“But they can do that anywhere in the world that they’re lawfully allowed to be. Can they not?” Goodlatte asked.
Carcano praised Germany for the “wonderful things” they’ve done to allow immigrants to flee “persecution and sure death.”
“Then that’s fine for the people of Germany, but the people of the United States have a set of laws on the books, and it’s irresponsible for people to not abide by those laws, and the consequence of that irresponsibility is the death of people,” said Goodlatte.
He added that “it is not possible for anyone in this country to know which unaccompanied minor or which illegal who comes across that border illegally or overstays their visa is going to be the person who results in the death of people who are simply going about their lives.”
“They’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, and it’s irresponsible for them to not abide by our laws,” Goodlatte said.
“It is irresponsible to allow children to die,” Carcano said.
“Of course it’s irresponsible to allow children to die. That’s why it’s irresponsible to allow them to come accompanied by gang members, accompanied by drug smugglers, accompanied by organized criminals to bring them all the way from Central America, through Mexico to our border. That’s irresponsible,” Goodlatte said.
“Do you believe that those who knowingly enter the U.S. unlawfully and commit crimes – never mind that it’s a crime itself to cross the border illegally - but if they knowingly commit crimes, should they be removed?” he asked.
Carcano said, “Criminal elements should be removed, but that’s not what’s happening here.”
“Over 250,000 people who’ve been convicted, convicted of crimes in the United States, who already unlawfully present in the United States, should they be removed? 250,000 who’ve been convicted of crimes, should they be removed by this administration?” Goodlatte asked.
Carcano said the Obama administration should “focus on reforming broken immigration laws that do not allow ICE and do not allow local police officers to do their duty.”
“A great place to start would be to enforce the other laws of this country, because the crimes against murder, the crimes against rape, the crimes against armed robbery, the crimes against child abuse – those are not crimes that are written on our books that depend upon whether somebody here’s illegally or legally or whether they’re a citizen of the United States or not a citizen of the United States, and all I’m asking you is, if you’re not supposed to be here in the first place, and you commit one of those laws, why should you not be removed from the United States?” Goodlatte asked.
“I would say address the law with the criminals, but don’t undermine the fabric of families, who are simply working helping this country to do all that it needs to do,” Carcano said.
When asked what her church is doing “to discourage people from coming to the United States illegally and staying in the United States illegally,” she said, “First of all, we are working to welcome everyone.”
“Well that is very concerning to me,” Goodlatte said. “So you are essentially aiding and abetting people who are violating the laws of our country.”
“We do not ask people their immigration status when we find them hungry … because that’s not our work,” Carcano said.
“You could help them in Central America. You could help them in whatever country they’re from just as easily as you can help them here, but your philosophy goes beyond that doesn’t it. You think that they should be welcomed in the United States regardless of their status,” said Goodlatte.
“Immigrants want to stay home. They’re not able to stay home, because we’ve undermined their economies. We have raped their lands,” Carcano said.
“The population of the United States is about five percent of the world population. Ninety-three percent of the people in the world do not live in the United States and do not have a legal right to be in the United States,” Goodlatte said.
“Are you suggesting that because the United States is one of the more successful economies in the world that we should welcome all of those people to the United States because they can’t take care of themselves at home?” he asked.
“I would restate that most immigrants want to stay home, but they can’t feed their families. We’re talking about Central Americans. Central Americans have come here, because we’ve been involved in their economies in disastrous ways,” Carcano said.