William F. B. O'Reilly is a consultant to Republicans.
I keep thinking of where to move my family in the unlikely event that Donald Trump becomes president. But then Pope Francis answered my question: Vatican City.
Surely the city of 800 has room for five more, even if my wife isn't Catholic. This pope is spending so much time preaching open borders that the Swiss Guard must be preparing our suite now.
The pontiff has had particularly sharp words for the United States when it comes to immigration. He even said on the nightly news that he wanted to enter the United States on foot via Mexico later this month to drive his point home. A dramatic walking across the waters of the Rio Grande would have been historic. But, alas, time was short, so Francis is flying into Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland instead.
It feels wrong as a Catholic, and a prodigal son at best, to criticize the head of my church. But as an American, I'm growing tired of Francis using the United States as a punching bag, whether it be about immigration, global warming or capitalism, especially as we're about to roll out the red carpet for his visit.
The pope's words about kindness and human dignity are sorely needed in an increasingly brutal world. But, to these ears anyway, his remarks too often sound like regurgitated talking points of a hard ideological left that's had the U.S. in its crosshairs for generations.
Does the Pope need to be reminded that the United States is the most generous nation on earth? Individual Americans gave $358 billion to charity in 2014, and that's not counting any of the billions of federal dollars they sent overseas in foreign aid. The U.S. government sent $3.1 billion to other countries last year to fight HIV; it gave $470 million to fight malaria. We spent $2.7 billion to improve the infrastructure of foreign nations, and when an earthquake or tsunami hits anywhere on the globe, who's on the ground first and last?
But nowhere is American goodness more on display than here at home when it comes to immigrants here illegally. Indeed, our generosity is threatening the very rule of law, which every civilized nation needs to maintain order.
Would any reader expect to overstay a visa in a foreign land, much less sneak across its border, and be welcomed with open arms in perpetuity? I'd expect to be plucked by the nape of the neck by a gendarme, polizist, or, yes, Swiss guardsman, and shipped out on the next slow boat home.
But in the United States, we give the immigrant here illegally health care. We provide him shelter. We overcrowd our classrooms to accommodate his children. And we do it because we are a kind, Judeo-Christian-rooted nation. The only real debate is over the flow of the spigot. Right now, it can't be turned off, and that's a fair cause for alarm.
Pope Francis is advancing important conversations in the world. But unless he's willing to throw open the gates of Vatican City, his remarks about U.S. immigration reform are a little holier than thou.
William F. B. O'Reilly is a Republican consultant.