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Immigration and the Next America: Renewing the Soul of Our Nation Paperback – July 5, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor (July 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612787185
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612787183
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #498,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By deskjockey on August 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
Archbishop Gomez is the most prominent American Catholic advocate of immigration reform, and I looked forward to reading his formal contribution to the debate. Unfortunately, while it is obvious that the archbishop has a passionate concern for the welfare of immigrants, he has failed to seriously address the most fundamental obstacles to reform. Here is a short list of some of the issues that are barely mentioned in his book, if at all: border security; e-verify; the cynical and corrupt Mexican government; and most notably, the economic, political, and cultural impact of large-scale immigration. In fact, it is entirely fair to say that Archbishop Gomez does not recognize a single valid objection to the immediate and permanent legalization of virtually every one of the more than 11 million immigrants who are illegally residing in the United States, or the tens of millions that will join them in the future.

The book itself has three main themes - the supposed fear and prejudice that native-born Americans harbor towards immigrants; our insufficient appreciation of the role that Spanish explorers played in America's history; and a call for a "New America" in which citizens and immigrants recommit themselves to the founding principles of our republic. The latter theme, which is essentially an appeal for the sort of cultural assimilation that earlier generations of immigrants successfully achieved, might have been sufficient to redeem the book's promise if Archbishop Gomez had actually made a case for the far-reaching reforms of our educational and political institutions that will be required to "renew the soul of America". There is no question that we need such a renewal, and this book was a missed opportunity to move beyond cliches and offer some concrete proposals.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Marco on October 3, 2013
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I think that Archbishop Gomez has really touched the wound. It is a great book to call Catholics to a virtuous practice of what true citizenship means in matters of immigration. It is easy to read and understand.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Stone on August 29, 2013
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Archbishop Gomez presents strong arguments for Immigration reform. One can feel his compassionate heart beating throughout these pages. The problem we face, however, is the difference between his wise approach and the misguided approach being pushed through Congress by political interests. If Congress agreed to let the Archbishop oversee the design and execution of reform, I would be in favor. The version politicians are pushing differs from his vision.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By the grumpy one on August 16, 2013
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Archbishop Gomez serves a wake-up to Christians in particular that North America in general and the USA in particular has never been the exclusive domain of white Anglo-Saxons. Rather, since the first European invasions of the New World, migrations were encouraged until they were no longer economically beneficial or socially acceptable to the reigning powers.
Should those considerations remain relevant? And what penalty, if any, should those powers impose upon those who seek the political, economic, or religious opportunities our fore-parents sought when they emigrated?
Archbishop Gomez does not propose open and uncontrolled immigration, but his proposals follow the Christian ethic as regulated by appropriate governmental regulations.
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The Archbishop of Los Angeles, José Gómez, has dedicated this 116-page book “to an immigrant’s son and the first pope from the New World.” Immigration and the Next America: Renewing the Soul of Our Nation is written in a very different voice than most public policy and philosophical works of Catholic clerical and lay intellectuals. As a generalization, conservatives tend to favor philosophical arguments while liberals employ sociology. This bishop speaks of the sovereignty of God and the destiny of nations. In his first chapter he takes a highly unusual approach in favor of immigration by arguing not for more porous borders and a more humanistic sense of personal identity; but for a deeper commitment to a thicker, more spiritual understanding of duty and national citizenship. He argues there can be no real immigration reform without a renewed and religiously grounded understanding of American citizenship. He does not want the immigrant to be a non-harassed free agent. He wants him to be integrated into a real civic fraternity bound by a sense of duty to the common spiritual mission of a renewed nation. That really is a different argument.

Many of the reviewers of this book seem to pat the archbishop on the head, and bemoan that he wasn’t quite up to the tough specifics of policy reform. They missed the central deep currents of the book. In his second chapter ("The Greater America") he introduces us to Californian historian Herbert Bolton. Bolton believed the only way to understand the meaning of our nation was to consider U.S. history in light of the “larger historical unities and interrelations of the Americas.
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By Charles N. Marrelli on February 14, 2014
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Archbishop Gomez wrote a fine pastoral book but it's incomplete; he’s addressing the wrong audience and never identifies the real resistance to mass legalization. If the Archbishop had addressed his book to the immigrants he’d have an outstanding winner and he would have virtually removed the massive resistance to reform. For example, on page 90 the bishop tells the immigrants that they have the obligation to be good potential citizens. What he wrote on that page should have been at least a full chapter; the resistance to immigration in general is that immigrants too often effect “change” rather than to assimilate graciously into the American society that they find. The resistance is to the “fundamental change” of the American scene because it is seen as muscling in rather than graciously accepting an invitation to join in. The Archbishop would be wise to follow up with book Two: Titled something like; Immigration is assimilation, not change; it’s a granted citizenship that should reflect an attitude of gratitude. This was precisely how my father felt as he became an American citizen and he told his children as they grew up how lucky they were that he and their mother came to America.
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