Journal Title

Journal of Catholic Social Thought





First Page


Document Type


Publication Information



Borders and fences limit the opportunity to engage the Other. Society’s ability to engage the unknown is essential to comprehend personal identity, and an unfunded, incomplete fence on one border questions America’s ability to know itself. A fence establishes a boundary distinguishing the safety of the known from fear of the unknown, but the exchange between the two is essential to genuine self-discovery. The lives of Mexican immigrants, marginalized Palestinian mothers, and Australian aborigines reveal a common motive to support their families and culture. Understanding their stories, struggles, and desires transforms them from immigration statistics to human beings worthy of compassion. God’s grace and revelation require interaction with the immigrant, the poor, and the stranger. Catholic teachings encourage open discussion of complicated and controversial issues facing the modern world.

Recommended Citation

Emily Albrink Hartigan, When Borders Cross People: Whose [Who’s] Poor, or The Spirit of Immigration, 5 J. Cath. Soc. Thought 161 (2008).

Included in

Law Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.