Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The U.S. and Mexican bishops, in their influential pastoral letter Strangers No Longer, frame immigration ethics through the lens of solidarity with the immigrant. This frame leads them to erroneously interpret the preferential option for the poor and ignore potential harm to poor U.S. citizens caused by recent undocumented immigration from Mexico and other countries. A better framework to immigration ethics is a specified common good approach, which is created in this dissertation. This approach uses the definition of the common good found in Catholic social thought and concretizes it through using a theological anthropology based in Martha Nussbaum's human functioning capabilities approach and through developing a Common Good Index (CGI). This CGI is a set of twelve sociological indicator, which measures the common good through measuring to what extent basic levels of human capabilities are ensured for all people in society. Using the specified common good approach, the ethical focus becomes more balanced and true to original Catholic intent, attending to the needs of poor U.S. citizens as well as poor immigrants. The bishops' policy recommendations are affirmed through the specified common good approach, but additional policies are advocated - ones that aim to promote the capabilities of poor U.S. citizens that are threatened by immigration.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.