Immigration Reform

MigrantImmigration reform is a hotbed issue in the political arena, and it received renewed attention when the Virginia congressman Eric Cantor lost his primary election.

The first reports concerning this “shocking defeat” concluded that Mr. Cantor’s position on immigration reform was the issue that brought him down. Pundits rushed to add that this result spelled doom for any hope for a change in our immigration law in the near future.

“Immigration reform is almost certainly dead on Capitol Hill this year,” according to Politico. And Fox News agreed: “Cantor’s loss could send immigration talks into a deep freeze.” Candidates, the thinking goes, would be too afraid of their constituents’ response if they back any meaningful overhaul of our current failed policies.

A few voices of reason have restored some order to this discussion. This election involved one state, one primary, with low voter turn out. It does not necessarily reflect a national trend! Sadly, however, I think the events surrounding the Virginia primary are a microcosm of what’s wrong with politics in America.

First, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, which recently commemorated those who died to defend our country and what we stand for, only a minority actually exercise their right to vote. The majority might grumble and complain, but they remain on the sidelines.

Second, the media drives the discussion. Once we believed in journalistic integrity in this country, which meant that nothing was reported as fact unless it was verified by at least two sources. So where is the data that proves as fact that voters turned away from Cantor because of his stance on immigration?

Third, once the media has delivered their “findings,” their reports drive the discussion and color the convictions of many.

Fourth, politicians care more about keeping their job than about serving their country. We no longer have a majority of leaders willing to do what’s right at the expense of their job or the loss of their precious legacy.

Gerald_Ford_(portrait)The truth is, those who work unselfishly for the good of others often have the legacy the power-hungry covet. I think, for example, of President Gerald Ford, the only US President never to be elected as either President or Vice President. He came to power because Congress chose him to fill the Vice Presidency to replace Spiro Agnew, leaving him in line for the Presidency when Richard Nixon resigned. His controversial move one month into his tenure was to pardon Nixon of his crimes committed as President because he believed this to be the quickest way to put the Watergate scandal behind the country and promote healing.

Many grant in hindsight that [Ford] had respectably discharged with considerable dignity a great responsibility that he had not sought. His subsequent loss to Carter in 1976 has come to be seen as an honorable sacrifice he made for the nation. (“Gerald Ford”)

Who in government is making honorable sacrifices today?

On the contrary, we have reports of “leaders” distancing themselves from one of the issues that desperately needs to be addressed—the question of our immigration plan.

As it is, our borders remain porous—allowing drug smuggling as well as human trafficking to take place. For months, perhaps years, places along our borders have endured gang wars as various drug cartels battle for control of the drug pipelines to our cities.

At the same time, poor, downtrodden immigrants from Central America and Mexico search for ways to escape the danger, poverty, and brutality of the countries they are fleeing. Sometimes they end up as virtual slaves here in America because they turned to an unscrupulous coyote to provide them with passage into the US. Some die. Others reach their destination penniless because they spent all they had on their flight.

In short, illegal immigration continues to take place. We have not adequately addressed how to protect our borders from the criminal activity that takes place or how to identify people in genuine need of asylum in America.

Making matters worse, we also have second generation illegals who came to the US as children or whose parents came illegally before they were born. Some face the possibility of deportation to a country they have never known, others the prospect of separation from their parents.

That’s the price of illegal activity, some will say. However, that kind of hard line is not a position we take with any other comparable criminal behavior. For example, if someone smuggles a costly souvenir from their vacation into the US because they don’t want to pay the duty, are they deported? Is their property taken from them without a chance to redeem it?

In addition, in what other circumstances are children punished because of the decision of their parents, the way immigrant children face deportation because their parents brought them to the US when they were infants or toddlers?

Clearly changes need to take place in the area of immigration. Some, shamefully using a kind of “us four and no more” mentality, want to see the US close to new immigrants altogether. Others advocate for the kind of amnesty that turns resident illegal immigrants into citizens which the country tried in the 1980s.

Neither extreme is a workable solution, but continuing the status quo isn’t workable either. That leaves immigration reform as the only answer.

Unfortunately, this complex problem with many facets requires real leadership to find a way out of the morass, and apparently right now our federal government is in short supply of that quality.

My hope is that Christians can lead the way. Rather than threatening to withhold support from a candidate who wishes to address this issue, we should be on the front lines encouraging them to do so.

We need sensible, just, compassionate change in our immigration policy which requires honest, fair men and women to find the best solutions. Yes, I wish those in leadership were true servants, willing to put the good of the nation ahead of their own political future, but in lieu of the ideal, we should look to the next best thing—citizens rallying behind candidates who are willing to study the issue and search for an answer.

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

I’ll be honest. I believe we’re responsible before God for what we do about unwanted children, elderly widows who can’t support themselves, and aliens and strangers looking for hope and help.

The latter is our mission field, come to us instead of us going to them. The least we can do is to advocate for a fair policy that can offer them hope and help rather than a closed door.

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19 Comments

  1. I think you summed it up well enough. Time will tell, but many in Christian leadership think that God has abandoned America, and we are seeing the wide-ranging consequences of such abandonment. Perhaps, if they are right, failure to fix this problem is just one of them.

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    • You could be right, Russ. But I think believers need to warn in the same way Ezekiel was told to warn in Ez. 3 and again in Ez. 33. Here’s a chance for us to be compassionate and forgiving, to think of others more highly than ourselves, to love our neighbors and share with those less fortunate than we are. To put them on our donkey, so to speak. It grieves me to hear people accusing Christians of not caring. We need to care and we need to be vocal about it.

      Becky

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      • I hope you aren’t saying if you love Christ, you would support any and all of the illegals coming into this country who want to, or it would make you look bad to the world. And what the world thinks of a Christian is overarching….
        I think moving these children from Central America to the U.S. right now, is a ploy backed by our present admin to force the immigration issue, and get votes, and to blame the drug/gun running issues on the Republicans, so they can get to their end game.
        I used to work in the Democratic Party and for years associated with the Leftists who have been taking that party over…everything is politics to the Left, and not a thing they do is Christian.
        Do you remember the last Democratic convention where they were going to take God out of everything? Look at what they are doing in the Middle East. The suffering of our neighbors there. None of this is right.
        We do need a way to have the people already here come out of the shadows, that is for sure, but it does not have to be a pathway to citizenship. We also need other reforms for the legal immigrants.
        If you lived in Central America, you must have some idea about what was going on there when Reagan was president, and the religious part of the strife.

        The Bible says we are to use God’s creation and His money wisely. We are not doing that in this country right now. And, the first thing we are to do is worship Him…. And there are clauses on loving your neighbor as yourself, especially if your” love “actually causes harm to your other neighbors in the long run. Do you believe you get to heaven through works?

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      • Rebecca, if anyone mistook us for the same person before, I think they might realize now “it ain’t so.” 😉 You said:

        And what the world thinks of a Christian is overarching….

        I actually don’t think it’s important what the world thinks of us. Scripture tells us that they hated Jesus so we should expect them to hate us, too.

        My views about how Christians should respond to the illegal immigration problem and to illegal immigrants is based on what I understand Scripture to say. Not as a way for us to earn our way to heaven and not so we receive brownie points from God. Rather, if we are to live to please our Lord and Savior, then I think our heart should be after the same things His heart was after.

        He made it abundantly clear in both Old and New Testaments that He cares for the least, the lowest, and the lost. He said when we feed, clothe, visit the needy, the imprisoned, we’re essentially doing our acts of kindness to Christ.

        It seems the Church today wants to throw money at the problems we see but not actually put ourselves on the line for others.

        I really don’t care if the Democrats are behind bringing these thousands of children to America (but I think that’s an uncharitable accusation if there is no evidence to back it up). The children are real people who are either lost and alone or are pawns in someone else’s scheme, as well as being lost and alone. If the latter, I don’t think we’re excused from helping them. And by “we” I don’t mean the American government. I mean the Church. We ought to be volunteering at the holding facilities to hold Sunday services for them, to give them birthday parties, to read stories to them, to toss a ball with them, to do what kids need an adult to do—love them.

        And we ought to do what we can to encourage our government to change the conditions that have fostered these circumstances.

        I don’t understand why anyone living near the southern border things the status quo is better than immigration reform. It does not make sense to me. Things right now are going against law abiding citizens. Border patrol can’t keep up with the smuggling and the illegal crossings. Day after day we make the problem of illegal immigration worse by doing nothing.

        Do I have a solution to all the problems? No, but I think reasonable people can come up with ideas that will make the situation better than it is now.

        One illegal immigrant recently said, People keep telling us we should get in the back of the line; show me the line and I’ll gladly get in the back.

        There’s the problem. We have given people who have lived in the US illegally no options. They don’t know what they can do to right things.

        Some people say, You can right things by leaving. But I find that to be mean-spirited and selfish. We want those who have done nothing illegal but come to the US to leave because we want a bigger slice of the pie?

        The fact is, many of these immigrants have no place to go. They don’t have homes in the lands they left and some even face reprisal from oppressive governments.

        Of course there is also a criminal element that has come across the border. The rules need to be different for them. But as far as I know, our existing policies don’t distinguish between those who come to practice illegal activity and those who come hoping to find the American dream.

        We need a better way of handling the two distinct groups—something immigration reform can address.

        Becky

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        • I do have the facts to back up my beliefs on illegal immigration and would gladly send them to you. We have had liberal church groups on the border and from all over the country encouraging illegal immigration for years now. And we have had the sanctuary cities which also encourage it.
          If you have a chance to listen to what Eric Holder has been saying and doing about this, please do it. The admin is behind this child illegal immigration happening right now…You live in SoCal and have watched people leave your state over the crime rates, high taxes, and terrible schools. You must know the politics of the people running your state have everything to do with the problems you have there, including the immigration issue.
          Some in our government seemed to have been very prepared for this “crisis.” Maybe they knew about the ads on the radio in Central America…Have you seen the photos of the children coming on the trains to the border?
          I am sure if the DHS needs help from the Christian community around here they will ask for it. But I doubt they would want anyone praying with the children. Encouraging prayer or Christianity anywhere certainly hasn’t been their modus operandi.
          But, who knows, they do believe the end justifies the means. So, maybe we will see some grand religious services and some toys donated from a church group or two.

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        • Your response makes me sad, Rebecca. I am not advocating for Christians to throw money at the problem or to team up with the government, though I’d like to see us hold our representatives responsible for their fear and inactivity. I certainly am not suggesting we put bandaids over the problem such as you seem to think I am. I happen to believe that loving little children is what God would want us to do(buying toys, no; playing with children, yes). I’d like to know where in the Bible you see God directing us to have a different response.

          You seem more interested in a beat down of liberals than you do of holding up God’s name and doing what He’s directed us to do. That makes me incredibly sad.

          Becky

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          • I like it when you say it isn’t important what “we” think, and then give me your opinion on what the scripture says. Although I don’t quote the Bible, I do read it, and listen to pastors whom I respect. I have a pretty good idea of what Christ would think of this latest round of bringing people into this country with a never mind to law. This is a political action, and one which has scared a lot of people. It was a planned and secretive deal.

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          • So are you saying, Rebecca, that this problem that you perceive is greater than God’s ability to handle it? Why is fear the default position for a Christian? Shouldn’t it be trust that God can work His will in and through the circumstances with which we’re confronted? Shouldn’t we be looking for ways that we can repay good for evil instead of evil for evil? Shouldn’t we be loving our neighbors and our enemies? I don’t have any doubt that this is what God wants because this is what Jesus did.

            Becky

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          • God can handle this. He handled pornography on the net. He handled gay marriages in some of His churches. He seems fine with unbelieving pastors. He handled the degradation of television programs quite well. Birth control, too. No I am not saying God can’t handle this.

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  2. Someone is behind paying for these children to come from southern Mexican border to the Texas border through Mexico. The coyotes don’t transport people over 800 miles, or whatever the distance, for free. We fought Mexico, and had border disputes with them for years. Our country bought the land and built the southern border through the hottest part of the desert and used a river for a divide, and did not take Mexico City for good reasons. Mexico and the other countries south the border have long histories of instability, unrest and no problem with dictators running their lives for them! They vote them in to office. They have a different culture and cannot be assimilated easily. The border was built to prevent our country from becoming like South America, while at the same time, not preventing them from living the way they want to. We have liberal churches, people in the media, and in Hollywood who have been stirring the pot for years on immigration. There isn’t enough paper here to explain it. Foreign aid, is one way we help widows and orphans. We also donate money to the UN and they have programs. If we become a depressed nation, we aren’t going to be able to help anybody. And, the Bible does not say to give your money to the government to help widows and orphans. George Fox (the Quaker) wrote a great book on the two thousand year old religious/political fighting. it is called “The Book of Martyrs,” and is free online. Some of the players have changed sides, including the Quakers, but check it out. http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/22400. It is eye opening. The book “The New Order’, by the Socialist H. G. Wells, is also online and is a must read for those interested in today’s politics.

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    • Rebecca, I’m aware of the issues involved with immigration from Mexico—I live in Southern California.

      But I also spent a summer in Mexico City and three years in Guatemala. The people who are coming from the south aren’t, by virtue of the country they left, lovers of dictatorships or depressed circumstances. They are people.

      You might be correct about somebody funding the children coming into the country without adults. I wondered as I heard the news how those from Central America made it across Mexico. Where did they sleep, what did they eat? Did they walk the whole way? It seems next to impossible. But if somebody is using them, that’s just another kind of slave trafficking, don’t you think? I mean, the kids have been separated from their family–willingly?

      And what are they to do now?

      If we sent them back across the border, they’d just cross again as soon as possible.

      Which is one reason we need immigration reform! We need to know what we are doing in these kinds of circumstances. Instead we are creating the child equivalent of Guantanamo because we don’t have a clear policy.

      We also need immigration reform so we can adequately address smuggling and drug trafficking and other gang activity that has terrorized some of our border towns. We need a policy that will help us prevent terrorists from using Mexico as a gateway into our country.

      We also need immigration reform so we can have a uniform policy about drivers licenses and the use of welfare services and income tax and a host of other issues.

      We need immigration reform so we can start a process that allows those who want to be law-abiding citizens a chance for naturalization.

      Without immigration reform we give people no options.

      Deportation of all illegal immigrants is not tenable because of the difficulty of identifying all, funding their transportation, and preventing a return trip. As it is, we can’t seem to keep out those who have been deported because of convictions of crimes.

      The status quo simply does not work!

      But here’s the issue for Christians, even if showing the love of Christ to those who come into our country would ruin our economy, I don’t see an “out clause” in Scripture. There’s no condition put on “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There’s no suggestion that we are to be kind as long as they stay on their side of the wall.

      It’s time Christians start advocating for a just and compassionate solution–which requires reform of what we’re doing now.

      We need creative minds and brave leaders who will step up and advocate for the right kinds of changes. If Christians can’t do that, then who?

      Becky

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  3. Rebecca says: “You could be right, Russ. But I think believers need to warn in the same way Ezekiel was told to warn in Ez. 3 and again in Ez. 33. Here’s a chance for us to be compassionate and forgiving, to think of others more highly than ourselves, to love our neighbors and share with those less fortunate than we are. To put them on our donkey, so to speak. It grieves me to hear people accusing Christians of not caring. We need to care and we need to be vocal about it.”
    Does this mean you have a guest room or house where you shelter feed and clothe illegal immigrants? Because a warning from a harmless church who has rendered herself entirely irrelevant through almost comprehensive conformity to a world she is supposed to salt and light to doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in the lives of these children.

    Where in the scriptures do we find Jesus or the apostles telling us to enlist Rome and Ceaser to do charitable works for the church? I am NOT attacking you Rebecca. Clearly you have a broken heart for these people, but your very fervent prayers and personal sacrifice for them is what is everywhere commanded in scripture. Not the partnering with a God hating pagan magistrate that would murder it’s own children for money and power. .

    Here’s the reality. Like so many other unnecessary disasters now facing this Canaanite nation, there is NO solution. Write it down, give it God and get some sleep. Barring a supernatural act of divinely sovereign national revival? It is OVER. we are headed in rocket sled fashion into the dung heap of has been superpowers.

    We absolutely ARE under Romans 1 judgement as I type this. Mark my words. If you doubt that. You won’t for much longer. It hurts me to see you hanging on a fantasy that will never materialize.

    I for one would not turn you in and would admire your conviction if you were to personally house illegal children to save them. That would be righteous disobedience in my book. Just to be clear. But unhook yourself from those loathsome creatures in DC dear sister. You are headed for a world of heartbreak if you don’t.

    (please do check your FB inbox)

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    • Russ or Greg or Tiribulus (not sure which name to address you by), first century Christians did not live in a democracy. Since we do, since our Constitution says “government by the people” we are complicit if we do or say nothing.

      We have a responsibility to stand up to our shrinking violet representatives and say, do the right thing—which in this case is, swallow your fear and get immigration reform done, even at the cost of your jobs. It’s what our nation needs. But no. For some unknown reason, a number of Christians are siding with the status quo advocates. That’s nuts. What we are doing now is broken.

      But the second part of your comment troubles me. If God is about to judge our nation, I don’t think that gives us a free pass to roll over and do nothing. I know a number of Christians are praying for revival. As I see it, we may only experience the kind of revival Judah saw under King Josiah—short lived and apparently not far reaching—but I’ll take that over no revival.

      America has shouldered much of the missionary activity in the world. It’s encouraging to see other nations doing more and more in this regard. But we are still rich beyond measure and have the resources to pour into evangelistic outreaches. We as Christians ought to want these ministries to continue, but is that the legacy we are leaving the next generation?

      Becky

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      • Teaming up with the government on this one is a ministry to you? Do you mean fixing immigration, or keeping the borders open, or both?

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        • Rebecca, I’m not sure how you reached that conclusion. I think we need immigration reform. I think our representatives aren’t acting for the best interest of the nation but are putting their own interests and desire for re-election ahead of leading.

          I don’t know how these matters can be resolved. I have some ideas, but I’m not well enough informed to presume to tell Congress what compromise they should reach. Because it must be a compromise or nothing will get done. And Nothing is unacceptable.

          Becky

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          • You happened to start this conversation at the very time the newest border problems became front page news in at least some of the newspapers around the country. Since that time, we have learned more about it. Getting these children to come to this country en masse, was planned starting in at least last January, if not before. And, it was started in order to influence a part of the government (Congress). We seem to be going in circles on this. I have a lot of problems with this situation. Some of them have been stated here before. Our politicians are supposed to do what is best for the American people. I think it would be much simpler and healthier for the country if they did that. Religious groups have been influencing our government since its beginning. They have not been secretive about it. It often makes the news. And if they are “liberal” they do not believe in the God of the Bible. They believe in political causes which will weaken the Christian influence in this country.

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  4. Rebecca says: “(Russ or Greg or Tiribulus (not sure which name to address you by)”

    May it be done unto and much more if I lie. I have no idea who Russ is. That’s number one. My name is GREG SMITH 🙂 Doesn’t that just narrow it right down? I include “Tiribulus” because that has been my online handle for 14 years. There are those who will know which Greg Smith it is when they see that handle. I refuse, for better or worse, to be mistaken for anybody else.

    On that note, I have not ever even once, in the dozens and dozens of sites I’ve posted on, used any other names or handles, nor have I in any other way or manner attempted to conceal or deceive as regards my identity. I do not play games with people. I trust going forward that this has been made unmistakably clear. I declare and proclaim what I do without apology or pretense as it is based squarely on the Christian scriptures as held in the tradition of historic reformed orthodoxy.

    You know what this really about Rebecca and it’s completely unnecessary. I have enormous respect for you and am NOT your enemy insofar as it depends upon me. I do so very much look forward to your promised engagement at SPECULATIVE FAITH WHEN you are reasonably able and only at such a pace as is convenient. I have some thoughts on your response on immigration here as well, but no time at the moment. It appears I have fallen short in my communication in that regard.

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    • Sorry, Greg, when you quoted what I said to Russ, I thought you were answering as if you were Russ.

      But I don’t understand why you say things like “I’m not your enemy.” Have I said something to give you the impression that I think you’re my enemy?

      Becky

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      • You say” “Sorry, Greg, when you quoted what I said to Russ, I thought you were answering as if you were Russ. “
        It looked like you were accusing me of using multiple identities. A most deplorable practice employed by perfidious internet trolls. I am thrilled to accept your word that you were not. 🙂 Consider it forgotten and in the past and to the extent that the misunderstanding may have been my fault, I myself also apologize.

        You ask: “Have I said something to give you the impression that I think you’re my enemy?”
        No, but we are having tension on a couple fronts so I simply wanted to proactively neutralize any possible suspicions in that direction before they get started. I have an “assertive” manner at times so especially in this case with you, I want you to believe that I view you on the other front to be an opponent interlocutor, but not an adversary. There is a profound difference.

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