Wednesday, May 3

Seven Things I Think I Think

Last night at Quest we discussed the current immigration debate/discussion that is going on in the United States right now. We discussed both what we thought about the issue personally, and what we thought a proper spiritual perspective on the issue would be. Like so many things, there were lots of questions, and not nearly as many answers.

With apologies to Sports Illustrated's Peter King and his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback column, where I borrowed this idea, here are seven things I think I think about the issue.

1. I am in favor of legal immigration. Immigrants add something good to our country, and have for generations. How can it be bad to want to bring people into this country who truly want to be here?

2. I think I'm in favor of increasing the number of immigrants who are allowed to come to the U.S. and starting a Guest Worker program. This is for the reasons above, and because it does seem that many immigrants are willing to do jobs that many native born Americans would rather not do.

3. I am in favor of cracking down on illegal immigrants. If people want to come to the U.S. they need to follow the rules. In a country based on the rule of law, you don't get to pick and choose which rules and which laws you want to follow. If people want the benefits and protections provided by the laws of the United States, then I think they should have to follow them when coming to the country. Also, providing social services to illegal immigrants causes a drain on the tax base.

4. I am deeply bothered by the people who attempt to equate being opposed to illegal immigration with being anti-immigration as a whole, or even worse, with being a bigot. Saying that all immigrants should follow the laws regarding entry into the country doesn't necessarily mean that you oppose immigration or are prejudiced against the immigrants.

5. No matter what country we come from, we are all the same in God's eyes. With Jesus, nationality isn't important. In fact, it's not even something he notices. If nationality or ethnicity doesn't matter to Jesus, then it shouldn't matter to me.

6. At the same time, when Jesus was on Earth, he recognized the difference between the political and the spiritual. And he made it clear that he was concerned about the spiritual, not the political. The discussion about there being no difference between Jew and Greek is set within the context of the church, and therefore may not translate to the spiritual arena.

7. As a follower of Christ, I am commanded to love my neighbor as myself. My "neighbor" is anybody besides me. So immigrants, legal or illegal, are my neighbor. People living in other countries are my neighbor. So I am commanded to love them. Am I violating that love if I tell someone "I know you think you will have a better life for you and your family here in the U.S., but you can't stay because you didn't follow the rules"? That's the question I don't know if I have an answer for.

As seems to be the case a lot lately, I have more questions than answers...


lpangelrob said...

Two more things to add to the list.

1.) Improperly citing history does no good for the present. Just now I responded to a reply that said in sum, well, we stole half of Mexico in the first place, and now we're telling them to get off their land. It's not like we also designated that Mexico should be a third-world country forever, either...

This is related to slave reparations distantly, but that's a whole other subject. :-)

Also, blaming the ancestors of those that could conceivably fix a problem has never, ever been a serious discussion point. In this case I will include slave reparations, but only because what people today have done to help the underprivileged has been pretty lousy.

2.) I think a guest worker program would only work if we really closed the southern border, which I think is impossible. :-)

Scott Wilder said...

I'm not really sure that I understand the merits of a guest-worker program. It seems to me that people from other countries come here intending to stay or to go back home at some point.

People intending to stay need to go through the citizenship process.

People intending to eventually leave need to do so within the parameters of their visa.

People here illegally need to be confronted about their intentions and treated accordingly. If they're here illegally and have no intention of going through the citizenship process; then they need to be respectfully sent back to their home country.