In looking at the continuing immigration debate in the United States, I think that Christians are, in some ways, put in a difficult situation. Christians have the moral obligation handed down by Christ to take care of the poor and no stipulations were given on whether or not “poor” is to include legal or illegal immigrants. The parable of the Good Samaritan shows that all humans are our neighbors. Thus, in the economy of God, whether or not one has the legal status of a certain country is irrelevant when considering if that someone is a neighbor.
At the same time, an open border policy can actually hurt illegal immigrants currently in the US. It can lower wages, increase crime, and eradicate all the reasons they came here. So Christians are left with a contradiction – support those who come here to make a better life for themselves while at the same time supporting tighter border security.
Why Christians should be for tighter border security –
The job of a government is to protect its citizens. As Christians, we should support the government in doing what God has established it to do. When the government fails in its God-given duty, we should hold the government accountable.
A loose border with Mexico has caused an increase of crime via drug smugglers. They have brought their violence over into the US. This means an innocent family trying to come to the US for a better life can be sold into slavery or worse, murdered, by the drug cartel along the border. By supporting an open border or a loose border, or by not doing anything to fix the current situation, the dignity of human life is significantly devalued.
When a Christian calls for stricter enforcement on the border, however, it should not be because we want to protect our jobs or we fear that whites will somehow be “bred” out. Rather, it should be because we see the violence that a loose border is causing and how this is actually hurting innocent immigrants who merely want a better life for their family.
The second reason Christians should desire tighter border security is to prevent some illegal immigrants from being an economic burden. When some come over here to take advantage of welfare or Medicare, but don’t pay taxes, this creates pressure on the economy that simply cannot be supported. Likewise, since they’re not paying taxes, it’s not fair that they get these services while some US citizens, who struggle to get by, wouldn’t necessarily qualify for these services.
Third, by tightening up security on the border, it prevents illegal immigration. I am not against illegal immigration as inherently evil, but rather that it’s extremely unfair for someone to skip the fees that another had to pay. It’s not fair that one person struggled for ten years to become a citizen, paid money, went through the legal process, faced the stress of dealing with all the issues of becoming a citizen while another person simply crosses the border and pays nothing.
Fourth, for whatever reason many illegal immigrants have formed an absolute hatred for the United States and this has spilled over into US citizens with a Hispanic background. One merely needs to look at how wearing the American flag on Cinco de Mayo (not even a widely celebrated holiday in Mexico) was viewed as extremely offensive to a group of students in San Francisco. Why though? As Christians, we should encourage citizens to support their government (so long as what the government is doing is ethical) and not hold an attitude of disdain toward the nation itself. The reason for this is that disdain for the nation will always lead to armed struggles, which again devalues life.
For the above reasons, I highly believe that Christians should support tighter border security and desire to see a decrease in illegal immigration.
Why Christians should support illegal immigrants –
Notice that I used the word “immigrants” rather than “immigration.” The fact is, if someone is here, then it is our duty to help them.
I think Christians would go a long way if, in their support for tighter border security, they also lobbied to open up the process of citizenship. Rather than giving preferential treatment to educated foreign workers, why not allow the poor to come into America? After all, that is something our nation prided herself on for over one hundred years.
Secondly, as Christians we need to reach out to the Hispanic community. Every single church in America that is near an urban area should be offering English as a second language classes for free. We should be reaching out and helping the Hispanic community learn the predominate language of the US.
Third, we need to learn their language (and I hold myself to this as well). If we are going to reach out to Hispanics, especially the illegal immigrant community, it only makes sense that we speak their language. The whole idea of “This is America and only English can be spoken” is absurd. Christianity has a rich tradition of reaching out to all people from all nations. Our Christianity comes before our Americanism.
Fourth, we need to help provide financial services for these immigrants. Some churches simply may not be able to do this due to their size and members. But the US has perfected the use of mega-churches, so why not finally put them to good use? Instead of building $30 million sanctuaries (and that’s not an exaggeration, a church in my area has a building program that will cost them $30 million), why not use that to provide proper education and healthcare to illegal immigrants? Why not use that money to help illegal immigrants get started on the path to being legal?
Fifth, for those of us close to the border and who illegal immigrants might come to in a time of need, we need to provide shelter, food, and water. Rather than turning them away or simply not opening the door, we need to treat them as humans because they are human.
Sixth, we need to deplore and speak out against racist attitudes towards Hispanics and towards laws that only help to oppress our Hispanic brethren. If a law encourages racial profiling or unintentionally treats Hispanics as second class citizens, we need to civilly speak out against such a law and work to have it overturned or revamped in a way that the problems in the law are eradicated.
If we wish to see unity in the nation, then we must begin developing a community. I whole-heartedly believe that the reason those students in San Francisco were offended by the American flag is not because Mexican immigrants hate the US, but because the US hasn’t really reached out to them. Certainly racial pride plays a factor in some of this, but if Christians lived as Christians, we could help many immigrants get over such prejudices. We could build an actual community where one did not take pride in the country of one’s origin or allow it to become a dividing line, but rather where one took pride in the Savior who died for all races and nationalities.