Three things to consider about immigration reform

Julia K. Stronks

June 22, 2011

This is a topic that really needs our attention, and it is refreshing to see it addressed from a Biblical perspective. There are so many points that need to be considered, and I suspect it will take the wisdom of Solomon to unravel how best to respond to the immigration problem. I suspect that recognizing it is nuanced and that knee-jerk reactions will always be inadequate to it is a step in the right direction.

Reading your second point, I was reminded of a news article I read a few weeks ago, about how a state Representative in Massachusetts said the undocumented should be afraid to report rapes. I bring that up because I think it is a crucial part of the Biblical concept of just law. The law must be adequate to protect the weakest in our society, and so creating whole classes outside the protection of the law (which is a big part of what undocumented status does), that strikes me as very suspect. That consideration strikes me as among the most important, and I am sorry that it does not figure more fully into the immigration debate, both within and beyond Christian circles.

Jonathan Downie
June 22, 2011

I have to say that I find the idea of sphere sovereignty a bit dangerous. The problem is that this very idea can easily turn into a kind of buck-passing where noone takes responsibility because they think it falls into someone else's sphere. Worse, it might discourage teamwork as people could be scared of stepping on someone's toes. Much better would be a kind of "mutual honour" where we recognise that the federal, state and local governments, business etc have different capabilities and strengths and can work well together by filling in for the weaknesses of each other.

June 22, 2011

Throughout the Old Testament, the people of Israel are told not only by the Law but by the Prophets: "When a foreigner resides with you in your land, you must not oppress him. The foreigner who resides with you must be to you like a native citizen among you; so you must love him as yourself, because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt." (Lev. 19:34)
And that was for a state where national identity and citizenship were based on family line and ethnicity, not simply from having been born in Israel. There weren't really "immigration" policies back then; one was either an Israelite, or one wasn't.

How much more so, then, should this verse be taken to heart by Americans, who are all (with the exception of Native Americans) descended from immigrants and foreigners to this land, who aren't Americans because of ethnic identity but because we were either born or naturalized into this country?

"Love the foreigner as yourself." That's a far cry from the rhetoric we're hearing today about immigrants, and certainly a far cry from the Arizona law—where simply looking like you might be an immigrant if you get pulled over for speeding is enough to require you to provide positive proof of citizenship. 

One would think that those who claim that America is a "Christian nation" would be the quickest to call for compassion and love for immigrants; sadly, this hasn't been the case, has it?

June 24, 2011

A fourth consideration is NAFTA and CAFTA trade agreements which have displaced millions of people south of our borders, mainly farmers. For most, their only recourse to starvation is immigration.

June 24, 2011

A fourth consideration, the NAFTA and CAFTA trade agreements have displaced millions of farmers south of our borders...for many, their only recourse to starvation is immigration.

These trade policies have also displaced workers here in the US all in the name of corporate profits. And is the large corporations, like Tyson and its brutal meat packing houses, and Bissel, with its sweatshop Chicagoland warehouses, that boost their profits even higher by taking unfair advantage of illegal immigrant labor.

June 27, 2011

As just one friend to many marginalized friends in my community, several of whom have immigration issues (Haitians with *temporary* protective status), I am constantly seeking to learn more about our nation's history and current policy making with regard to immigration. Also, as I've loved my neighors and gotten invested in their lives, it's very hard to put a nationalist argument above one of love for my neighbor. Thank you for this post.

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