In 2014, I published my first book, "Heroes of Faith". In the book I have a chapter devoted to Governor Jan Brewers fight to secure the Mexican-American border and reform immigration policies in the western states. I got a lot of flack early on for defending Gov. Brewer, saying I was a racist, bigot, and lacked empathy for the woes of immigrants fleeing their country. These words are commonly thrown out by left leaning individuals as they seemingly try to stifle the market of free speech and ideas. But perhaps conservatives and Christians alike need to do a better job of explaining immigration views. While most conservatives wish to have a border wall and a fully loaded military; perhaps we need to explain why we cannot continue to allow America to have no policy on the matter.
1. First we must define for Americans what Amnesty means because it keeps changing!
The first definition of Amnesty was "coming to America uninvited".
Then, in 1965, under Ted Kennedy's immigration act, Amnesty meant "coming to America illegally if you already had relatives here". In 2000 we had a new definition come out of the wave immigrants fleeing homeland genocides and disasters. It was defined as "coming to America illegally with reason, but with the expectation of free stuff". Today in , Amnesty has morphed to include all of the above and more; "coming to America, uninvited and illegally, with the expectation of free stuff from our government". See how the definition has morphed to become less about the individual coming in and more about the expectations once they arrive? It is never healthy to enter a situation expecting such a rigid set of expectations. on the flip side, it is never healthy to offer such a set of accommodations when they cant be afforded. It is ok to use caution when defining immigration reform policies that might work.
2. There is a difference between illegal immigrants and Sojourners.
Derrick Jeter expounds on this issue best in his 2013 article in the Christian Post, "The Bible and Immigration Reform". He states that many liberal Christians have morphed the command from Leviticus chapter 19 "love your neighbor as your self", into a modern, no questions asked view of mankind. While I agree that we need to do what we can for our fellow man, use of this modern interpretation of this verse can become unethical and irresponsible when related to immigration reform. Lets break it down.
America cannot afford to continue to offer sanctuary to millions of illegal immigrants with the expectations currently being given. This is financially irresponsible and teaches an unethical approach to the nature of America. What makes America great still is that we each have the ability to WORK to achieve our dreams. It is because of that work ethic, that the greatest inventions have been developed. The telephone, MRI machines, landing a man on the moon. No one just handed these individuals the resources to achieve these. They had to try, fail, and try again.
Now the difference comes in when we begin to see that someone wishing to come to America is a sojourner. A sojourner comes with no interest to change the country they wish to enter; only assimilate into the culture as a legal citizen. We see very few of these individuals today. Why? We have made it harder to follow the laws that we have by offering incentives we cannot afford financially and ethically.
It is not wrong for Christians to have immigration views like these, and it is certainly not something that deserves an apology on their behalf. Immigration is an issue that takes empathy and compassion. You have to know the history and respect the history to be able to make changes for the future. But Christian compassion does not mean that a nation must give up its right to choose by what means a person can enter that nation. It simply means that they understand the situation and are willing to bring ideas to the table that will help.
"Love is Patient. Love is Kind."