Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On a Franciscan e-group I belong to...

We have been discussing the new Arizona immigration law (are we asking the right questions like: how do we deal with this/how do we react to the law) and one of the participants in the conversation posted this today and I just wanted to share it and get some feedback from others:

I've been avoiding jumping into this conversation, but I think I'm going to just...not debate anything or argue with anyone, but just state a position as far to one side of the spectrum as I can go, and let it be part of the soup. Sometimes I find myself rationally pondering the U.S. immigration issue; and then I say to myself, "Wait a minute...what I really believe has nothing to do with these rational and practical considerations." So here's what I believe at the bottom of my very best heart.

Nations and their boundaries are an utterly human concoction, a development of our tendency to self-centeredness and sin, and are in no way, shape, or form part of the divine reality and divine goal for the human race revealed in Jesus Christ. God did not create a world of nations. Jesus did not die and rise for this or that nation. The church
from its very beginning knew no national boundaries, welcomed people of all nations, and has been and is a trans-national body owing allegiance to no nation on earth. A Christian is a member of the human race whose allegiance to God through Jesus Christ is untainted by allegiance to any human entity. A truly Christian response (you can tell a truly Christian action because it has a fair chance of being fatal) ... a truly Christian response to immigration would be to stand at any border anywhere on earth, and lean across it and say, "Is there anything I can do for you?"

I believe I'll stop there. That sounds sufficiently breath-taking in its arrogance and naivete -- or, perhaps, sufficiently childlike in its simple-minded devotion to the One who made, redeemed, and cherishes all human life, and all creation. Again, this is not meant to be an argument against anyone else's position. I doubt that I think and act consistently with this myself all the time (another test, in my own mind, for when something is true!). I'm just
putting it out there.

Peace and blessing,

David R.


Anonymous said...

I believe as a Christian we should follow and encourage others to follow the laws of the land except where they come in direct opposition to the laws of God. I do not believe that immigration laws are in direct opposition to the laws of God. However, I do believe that we can work for better laws in regards to immigration. We can work to make immigration an easier and clearer process. We can work properly within the system to change and modify it.

Can we offer to help immigrants? Of course. I think there are many ways to help. One is to help them come here legally. Why? It protects them from abuse and gives them legal protection. They can get fair pay for their work, safe environments to work in, etc. It is a good example of following the leaders that God has ordained. We can help them once here to learn English, get employment, housing etc.

I think being helpful is good, but I do not feel that rewarding people who break the laws and come here illegally is the answer. I think it endangers them and hurts everyone as a whole due to the abuses and just the bad example of law breaking. It also reduces opportunities for those who ARE trying to obey the law and do things properly.

I'm all for making immigration laws easier to understand and making the process easier for people... with more people qualifying. I just also feel that people should in fact obey those laws... and if they don't, they should go back home.

Anonymous said...

Borders are necessary in the proper husbandry of local resources. Any given area can only support a given number of occupants; that's just biological fact, no matter how desperate the "outsiders" are to come in. Would you let fifty people move into a three-bedroom house? including the percentage of them were criminals on the run? and the other percentage of them had no marketable skills or other way to earn their keep? Any such attempt would be self-destructive

Arizona mom to eight said...

I just spent an hour writing a response to this, it got LONG, and I saved it, it is a complex issue.

I am a native Arizonan, 3rd generation, and my husband, children and I are appalled by this bill, simply horrified and outraged, not everyone here supports it. I liked this persons take on things, an expatriot living in Mexico. I wonder what will happen to those folks now?

Tucson businesses have already lost millions after the passing of this bill, no one in our state asked us to vote on this, the state government passing it is a travesty, they did not speak for all of us.

Arizona mom to eight said...


MysticBlueRose said...

Good article, Kris. Thank you for sharing it with us.

jayiin mistaya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jayiin mistaya said...

The two scriptures that came to mind with I read David R's peice:

Matthew 22:36-40 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

1 Corinthians 13 1-13: If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Deb B. said...

Looking a couple of the comments, I realize that there are gross misunderstandings and misperceptions about illegal immigrants. To paint them with a broad brush and to label them as either/or, criminal or unskilled reflects lack of information our society has about them. Many of them come here HIGHLY skilled, or become highly skilled -- not in high-tech fields, but in construction. Contractors have a hard time finding Americans who want to do jobs like this.

I have had direct experience with these workers, as my home was halfway destroyed by a disaster last year. If it weren't for some of these people, I don't know where I'd be. In a sense, we have created a generation of young people who no longer have these skills by encouraging them to go for more glamorous, white-collar professions.

Bridget's Fire said...

Welcoming strangers is one of the greatest Biblical commandments of all. There is no rationalizing away God's imperative to welcome all people.

No human beings are illegal.

Anonymous said...

Why on earth would you WANT people to come here illegally? I'm more then happy to welcome people who come here legally. I'm happy to make the process to immigrate here less crazy. However, as previously stated there is a lot of protection in being here legally.

We are to obey the laws of the land except where they disagree with God's laws. There is nothing in having people immigrate here legally that is causing anyone to disobey God's laws.

Do you people want your cheap labor so badly that you are willing to encourage disobeying the law of this land as well as compromising the safety of our children and citizens (because there are actually dangerous illegals out there even if it isn't all of them). How is allowing these people to be paid poorly, allowing these people to work in crappy conditions that aren't legal, actually condoning their breaking of the law a good and Christian act?

If people choose to disobey the law, then they must also be willing to take the consequences. There are laws that regulate how to come here or to any country legally. As a Christian, we must follow these laws. To do otherwise is not just illegal, but a sin.

As for the article above that was posted. First, it would be nice if skilled laborers with college degrees and 15 years of experience were making $20/hour. I used to prior to all of this economic stuff. Since then I've had to take lower paying jobs so I actually had a job. Please excuse me if I don't feel that a person without that sort of education or skill should make so much just because. This isn't to say I feel only people with college degrees should make good money. There are many good trades like electrician, plumber, etc that are just as well education and definitely deserve their wages.

We have people in this country who know healing herbs and other modalities. Naturopathic physicians learn this as do traditional naturopaths and other professionals. We don't need Mexico to teach us.

It's also interesting that you state a person can live nicely for $1000 per month in Mexico and then also say they can't live on just under that if they make $5/day.

This article also assumes that if they can't get by, it justifies breaking the law to come here and have the US suck it up. We shouldn't do anything because look at their plight. Poppycock. They have a choice just as you or I have a choice of whether or not to commit a crime.

I'm for making these illegal immigrants go home... it is the price to pay for being caught at this crime. Being rewarded with citizenship or even a path to citizenship is not fair to those who are trying to come here legally. It's not even fair to them... if you think it's fair... next time your child breaks your rules... reward them highly instead of punishing them. At the end of raising them, see what sort of child you have. I don't think you'll be happy with it... especially if you continue over and over to reward them instead of punish them.

Anonymous said...

Every time I say that I think this law is ill-advised, the other side seems to jump to the conclusion that I am all for letting illegal immigrants overrun the country and I don't believe in laws and US sovereignty. All I am saying is that this law is unenforceable (and that's not even all that radical, many law enforcement agencies are saying about the same thing. My conservative ex-LAPD neighbor agrees (and we don't agree on anything) that the law is unenforceable (because of the reasonable suspicion section). That is the part that many people are protesting.

MysticBlueRose said...

No one is saying let every illegal immigrant come into the country...only that THIS PARTICULAR LAW may not be the right way to do this.

Anonymous said...

Here is a way to start:

1. If you go to the emergency room, bring proof of your citizenship... everyone. If you can't provide proof and are in crisis we will do what we can to stabilize you and then report you to the proper authorities. If even then you can't provide proof, we sent you home.

2. Register your kids for school, provide proof of citizenship... everyone. If you can't provide it, you are reported. If you still can't provide it, you are sent home.

3. Audits done of employers. If they hire illegal workers, heavy fines and penalties should be given. In order to stop people from hiring illegal workers, you must hit them where it hurts and hit them hard enough for them to take notice and care.

4. If you are stopped for any illegal act, you must provide proof of your citizenship or legal right to be in this country. If you can't, you are reported, given one more chance to provide it. If you can't provide it, you are sent back home.

5. Take the restraints off of our law enforcement for taking care of illegal aliens. They must be allowed to do their job.

6. Once a person has been deported for illegal immigration, they are no longer allowed to immigrate here period... they have broken federal law and lost their chance. There should be no more amnesty or second chances. Again, you hit where it hurts so people think twice or even three times before doing something stupid.

7. For illegal aliens who have children who are legal citizens... you send them all home. The children who are legal citizens retain their citizenship and may return if they desire after the age of 18. This way families aren't broken up and those with legal citizenship get to use it if they choose to when they are adults.

I don't really have a problem with Arizona's law either because they are actually trying to solve a problem that the federal government isn't choosing to address and fix. I'm in favor of fixing this problem because I've seen how it really is a problem. I have family who have had to enforce the border between the US and Mexico but aren't authorized to do much to actually enforce it. I've learned what a dangerous job it is.

Anonymous said...

I should say proof of citizenship or legal residence in this country... or for such things as the emergency room, your valid passport that has a stamp showing you are within the time allotment for being in this country.

Anonymous said...

Third world problems – which is the real reason why people are crossing into the US illegally. We need to concentrate on and help solve the problems with their economies, and their communities, and put the pressure on the companies that keep the sweatshops open. We need to work for third world solutions to solve poverty at its root by building communities there, where people can live in modest prosperity.

It seems as if those in favor of simple open borders would settle for having the Entire populations of third world countries immigrate to the US, leaving their countries totally desolate, and ours completely overrun. Our economy will not tolerate mass immigration, and the taxpayer will not be able to support the social demands placed upon us. No—I personally think we should double our efforts as missionaries and emissaries and help rebuild the third world, including Mexico.

Anonymous said...

I agree with individuals, groups, churches, etc getting involved to help these people in these countries. That's an awesome thing and a Christian thing. I do not believe we as a country can or even should go about trying to fix their economy. We have our own issues and our own huge expenses and debts. We need to fix those. It will cost more to fix the illegal immigration problem... to tighten our borders, but that is a necessity that will eventually help us to save money in my opinion.

greyone40 said...

I came here legally. I am required to carry my green card with me at all times. The Arizona law doesn't have anything more to it than the existing federal law, so the people making a fuss over it are really overplaying it. Whether to obey the law is not supposed to be a personal choice. The rule of law is based on such things as "God shows no partiality" and "God is no respecter of persons." All equal under the law is an important concept that is in the declaration of independence, a self evident truth, that all men are created equal. To apply the law in one case but not in another is not what this country was founded on.