In our world there are always going to be issues where our faith and our politics come into conflict. We serve the Prince of Peace, but sometimes find ourselves warring against other nations and ideologies. We find our conservative politics comes into conflict with the admonition of Jesus to “let the little children come unto me.” We are admonished by our faith to treat strangers with love and concern, but our politics tells us to stop them from coming to my house (country).
Frankly, I am not sure how to answer the dilemma I am confronted with when I hear my conservative friends railing against illegal immigrants. Yes, I know they have broken the law, but I am not responsible for upholding the law. I am responsible for how I treat the “stranger within our gates.”
It is easy for me to criticize the president for what he has done regarding about 5 million illegal immigrants. Let’s look at who these people are. The vast majority of them are the parents of children born in the USA. Others are young people who have never lived anywhere but the USA. Some do not even speak any other language but English. That’s how long they have been here. They were brought to this country, illegally, years ago, just so they can have a better life and get a better education.
Yes, I can see that “ILLEGAL” sign flashing and I understand there are thousands waiting in line to come here legally. The vast majority of these illegal adults in the USA would never be able to get legal status by waiting in the line at a consulate, because they had no particular skills for which they could be granted entry. However, some of these youngsters who were brought here when they were babies or small children, are now in possession of great skills, learned in the schools of America. They are capable of making a living, paying taxes, etc.
The questions that come to me are, 1. How can we ever round up and deport millions of illegal immigrants? 2. Why should a wage earning, tax-paying person who has been here for five, ten, or even twenty years be uprooted from the home they have made and sent back to a country they hardly even know? 3. How in the name of Jesus can I turn my back on the needs many of these people have?
So far, not one of my conservative Republican friends (of whom I am one) has come up with an answer to question # 1.
As much as I dislike the fact that the president took what I believe to be unlawful action, I agree with him when he says, “If you don’t like my actions, pass a law to make it irrelevant. Do something about this horde of illegal immigrants.” That is a fair challenge. So far, all I have heard is criticism, and not a single one of my Republican heroes has stated what he would do with these people. It should also be noted that the president’s action does not make these 5 million people voting citizens. As far as I can tell, there is not even a pathway to citizenship, just a green card that allows them to work without fear of being the subject of an immigration raid. So, in that regard they are not “jumping the line.”
My faith tells me to treat the stranger within our gates with courtesy and a sense of hospitality. My politics says, “Kick ‘em out.” I think I will follow my faith.