"immigrants are not welcome"

In my state of Virginia that is — if one is to believe what a Democrat from the Peoples Republic of Arlington (Virginia; though it’s really Washington DC without the incompetence…) says about Jerry Kilgore, Republican candidate for governor. There is a piece in today’s Washington Post, which has a few points about the immigration as viewed through the prism of our gubernatorial race.

The immigration issue is in the context of how Virginia has become a “gateway” state for illegal immigrants, much as Florida and Arizona have been. This is both a state and federal issue that affects us all, and it turns out that Kilgore has some very definite ideas about how to handle it. Most of which will be resisted by the likes of that Democrat from Arlington, Walter Tejada, whose full quotation is:

There’s no question that if Kilgore is elected, this will be a state where immigrants are not welcome. The Republicans have already had some success with this, but with Kilgore as governor, it will get worse.

They say [the trend] doesn’t include legal immigrants, but that is the mask they like to put on it. Of course it does. This whole sentiment affects how people view immigrants.

Even Democrats are right once in a while: indeed, the “whole sentiment” is colored by our ignoring waves upon waves of undocumented illegals. Don’t you love the way some Democrats talk about complex policy issues, as if each would be resolved by who was the most sincere and emotional?

The issue poses grave, and conflicting problems for a Christian conservative. On the one hand, we must be a nation (and a state) of laws, and not of men. To flout immigration law and ignore the problem is to undermine the very concept of law. On the other hand, immigrants, legal and otherwise, are human beings made in God’s image. As such, they are entitled to the same respect, and are embued with the same dignity as any of us.

My immediate answer of how to deal with illegal immigrants is to prevent them from entering in the first place if possible. This requires better enforcement at our borders, it requires massive fines for businesses caught knowingly employing illegals, and it requires that no government at any level encourage or facilitate illegals. An example of the last point is a day-laborer center proposed for Herndon, Virginia, a Washington DC suburb, which Kilgore opposes.

It also requires that our law enforcement, at all levels, local, state, and federal, be allowed to arrest illegals and have them deported forthwith. Obviously I do not advocate harming illegal immigrants. Let’s, however, not pretend that they have any rights as citizens. Their benefits should be limited those necessary to provide for their immediate health and safety as we send them back to their homelands.

Simplistic, of course. The problem is that we can’t catch most of them. And let it be said that many (nominally) Republican businessmen are those who benefit the most from this handy source of cheap labor. The lack of cooperation from businesses that benefit from illegal labor is a prime cause for the flood of them in this area.

The Christian must care for the poor, and must love all as himself. The conservative knows that ignoring laws is a recipe for anarchy. My approach would be to enforce our laws on immigration, dealing as gently as is practicable with those we catch and deport. The problem will likely be with us for a long, long time. That does not mean it can’t be solved. Just that it will take some time.

Patience is also a Christian virtue.

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