Sojourners, all

In light of the President’s be-all-things-to-all-men speech on immigration last night, this post from last month remains timely:

In this life we are sojourners, all. We live by the grace of God, on, as it were, time borrowed from Him. Since this life is also the province of Satan, we must protect ourselves from others of our fallen kind. This protection includes artificial divisions of the earthly kingdom into nations.

Like it or not, this is the world in which we live. We in America are fortunate; we’ve got just about the best nation on earth. Millions of foreigners must agree, they keep trying to get in by legal and other means. The question of the day is, how should a Christian deal with those who sneak across our borders?

Scripture provides the most reliable source, as usual. My favorite verse on how to treat strangers among us is Exodus 22:21: “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” That’s God Who is speaking.

On the flip side, it is also incumbent on those who choose to live among us to obey our laws. If a worker from Mexico starts his life among us by breaking our immigration law, then what should we do? First, as Christians, love him, treat him and his family with dignity. But this love can’t include turning a blind eye to his breaking of our law. We must take steps to turn a lawbreaker into a legal immigrant or, failing this, send him back from whence he came.

As an aside, the debate talks of illegal “immigrants.” To me, the son of immigrants, this is a misnomer. An immigrant is one who willingly joins our society, and not just for a job, but with the full intent of becoming one of us. This very much includes, as a first principle, obeying our laws. Others who come because they need jobs, but for no other reason, that’s fine. No one should be forced to become an American citizen. But this economic need does not justify breaking our law.

So, what to do with those sojourners among us who break our laws? If the only law broken is the one that forbade them entry in the first place, send them back to their native land, with their families if possible. As for those who have split families, some here legally, some not, we must make exceptions based on compassion and allow some “illegals” to stay.

There are other exceptions, of course. Those who flee political persecution should always be given refuge. For example, it is to our shame that we don’t allow all Cubans in, without the legal hairsplitting “wet-foot, dry-foot” of the Clintonistas. But then, Fidel is a darling of our so-called liberal intelligentsia…

What about the 10-12 million who are here illegally now? As a practical matter, there’s not much you can do, except enforce the laws already on the books: when you catch illegal workers, deport them, and fine their employers if they reasonably should have known their workers were not legal immigrants.

The other thing we must do is tighten our borders. A lot. We need to slow down the flow of people who cross our borders illegally. There’s no point in mopping up the floor if you first don’t turn off the faucet.

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