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June 11, 2009

Christian Activists Push for Immigration Reform

Several Christian activists don't want to see immigration reform get left behind the administration's economic and health care concerns.

In a press conference on Wednesday, members of Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CCIR), a nonpartisan coalition of churches and other organizations, expressed urgency that immigration reform happen this year. "Every single day that we wait on immigration reform is more suffering we are inflicting on undocumented people," said Jim Wallis, President and CEO of Sojourners. "This is a matter of faith for us. The way we treat the stranger, the scriptures say, is the way we treat Jesus in himself. And the stranger, in the face and form of undocumented people, is not being treated very well."

Their objective might be challenged in the House by Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) and in the Senate by Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vermont), who want to add same-sex partners in the same category as spouses in new immigration legislation. Senator Leahy told The New York Times it was "a matter of fairness," while Honda said in the San Francisco Chronicle that "it's a civil rights issue."

Politico reported that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is withdrawing its support from the bill over the issue of gay rights. Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, told Politico that the addition of gay rights language was a "slap in the face to those of us who have fought for years for immigration reform." However, on Wednesday, Rodriguez indicated that the group's unity is their greatest asset when he said that "the strength of the coalition is stronger than anything that may arise in Congress."

The coalition released a Statement of Principles Wednesday and a new website, emphasizing three core policies for immigration reform legislation: a pathway to citizenship, a guest worker program, and border protection stipulations. The coalition emphasizes the treatment of every human being as made in the image of God, regardless of their documented status, but the coalition does not seek to dictate how particular churches respond to difficult situations.

A meeting at the White House scheduled for June 17 is intended to open discussion on immigration policy between House and Senate leaders from both parties. Although President Obama has stated his intention to address problems within the immigration system this year, many, such as Senate Majority Lleader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), doubt whether anything will change this year due to the already full legislative calendar.

Christianity Today has offered an editorial take on how to handle immigration.

Comments

The majority of evangelicals are very conservative and do not want either...They do not support amnesty and they do not support churches being forced to "marry" gay folks.

I feel sorry for Illegal Immigrants,I guess they are 21st century slaves in America.

I hear a lot about illegal immigrants or undocumented aliens committing crimes, the only crime they commit is that they over stay their visa or they come to this county looking for better life for their kids. I guess our great grandparents or our parents did the same. For the crime they commit they suffer a lot too, they walk through desert for miles, they are exploited by their employers for years, they do not have no benefits or driving licenses. They are treated like 21st century slaves in America.

Even hardcore criminals in USA like child rapist or bank robber break the laws and are punished for 3-5 years and allowed to live freely.

Also please visit American Immigration Lawyers Association website and fill up the foam to show your support and tell/ask your friends and family to do the same.

http://capwiz.com/aila2/issues/alert/?alertid=13300836&type=CO

Apparently these “Christian Activists” fail to see the difference between welcoming the legal, law abiding Stranger and welcoming the law-breaking Illegal Immigrant. Have they forgotten Christianity expects and equal dose of responsibility and accountability for every exhortation of love thy neighbor?

Conversely, I am unaware of any place in the Bible where God says go forth and commit crimes - identity theft, fraud, illegal entry. Nor have I found a passage that says the ends justify the means.

It says in the Bible that “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him”. Maybe I missed something, but to date I have not seen any Illegal Immigrants come forward and turn themselves in to authorities, saying forgive me. Instead, I see many unrepentant Illegal Immigrants who have plenty of excuses as to why they broke the law, who continue to use false documents, who have plenty of demands to change our law, and who are quick to demand their rights. Is not breaking the law because you covet something your neighbor has a sin? Is not identity fraud bearing false witness and thus a sin? Thus is not forgiving unrepentant sin the same as condoning that sin, and thus participating in that sin? Or are those Ten Commandments and other pronouncements against breaking the law like Romans 13: 1-2 or 1 Peter 2: 13-14 or John 10:1 just pesky guidelines to be ignored when inconvenient?

In response to you Norski...I think this country broke Romans 13, 1-2 as well as 1 Peter 2: 13-14 when it ceded from Great Britain. Do you think that was wrong? You see submitting to earthly authority is correct up until that authority is acting unjustly. I would argue that lack of Comprehensive Immigration Reform is precisely that. Not much good repenting and turning yourself into the authorities if all the authorities can do is deport you. There is a forgiveness part of that verse you quoted, how do you see that playing out? Comprehensive Immigration Reform can provide the authorities a way to forgive...not by amnesty but by a clear and paid for path to legal status. Right now that does not exist.

As a devout Christian & a veteran Foreign Language educator who has studied in other countries and escorted a number of groups to countries in order to expose them to other cultures, I still firmly believe every person is responsible to obey the laws of God & of man.

If Christians encounter illegal aliens, we should show them God's love by explaining His Simple Plan of Salvation. There are some churches in TX that have an outreach to illegals. The result of their accepting Christ as Savior has usually been to return to country of origin & try to return here legally.

There is no Scripture that behooves one nation to allow people to enter illegally and treat them as citizens. Rather, Scripture supports the sovereignty of nations.

During this time when so many US citizens are out of work, America simply cannot afford to continue allowing illegal aliens to remain here. Regardless of what some say, statistics prove illegals are not merely performing work Americans will not do. Many are in construction and other good paying jobs. Those in low-paying jobs negatively affect young people's ability to find work.

Our government is being drained by providing medical resources, education, & law enforcement for non-citizens. The US is responsible to protect us from those who would usurp the rights of citizens.

Immigration reform needs to include sending home those who are known to be here illegally - requiring them to get in line behind those who are seeking to enter the US legally. It needs to also include repeal of the amendment allowing "anchor babies", which was enacted for children of slaves. And "chain migration" needs to be curtailed until wide-spread fraud discovered by the State Dept. can be corrected.

Heather - the road to Hades is paved with rationalizations. And you seem to have many paving stones already. Who is to decide when earthly authority is unjust? You? Does that not put you in the role of God?

And then there is the comparison of Illegal Immigration to the American Revolution. Are you actually comparing the complaints of Legal Citizens of the Empire of Great Britain about the lack of representation to people who wantonly break the law for their own personal gain?

And somehow you have drawn the conclusion that a confession of sins should not entail any adverse consequences. Ever hear of penance? Christianity does not guarantee you a consequence free life. It does clearly state that honesty and respect for others is the path to happiness.

Illegal Immigration is by its very nature a complete lack of empathy for the Citizens of a country and what reasonable limits they choose to put on immigration. Should we set the plow, the ax, and the steam shovel on our wonderful green spaces, parkland, and farmland that feeds so many just because people from other countries covet life in the USA and cannot handle the rejection of not getting their way to immigrate when they please?

Rather than defend Illegal Immigrants maybe your time would be better spent trying to uplift people in their own countries so that they do not have to be put into the path of temptation.

We are a consensual society under a Constitution that provides rights, freedoms and the mechanics to create laws that we citizens live by. Citizens accept that breaking our laws results in proscribed punishments. An unholy alliance of lawbreaking illegal aliens, criminal employers and elected officials that look the other way are hypocrites and anarchists. They feel that they can pick and choose which laws are convenient for them to follow and willingly break those that are personally inconvenient. This breaks down our legal system and works against the rule of law that we depend upon for our daily safety and national security. All lawbreaking illegal aliens should be deported, all criminal employers should be jailed and elected officials that have failed to carry out their oath of office to defend the Constitution and our laws should be fired, voted out of office, impeached and perhaps charged with criminal dereliction of duty. The 1986 amnesty was a total failure. Never again!
I prefer to see the government as a Samaritan helping the truly wretched of Darfur, North Korea, etc. rather than those who defiantly demand rights to add to their ill gotten gains at the expense of 14 million Americans looking for jobs to feed and shelter their families.

Mexico's second highest income is from illegals sending money home! google it! do you understand how really HUGE that is?? how many of them MUST be here illegally to make that happen?? 12 million? HA! more like 40 million?? we are being invaded, without one shot being fired! does anybody have a CLUE?? whos job it is to protect and defend the United States?? to ABIDE by the CONSTITUTION???? what does it mean? to break the law? why all the infighting? they broke the LAW! period! google "operation w*tback" Eisenhower had this very same problem. he quietly and EFFECTIVLY took care of it! why can we not do the same??? they walked, rode, swam over here. they can do the same going home taking their anchor babies with them! and then, if they want. they can GET IN LINE. like all the rest of the "LAW ABIDING " people that do it the RIGHT WAY!!!

The Democrats infrastructure and construction bailout jobs program is more of the same old scam!

The tax payers that have obeyed the laws, paid the taxes and fought the wars and built this Nation are getting screwed by Corrupt/Stupid/Pandering Politicians and Greedy crooks at every level!

This is the same old scam, reward the Rich Bankers with billions in tax payers money and the invading horde of illegals Aliens with Jobs, Free medical, Free education, Welfare, Prison cells and make American Citizens pay for every Crook, Criminal, Peon, Welfare Leech and Marxist or Racist organization like ACORN or La Raza in the world!

Then there is they are all God,s children argument.

Isn't everyone God,s children? If so, then guess the open borders crowd are saying everyone and anyone has the right to Invade this Nation, waving their flags, demand their rights, while feasting at the trough of public welfare and Kill, Rape and Rob thousands of American citizens each year! There are 100,s of millions probably billions from India, China, Africa, etc. that would like to immigrate to the USA. If it ok for Latinos to pour across our borders then unless the open borders crowd are racist it should be ok for any and all of the world people no matter their Education, Religion, Race, Criminal convictions, Diseases, or Terrorist ties to invade this nation & be rewarded with American citizenship!

Norski...Injustice is injustice whether you are early colonists, Irish immigrants of the 1800's escaping famine and oppression or today's immigrants escaping economic and political upheavals in their countries of origin to try and provide a better life for their families. And just so we're clear I am not a catholic and therefore do not hold that penance is necessary for forgiveness to be wholly attained or given. That notion goes against the whole concept of Grace as found in the New Testament. Oh and while we're on the subject all of us interpret one way or another what justice is in God's sight. He's given us pretty good ideas though...read Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel or Jesus in the gospels for a few.
Finally I would just add that it is an impossible task to round up the immigrants who are already here and repatriate them...the cost alone would be astronomical. What would you do with their children who are often US citizens? Personally I would prefer my tax dollars spent on Comprehensive Immigration Reform that would bring these aliens among us out of hiding and onto a proper, paid for road to full legal citizenship.

Heather - I see you are still into the rationalizations. You cannot just cherry-pick a few things from the Bible and ignore that which does not fit your preconceived notion and then claim to be achieving Grace. Jesus drove the Moneychangers from the Temple. Was that an act of compassion and forgiveness? And what of the Women and the lamps? Was locking them out an exercise in compassion and forgiveness?

In today's US House and Senate the Democrats control everything plus they control the Presidency. Is that a lack of representation and thus an injustice to people who voted Republican? It is by your definition. If you rationalize everything long enough sooner or later everything looks like an injustice. The fatal enticement of rationalization is it makes the rationalizer feel cute and clever and powerful and intelligent, when in fact they are simply deluded.

Take for instance your claim "that it is an impossible task to round up the immigrants who are already here and repatriate them...the cost alone would be astronomical." In fact last year the Department of Homeland Security estimated the cost to be $100 billion (CNN) whereas the cost of unemployment & welfare paid to 7.2 million of the 20 million Americans currently unemployed while 7.2 million Illegal Immigrants work in their place is $100 billion PER YEAR. Does a one year payback sound like an astronomical cost to you? If so there is this bridge in Brooklyn…

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
- John F. Kennedy

Then there is the straw man Argument this Nation cannot afford to deport 12 million people!

Never noting if our Politicians had abide by our Constitution and enforced our Laws there would not be 12 millions to deport. Even worse, there is not 12 million but between 20 and 30 million but the government prefers to lie and down play the number! ( Same as the 1986 Amnesty was more than double the government estimate, so will this one be) At any rate deportation would save billions in the long run over what they will cost this Nation in welfare in the coming years. Every person with less that a high school education cost a average of 55 thousand over their life time, so apply that times the 12 million plus all their relatives & their relatives in a never ending chain & deportation would be a great bargain and save billions if not trillions in the coming years! But deportations is not necessary, just close our borders and enforcing our Laws with E-Verify. Fine companies, imprison executives and cut out the welfare they will self deport. No jobs, No Welfare equals no Illegal Aliens!

Norski, I have no idea what you are talking about here but my comments on Grace were nothing to do with cherry picking anything, although you certainly seem to be doing some picking of your own, and my take on the money changers would not be yours I'm sure.. My point on Grace was simply to refute your notion of the need for penance from a faith perspective. I would think from a practical stand-point immigrants could be required to pay substantial fines and penalties and back taxes if they owe them, in order to legalize their status. That would be penance don't you think.

Anyway you make some strange correlations in your comments. I'll ignore the bizarre notion that the outcome of a democratic election can be unjust for the losing side. I take it you can prove that the unemployed citizens would do the work the immigrants currently do? I can just see laid off Lehman Brother, Citibank and GM employees working at meat-packing plants or in vegetable and fruit fields in CA and AZ. Did you not notice what happened a few years back when those immigrants went on strike for a day? Many of these businesses just shut down. Now perhaps we should all be a bit more honest and say we are willing to pay a lot more for basic food items than we are currently so that living wages can be paid to workers in those areas and then perhaps you might see US workers willing to do those jobs..although I somehow doubt it. In any case I think you seriously underestimate the cost of identifying and finding all the undocumented immigrants in this country. When he was Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff said: “The cost of identifying all of those people and sending them back would be stupendous. It would be billions and billions of dollars.”

By the way you still haven't addressed what you do about children of these immigrants that are legal US citizens. I don't think tearing families apart is the answer.

It is the thought of a rather large majority of the people in the United States that the illegal aliens should not be granted amnesty, and should be deported. That our political representatives should honor their oath of office, and enforce the current immigration law as it stands. It is way, way past time to see exactly that happen, and the massive corruption surrounding this issue be put aside.

The reason those jobs pay so little is because the illegals are willing to work for such low wages. The disparity of wages where a manager is paid 200k & the illegal is paid 10k is obvious. Get rid of the illegals and the company will be forced to pay higher rates to real Americans looking for a job and have to give a pay cut to the managers. So instead of 10k/200k it would be 20k/100k for the bottom worker & manager. If a company wants to survive, they will adapt, if they decide to close, well a new business opportunity will emerge for a American who wants to start a business. It would be quite obvious when a store can't buy apples because they are still on the tree unpicked, someone will pick those apples and deliver them to the store....for a price of course! Yes they will be more expensive (a good trade off in my opinion so that an American gets paid a fair amount for a fair amount of work), but freedom, security & future of your country comes at a price.

Stealing from Peter to dress Paul.
Glut of unskilled and skilled workers make the offer of labor much higher than the supply of jobs together with outsourcing . Such massive influx of legal and illegal immigration For several decades is highly responsible for the erosion of the American middle class, contributing to lower wages, rising unemployment and spread poverty and even displacement of high skill workers like in cases of American IT replaced by aliens workers brought with HB1 visa.
People for hundred of years has come to America escaping social political economical systems worse than America and What make America so attractive is her great cultural difference. American individualism in contrast with the collective mentality of most culture prevented in the past group thinking along racial lines which is one of is one of the major reasons for racial genocide and violence and discrimination . Possessing a tradition of check and balance of power, freedom of religion and judiciary independence save America from the horror of a Rwanda or a the Balkans
But as the melting has being rejected and the mosaic embrace, America gradually will become more like the other world cultures and will lost what make it internally peaceful and able for gradually social progress and balkanization and self segregation will reign . Does charity start at home? IF people do not love or care for their own family, fellow Americans , are they hypocrities ? yes they are