Brief Thoughts on Immigration

I’m sure this is going to show off my ignorance of American politics, but I trust that someone will set me straight. :)

Okay: immigration.

On the one hand, I hear lots of people speak of illegal immigrants as though they are the most terrible group in America. Calls to lock-down the America-Mexico border are heard, and stricter immigration laws are called for to deal with these people.

On the other hand, well, other than keeping the border open, I’m not too familiar with the opposing viewpoint at all.

It makes sense to me that immigration laws must be enforced. After all, they are laws, and they should be obeyed, right?

But on the other hand, a good deal of people calling for closing up America are the same ones claiming (for mostly political reasons) that America is a Christian nation. A Christian nation?

At the Statue of Liberty can be found these words, from a Nineteenth Century poem entitled “The New Colossus”:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

America isn’t supposed to be a closed-up nation, open only to those who are financially able to get themselves immediately established with citizenship, career, and home. Lady Liberty beckons “the homeless, tempest-tossed” to our shores, the “wretched refuse” and “huddled masses” of the world to America. The call isn’t to the talented, the skilled, the hard-working.

For me, I see a parallel between Lady Liberty’s call and the call of Jesus Christ. He calls those who are weary & heavy-laden, who are poor in spirit and wretched in the sight of the world. He opens His church to them, welcomes them in, and comforts them, building them up. Isn’t that what America should stand for? As long as Lady Liberty stands, I think we’d be hypocrites to stand for anything else.

When Jesus welcomes people into His church, often they may come with an attitude opposite the Kingdom values taught in the Beatitudes. To make it in the church requires a change in attitude. Perhaps that’s what we need in America: a change in attitude that would welcome the poor, the weak, the destitute from foreign lands… an attitude that would pour out comfort & compassion on all comers, working with them to build them up and get established in our land.

It might require more effort on the part of Americans. It might even require a change in existing laws. It may be a lot of things.

But it seems to me the, well, Christian thing to do.

4 thoughts on “Brief Thoughts on Immigration”

  1. Ah yes, immigration. That is one of the more detailed topics my history class got into. It really does make you think.

    One of the main reasons people try to keep immigrants out is because they don’t want to be competing for jobs. It’s as old as American history: an immigrant who made nothing in his home land, and has a family to raise, is invariably going to work at any price. This, in result, either brings other employees wages down or it fills up all the positions with low-wage employees, not allowing for others to work. There are other factors, I’m sure, but I can only specifically recall this one.

    But then you have, as you cited, the Statue of Liberty that says we want immigrants to come to us (by the way, the author of the poem was Emma Lazarus).

    So, when you get down to it, it appears to be a contradiction.

    As for the parallel, I understand that. It truly is amazing how people forget that, although the government wasn’t founded on Christianity, this nation was.

    PS: I love American history so much! The more I think about it, the more I find that it is such an awe-inspiring history to behold. Hopefully I find this same feeling in European history, and even greater feelings in Church history. Who’da thunk it? Me, becoming a historian? No way.

  2. Yeah, I understand that immigrants will make finding a job a bit more difficult.

    However, part of the reason why so many companies are now sending their jobs overseas is because they can find cheaper labor there. So what do Americans do? They complain about that, and then they complain about the cheaper labor coming here.

    Frankly, Americans are just difficult to please. I’d blame the media or fast food or any of a number of other things pundits typically blame, but it all comes down to the fact that when you cater to a sinful nature, it’s going to get used to it.

    I also think that if we have an influx of impoverished immigrants, perhaps it would wake Americans up to the obscene amount of blessings so many of us enjoy (or worse, take for granted). And perhaps getting to know immigrants would awaken many within the church to the situations overseas.

  3. lol – it always amazes me that despite the wacko ways in which you get there you say many basically nice, sensible things…

    We in the Uk at present are going through a mild panic on immigrations due to the new entrants into the EU who now have every right to work in any EU country that they like. Personally, I think this is great. You never know, one day I might fancy working in Poland or where ever.

    However, the usual cry goes up that they are stealing our jobs, taking out homes, filling out schools, sacrificing babies etc.

    Personally, I think it is time we knocked this on the head with a few simple rules:

    1) Get rid of all borders and brakes on the flow of people around the world. All countries will agree to accept all who wish to live there.
    2) All territories are frozen at their present form and all countries agree to enforce existing borders. the only army allowed will be controlled and directed from the UN and is responsible for enforcing borders
    3) All countries will sign up to the convention on human rights and will agree to enforce these around the globe at the direction of the UN.

    Anyone will be free to move where they like and live where they like. Now as I see it once that tension is taken away most of the problems we see today will fade away. I am sure there will be a few decades of upheaval but once things settle down all will be well.

    Governments will have to have policies that attract people and compete to promote the well being of the territories that they look after. Or else people will just flow somewhere else. The world now had a duty to enforce any human right violations.

    Dictators will be no more. As people will vote with their feet – who are they going to dictate over. If they insist on holding power they will have to provide circumstances that will attract people to live in their area of control or else their territories will grind to a halt.

    Terrorism.. what the hell will be left to fight for. if you not happy go live somewhere else.

    Hunger.. go live somewhere else! besides all that desert will be needed for giant solar panels which will feed a global power grid

    Religious.. your human rights let you worship as you see fit provided you respect others and dont impinge on their human rights. some countries might choose to become Christian / Muslim etc you are free to live there if you wish with like minded people following like minded rules.

    environment.. all the billions and billions of pound spent on enforcing borders will go into r&d to improve the knowledge of mankind and find answers to the immediate environmental needs of the planet.


    anyway – on a slightly more practical stance – America is HUGE! you have loads of space – i am sure you can fit a few more in there. you are made of immigrants with only a handful of indigenous inhabitants ( you killed the rest if i recall) I am sure it is the rich mix of races that has made America the power house it is today.

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