Category Archives: Immigration

Immigration and crime

If you didn’t read today’s “Links To Go,” I’d encourage you to look at the first link, one about illegal immigrants and crime.

I’ve made no effort to hide the sympathy I feel for immigrants, both those who have been able to come here with documents and those who have had to find another way. So naturally the conclusions of this research didn’t surprise me. Unless you’re listening to politicians who are using immigration for their own ends, logic will tell you that most immigrants don’t want to get in trouble with the law. They want to stay under the radar, live quiet lives, and earn a living for their families.

There is a problem right now at the southern border of the U.S., a crisis that I lay fully at the feet of politicians. As I’ve said before, I’m convinced that activists from the left and from the right have provoked this situation for their own political gain. To me, the caravans are a separate issue that needs to be seen for what it is: a political ploy using the poorest of the poor as pawns.

I’m talking about the intentional mistruth that characterizes immigrants as “drug dealers, criminals, and rapists.” There are reasons for concern regarding immigration. Increased crime rates is not one of them. Don’t let politicians or the media tell you otherwise.

Immigration: Neither the Left nor the Right

I mentioned the other day feeling unable to support either of the two major political parties here in the United States. To me, they each promote some good things and each promote some ungodly values. Because I choose not to follow a platform that’s handed to me, I find myself with views that conflict with each party. Especially on a topic like immigration.

  • I favor a secure border. We should do what we can to eliminate unauthorized border crossings.
  • A secure border can only be created when there is a practical process that opens the door to unskilled workers. There needs to be a worker visa. I wouldn’t insist on a path to citizenship; the goal is to allow people to come and work when needed.
  • The two above items need to happen simultaneously.
  • I think all language deeming the secure border a “wall” is misguided. As I’ve written before, it smacks of very ugly attitudes. It is used to rouse the xenophobes among us. Little progress on real immigration will occur as long as the term continues to be bandied about.
  • I think the immigrant caravans are a bad thing. I think most of those in the caravans are not bad people. They are pawns in a political process, used by activists to provoke a situation. (Could be pro-immigration activists; could be anti-immigration activists. My hunch is it’s both)
  • The president should retract statements about immigrants being murders, rapists, drug dealers “and some good people.” He should at least admit that the inverse reflects reality. He knew it was a misrepresentation when he said it. Admittedly, President Trump speaks in hyperbole and expects everyone to recognize it was such. Still, slandering entire groups of people merely hinders open discussion on important topics.
  • Christians should stop encouraging people to come here illegally. I think we minister without judgment to those who have already come. But we do nothing to promote illegal immigration. (And yes, I know that some of you think that you can’t minister to those who came illegally without promoting future illegality. I disagree.)
  • Politicians (and Christians) need to stop the fear mongering.
    • The situation on our southern border does not constitute an emergency. Viewing how people use 911, I recognize that many people have trouble recognizing what truly is an emergency situation. This isn’t one.
    • Terrorists aren’t streaming across our southern border. There are much easier ways for them to enter the U.S. Few have entered from the south in the past; there is nothing to indicate that has changed.
    • The caravans appeared after the discussions about “the wall” began, not before. This situation was provoked by activists. It did not occur spontaneously.

There. Is that enough to make people on both sides mad? If not, I’ll share some more. I don’t attempt to make my position align with either major political party. And don’t ever plan to.

photo courtesy Conor Luddy on Unsplash

Love the immigrant

As I’ve said before, I think Christians in the United States need to react with compassion toward immigrants. That’s not about policies nor practices; it’s about attitudes. Even if you think there should be a hardline, zero-tolerance approach to illegal immigration, your attitude toward immigrants should be one of compassion.

Listening to some people talk about immigrants, you’d think that the majority are conniving scoundrels seeking to take advantage of legal loopholes. Such people do exist. I remember talking with some young men in Argentina who would come to the U.S. every year as tourists, then go work illegally in the ski areas here in this country. They were merely taking advantage of the system.

There are even criminals who take advantage of porous borders to commit crimes. Again, these do exist.

But the majority of the people coming to our southern borders are desperate people trying to find a way to survive. They aren’t trying to take advantage of anybody or anything; they are looking to protect their families as best they can.

Does that mean they should automatically be given amnesty? No, I’m not saying that. I’m saying that whatever your views toward immigration policy, your view toward immigrants should not be one of hatred, disdain, or resentment. If it is… you’re wrong. As a Christian, you’re wrong. As an American, a Democrat, a Republican, or whatever, you may be fully justified. But if, as a Christian, your attitude is not one of love and compassion… you’re wrong.

Even if you advocate for building a wall, closing the borders, and deporting all aliens, I’d beg you to look on these people as neighbors, as people made in the image of God, as huddled masses yearning to be free… and look on them with love.

Make this world great again

I’ll interrupt my series because something must be said about President Trump’s statements yesterday regarding immigrants from developing nations. Since the election of Donald Trump, I’ve committed myself to being guided by 1 Peter 2:17 and similar passages. I avoid criticizing the president himself because of this passage. I’m also aware that such statements tend to be seen as partisan, as if I were supporting another party or candidate.

But with all the uproar from yesterday’s vulgar remarks, I want to state a few things clearly, directing my remarks to Christians who live in the U.S.:

  • If the only thing about the president’s remarks that bothers you is the fact that he used a vulgarity, then something is very wrong.
  • If you’re willing to explain away the president’s remarks because you agree with his politics, something is very wrong.
  • The United States is not a church and should not be expected to act like one. But we Christians are the church, 24/7, and must never forget that.
  • If greatness for one country comes at the expense of other peoples, then we Christians cannot promote such greatness. We are Kingdom people first and members of some nation of this world second.

Much more could be said. Probably should be said. But it’s hard for me to say much more without violating the principles I wrote about in the first paragraph.

Pray for Africa. Pray for Haiti. Pray for all the nations of this world. May God make this world great again.

Manuel Manrique and the Luis Guzmán family

On Friday, I mentioned that there were several big events that happened last week(s), one being the passing of Wanda Martin. Two other big things happened while I was on my Cuba trip.

The first was the passing of Manuel Manrique. I’ve written about him a couple of times before. Back in 2011, I described a visit to Manrique’s house and the joy that was. Then I shared a video back in 2015 when Manrique had fallen, and I thought he was going to pass.

This time it was for real. Manrique passed away on the morning of October 21, the day I arrived in Cuba. As is their custom, they buried him that same afternoon. I was blessed to arrive in time to be at his funeral and was even asked to say some words at the graveside ceremony. That was a privilege for me; as I said then, Manrique is one of the few heroes I have.

On Monday, I got some bad news about my dear friends Luis and Lido Guzmán. They are from Mexico and have been living legally in Abilene for the past 6 years. Their temporary status was coming to an end, and they had applied for permanent residency. They found out that their application had been denied and that they had to leave the country within a week. How awful! They had bought a home in Abilene, their daughter is a freshman at ACU, and they were building a life here.

I’m sad for them and especially sad for our church. As I told someone, I can think of many problems that the Guzmáns helped solve, and I can’t think of any that they were the cause of.

Later this week I’ll share more about the trip itself. But I needed to share those major happenings first.