Immigration stats

Migrant workers' childrenIn today’s “Links to Go,” I include an article showing how immigration enforcement has increased over the last few years. The numbers are a bit deceiving, since this includes all of the duties of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Still, since Obama took office, the deportation rate has drastically increased. 2012 hit a record high of deportations.

I’ve been open about my opposition to our current immigration laws, and my support for drastic immigration reform. Beyond the spiritual motivations, I’m going to share in the next few days some practical reasons why Christians should get behind such efforts.

So, I find these numbers a bit discouraging. Especially when I can put names to some of the numbers, people dear to me who have been caught up in the immigration quagmire.

Yet studying the facts, I did find something encouraging: most of the deportations have been of criminals. That hasn’t always been true. In 2008, only 33% of those deported fell into that category; in 2012, it was up to 55%. Most other categories have remained the same (repeat offenders, border removals, immigration fugitives). The category that means the most to me has shown marked improvement. In 2008, 25% of those deported were “non-priority cases,” which often means ordinary people who come here to work; in 2012, that was only 4% of all deportations. (Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

Deporting criminals is exactly what the government should be doing. Deporting people who have come in the way that most of our ancestors did… that needs to stop. Let’s tighten our borders, while providing a way for those that want to work to be able to do so legally.

5 thoughts on “Immigration stats

  1. Tim: Thanks for you comments but we have to part company when you ompare current immigration to how our ancestors arrived. “Deporting people who have come in the way that most of our ancestors did… that needs to stop.”

  2. Hi Tim,
    Do you consider illegal immigration to be a crime? If so, then I can pretty much agree with your remarks.

    But you seem to be saying that you think it is OK for people to “sneak in”. I’d have to ask why you are exempting that particular crime?

    [I am 100% in favor of immigration reform, including making it easier for poor people and others with low status to immigrate. I'm 100% opposed to amnesty or ignoring illegal border crossing.]

    Thanks in advance for clarification of your beliefs, sir! [It would also be helpful if you could clarify which beliefs you consider to be your personal politics and which you believe to be Christian ethics]

    C. Kevin >>—-Archer—–>

  3. Hi Kevin,

    Given the current “come, but don’t come,” “we need you, but we’ll call you illegal” situation in the United States, no, I don’t consider coming to the United States without proper documentation a crime.

    The reasons why aren’t short, which is one reason I spent weeks looking at how Latin America got into the shape it is in and the responsibility of the U.S. for that condition. You also have to consider how the church has been slow to react to unjust situations, be it the genocide of the native Americans, enslavement of Africans or discrimination toward people of other races. We’ve turned a blind eye to what’s going on with immigration, rather than pressed for justice.

    One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws.

    One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all”.

    — Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail (1963)

  4. You didn’t designate your personal feelings versus Christian ethics, but I mostly agree with the sentiments about our country sending conflicting messages.

    But … I highly doubt that you will apply the “unjust laws” standard to anything other than your personal “pet” issues.

    For example, the “drug war” is pretty much universally recognized as a colossal failure. It unfairly and unjustly penalizes and stigmatizes minorities and has created the largest incarcerated population in the history of the world in our “free” country. Our last 5 presidents, you and I, our children and just about everyone we know has violated these laws…. yet “the church” remains firmly committed to the enforcement of these unjust laws.

    It is easy to point out that pharmaceutical companies have produced far more dangerous, far more abused, far more fatal, far more addictive drugs, yet “the church” totally supports any prescription medicines, and a HUGE percentage of “the church” uses these drugs.

    If you are going to start in about “unjust laws” you have to be ready for others to bring forth their own examples…. examples that you probably don’t agree with. We have a process for changing and amending “unjust laws”. What we don’t have is an immigration policy that makes sense.

  5. Kevin,

    I may be giving the idea that I’ve arrived at these views flippantly. That’s not the case. It’s been years of wrestling and struggling with how to view immigration.

    So as to inconsistency… sure, I’m as open to it as anyone else. But I don’t think that I will only apply these standards to pet issues, at least I hope not.

    Maybe the two things (drugs and immigration) seem similar to you; I can’t see the relationship. I’m talking about people caught in a system where their best hope of providing for their families is to go do honest labor in a country that needs their labor, yet will punish them for meeting that need. They can’t come legally for there is no legal path open to them. They come and work facing the possibility of deportation, which in many cases is carried out in the most heartless fashion, not even allowing them to contact their children from whom they are being separated. In addition, we have to face the reality that the country they want to come to shares a large degree of responsibility for creating and maintaining their poverty.

    I’m speaking of the kinds of injustices described in the Bible, where the rich and powerful take advantage of the four most vulnerable groups: widows, orphans, poor, and foreigners.

    I honestly don’t see the same thing in the illicit drug trade, but I’m willing to be enlightened.

    Grace and peace,

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