Monday, April 10, 2006


I really don't know what to make of the recent wave of protests about illegal immigration. As someone born and raised in this country, I have a hard time understanding what the illegal immigrants must go through. They live in fear of deportation, and are reluctant to turn to the authorities when they are mistreated for fear of being deported if their status is discovered. The Bible clearly calls on believers to take care of the less fortunate and defenseless in our land. And they qualify as defenseless in many ways.

The prophet Jeremiah summed it up pretty well how important the defenseless are to God in chapter 7 of his book:
' 5 "For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, 6 {if} you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, 7 then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.

All of the groups highlighted in v6 were defenseless in that era. There were not many methods of recourse for them if they were mistreated, and so God made a spe
cial point of instructing Israel to take care of them.

But what do we do with people who broke the law to get here? There are 12 million or so of them in this country right now, and our border is so porous that one could smuggle just about anything over it. Social services in border states are overwhelmed with the workload, and many Mexican women are coming to the U.S. to give birth so that their child will be a U.S. citizen. Hospitals in Arizona, New Mexico, California and Texas are closing because they are not reimbursed for the care given to illegals.

I see church leaders leading the protests, and I sympathize with them. I see the leaders of the House of Representatives taking an enforcement tack, and I empathize with them. I hear the calls for amnesty, and I fear that will just open the floodgates unless the border is secured. And who knows what Al Qaeda will bring across the border.

This is a vexing problem that defies easy answers. This may be one of the cases where the church and the government's interests diverge. God help us to make the right decision. Lives do depend on it.

No comments: