Evangelicals For Immigration Reform

Immigration and Evangelicalism are both deeply rooted in American history and culture. They are coming together in 2009 with new … Continued

Immigration and Evangelicalism are both deeply rooted in American history and culture. They are coming together in 2009 with new books and new calls for immigration reform.

On March 31 on Capitol Hill Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang released their book, “Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate.” It brings together the Bible’s teaching about attitudes and treatment of “aliens in the land” and traces the history of immigration and immigration policies in the United States. I was there to give my perspective.

Immigration laws have been changed repeatedly through more than two centuries of American government policy. It is time for another update. The reasons are many, including fairness, families and finances. Fairness because we have contradictory laws and unjust enforcement of those laws. Families because our present policies are dividing when we should be uniting. Finances because government agencies have fallen behind in implementing present policies as agencies are understaffed and underfunded.

A family lives near me and faces a frightening dilemma. They are in our country legally. She is an immigrant from Africa who is now an American citizen. Her son came as a young child and has grown up in American culture, schools and language. However, he will graduate from high school soon and will celebrate his eighteenth birthday when his status will change and he must return to Africa. He has no friends, family, home, job or language skills in the country of his birth. There must be a better way. The Dream Act is currently moving through the Congress to keep families together.

The issues are complex. They are not only about securing the borders, which is an important part of immigration policy and practice. They are not only about jobs, collecting taxes, earning citizenship, uniting families and reducing years of waiting. Immigration policy is about all these issues and more. It’s time to take a broad look and integrate immigration laws to make them fair and just and good.

Why is immigration policy important to evangelicals? Certainly because we believe what the Bible teaches about treatment of “aliens in the land.” It is also because so many Hispanic, African and Asian immigrants are evangelical Christians who are in our denominations and churches by the millions. They are us.

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  • WmarkW

    I don’t know all the details of American immigration law, but I thought the barriers to citizen for the minor child of an American citizen, as in the Africans’ example, were not difficult.My brother married an immigrant from India, so I know a lot of LEGAL immigrants. They spend a lot of time talking about how difficult it was for some of them to come to the US LEGALLY, mostly by proving sufficient education to contribute to our economy. They have little sympathy for those illegal immigrants without the basic economic skills like knowing English.How much am I supposed to love the person who SHOULDN’T be my neighbor?

  • Maryann261

    Thy immigrant “neighbor” does not want to assimilate into American society. Thy immigrant “neighbor” wants to live as he/she did in the old country, which didn’t work. They immigrant “neighbors” should be deported. All illegals are criminals. Close the borders. End immigration before it destroys what is left of America, before America becomes a third world nation.I am an agnositc who is firmly against all immigration to this country. We have been flooded with legal and illegal immigrants, and we certainly don’t need them.

  • Athena4

    Maryann, I take it that you are a Native American then? Because with the exception of the Native Americans, ALL of our ancestors were immigrants to this country at one point or another. Maybe the Indians should have built a fence and deported all of the illegals that stole their land?

  • mreiter72

    It has taken centuries for some families to fully assimilate, but so what? That’s part of what makes our nation so interesting and textured. If we’re not going to really take in our “huddled masses yearning to breathe free/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,” as in the Emma Lazarus poem, we ought to dismantle the Statue of Liberty and replace it with machine guns and barbed wire fence. Which would be an interesting additon to what is a fairly dismal national resume at the moment.

  • INGOODFAITH

    How lovely or how Sneaky?: Afew minutes ago, i read an article, via “BBC”, that tells what U.S. Envoy Mr. Mr. Zardari said, [Islamic] “PAKISTAN is fighting a battle of its own survival? & needs ‘unconditional-support’? by the international-community? in the fields of education, health, training & provision of equipment for fighting terrorism..” Secret: Pakistan wants to be Americas 52nd State?, like Israel Today is the 51st State. ANDPakistan is playing the American UMMA, between his/their [aka, Afghan-Brethrens & Laugh all the way to their HABIB-Banks & their {not OUR} Mosques after milking the “INFIDELS” {Non-Believers}; BUTPakistan, It’s Military Command or otherwise, will not Surrender, so easy their & Saudi’s “Shia-A-Bomb” to the “Internatioal [UMMA] Community”, especially the United States?, in EX-Change for Peace & Protection & Aid etc.., like Israel & CO.?!?Interestingly: PAKISTAN, mabe like KAZAKHSTAN can gave-up & get Ridof All NUCLEAR-WEAPONS off It’s Soil as per PREZ Nursultan NAZARBAYEN recently remminde Us on discussion of creating, for the [Internationa/Umma/Community], a WORLD “Enriched Uranium Bank”, as also AMERica Propsed such a Novel-idea Back October 2008 & i {WE] 2 decades ago! Note: North Korea to can X-CHANGE [enriched] Atoms” for Perpetual Peace & Prosperity & more good tidings, zero Bad end game so to spaketh TRUTH (opposite MYTH).YES WE CAN!

  • s_j_thaikattil

    Dear Rev AndersonWishing you a Happy Easter 2009!Soja John Thaikattil