A couple years ago, I attended what were called The Rollins Lectures at Baptist University of the Americas. The topic was immigration. All but two of the panelists were basically rehashing the same old erroneous ‘open borders propaganda’ that has been spewed for years. Needless to say, the scales were tipped heavily to one set of beliefs on the issue. What is worse is that these panelists invoked GOD and HIS WORD in a poor attempt to back up their position. At best, this was done in pure ignorance of Biblical truth and reality in general, which ignorance is itself wrong in God’s eyes, at worst, this was outright heresy! I will address this improper use of the Bible a bit later in this paper. For now, I will address a few of the secular arguments used by the ‘open borders’ crowd…and specifically the panelists of this lecture series.
A popular argument is that these illegal immigrants will do work Americans refuse to do. WHAT?! Before the incredible invasion of our borders, Americans WERE doing the same jobs! The difference was that Americans expected a decent wage for an honest day’s work. Illegals are willing to take a severe pay cut by American standards, though not by their own, just to be in America thus corporate and political America saw their greedy aspirations become a reality. By preventing illegal entry into our great nation, we are preventing the exploitation of human beings! Is that not a Christian way to act?
If they were just willing to enter legally AND the bureaucratic process was actually one based in sanity, these same people could be making three and four times what they can get under the table due to being illegal. Isn’t that the more ideal way to provide for a family? In the last two years, I have had the opportunity to be in our nation’s capital three times. It is no surprise to me that the politicians there spout off about Americans refusing to do certain work. 98% of the whites in the metropolitan D.C. area are either in Congress, the White House or work for politically (power) oriented businesses. The cabbies, hotel bellhops and skycaps at the airport are primarily from African or Middle Eastern nations. Suffice it to say, the view from Capitol Hill is a tad skewed, to say the least.
Let’s examine the impact of illegal immigration on the American economy for just a moment. When illegals come here looking for work, they send more of what they earn BACK to their home countries than they spend in America. This is not a help to America’s economic growth. Emergency rooms throughout the border states in particular fill up with illegals when they or their families that they have brought with them get sick. Who pays that bill? It is NOT them. Taxpayers foot the bill. Yes, some illegals pay taxes, but this is because of fraudulent use of someone else’s social security number, or a ‘legit’ social security number that is obtained because our government does not follow through properly in all its checks and balances. As noted in a KGTV report, Illegal Immigration Could Cost Taxpayers Trillions, “The influx of illegal immigrants has effectively “imported about 10 million high school dropouts into the United States,” said Robert Rector, a senior research fellow in welfare and family issues for the Washington, D.C.-based think tank.” Don’t we have enough of our own drop-outs in San Antonio (i.e. the Westside), much less the rest of America that we need to deal with? Just being poor or wanting to come here is not a valid reason to violate the national sovereignty of the United States. If so, most of the world would be here. While we already devote considerable resources to our resident poor, the USA does not have the resources for all the world’s poor. It is also important to note, God does not obligate us to fix the poverty of the entire planet anywhere in the Bible.
While a smaller percentage than most countries, the US has our own resident poor and uneducated to take care of and, as rich as the country is, we simply cannot support all the poor and uneducated who want to come here. We are but one nation out of nearly 300 throughout the world. Are we being the best Christian stewards of our resources, which God requires us to be, when we continue to support those who violate our laws and sovereignty?
As reported by Bruce Barton in Totalization Sell-Out: What You Don’t Know will Cost You:
“… the Commissioner of the U.S. Social Security Administration (Jo Anne Barnhart) and her Mexican counterpart concluded the U.S.-Mexican Totalization Agreement. This agreement had to be in place prior to the administration’s second term and its all-out offensive for Social Security reform. This agreement would allow illegal aliens working in the U.S. to qualify for Social Security benefits with as few as six coverage credits, as opposed to the 40 now required of American workers.
Additionally, illegal workers could qualify for partial benefits after only 18 months (working illegally and with a false identity), while the American worker would still have to work 10 years in order to vest in the program. Lastly, families and dependents of illegal workers would be entitled to benefits as dependents and survivors, even if not residing in the U.S.”
Sounds to me like I ought to cross the border into Mexico, and come BACK across the border without proper paperwork so I can get illegal status and have to do HALF the work of a citizen to get the same benefits!
The report goes on to say “… The Social Security Administration’s estimate is that only about 50,000 Mexican workers (both legal and illegal) will enter the program in its first year at a cost of $78 million. This ignores the fact that presently there are an estimated 12 to 18 million undocumented Mexicans now in the American workforce. In 2004, the SSA did a study and determined that there were up to 800,000 mis-matched social security accounts, many of which were workers using non-work social security cards, or worse, using stolen social security numbers.
Meanwhile, estimates of the SSA are that by 2050 only 300,000 Mexican workers in the U.S. would be in the system at a cost projection of $650 million annually.”
There is another argument used, though not brought up in the dialogue on either day of the lecture. The argument has to do with those who break into our nation with NO paperwork…including paperwork proving their citizenship in their home country. Now, this may prove a delicate predicament for some. However, I do believe it is not something new to our government’s immigration enforcement agencies. Surely, if one looks hard enough, there is a way to determine where someone originally came from. If you have a real name for a person, surely you can trace it back to family or friends in the native land with a bit of work and willing participation under the right motivation. If you think about it, anyone could conveniently ‘lose their papers’ and use the aforementioned argument otherwise.
During the final session of the Lecture’s first day, I addressed Dr. Daisy Machado’s mischaracterization of the Minuteman movement and other organizations in the fight for secure borders. In my addressing her I said that I hoped her words were the result of her ignorance of the true foundation for the current movement to secure our borders, and not just some misleading attempt to besmirch true patriots in favor of criminal trespassers. She made much about how arguments are ‘couched’…I called her on that point as she never refers to illegal immigrants as illegal immigrants, she only ever used the term immigrants. She did have to acquiesce to a degree when I stated that if you do not have the required paperwork to prove you belong somewhere that you are breaking the law!
She claimed that the Minutemen were racists with violent tendencies who were against immigrants. She showed undocumented ‘evidence’ of violence and racist remarks by people supposedly part of the Minuteman movement. None of the things she displayed on the power point had ANY reference by which one can verify the claims made. Furthermore, “Minutemen” is more a nebulous term now, though there is the Minuteman Project and the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, the latter of which I am a part, and stated such to the entire body of students and staff who were present. The Minutemen I associate with are neither racist nor violent, though we will protect our borders by whatever legal means necessary.
Dr. Machado was very careful to never mention the violence committed just in the last year or so by illegals who have invaded our nation, nor of the disproportionate amount of violent offender prison population who are illegals. No mention was made of the U.S. Border Patrol agents who have been murdered or who have nearly lost their lives, nor of the four officers in Laredo murdered by members of MS-13 who entered illegally. A fair and balanced portrayal of violence and illegal immigration? I think not.
Dr. Machado stated that I could not speak any more for the whole movement than she could for all immigrants. Well, I am the Public Relations Director for American Freedom Riders – San Antonio Brigade, a group of motorcycle riders intent on securing our nation’s borders, something the federal government refuses to do! I am also President of the San Antonio Chapter of the US Border Watch organization based in Houston, Texas. I am a former San Antonio Director for the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps., and former National Vetting officer for the same organization. I think I have a pretty solid grasp of the intent of the national security movement. Do some loose cannon folks do stupid things within some of these organizations? Yes! Does that mean you can tar and feather the whole organization for it, well, according to Dr. Machado, probably…but in reality, NO! Using her logic, I could simply say every illegal immigrant is a terrorist. I honestly do not believe that to be the case.
The debate over illegal immigration and secure borders is, at its core, about national sovereignty. Ronald Reagan said it best, ‘A nation without borders is not a nation at all.’ This is especially true when two nations, who are vastly different in language and culture, share a large border as Mexico and the United States do.
Let me now address this issue from a PROPER Scriptural basis as I promised to do earlier, which is not even close to what took place during the Rollins Lecture series.
The notion of separate nations came from none other than God himself! We know this to be true simply by reading Genesis 11, as this is used as a judgment, though one could make a strong case that borders were created by God as early as the Garden of Eden. At the Tower of Babel God chose to confuse the languages of the people. We are told in Acts 17:26-27: That God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord.”
Scripture makes clear that the purpose of the creation of nation-states is to, in some measure restrain Satan’s ability to create his kingdom on earth until the Lord’s timing as discussed in Revelations 17:17: “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” But nation-states serve another purpose as well, to be God’s instruments on earth for meting out justice and providing protection for the people. (Deuteronomy 17:14-17)
Let us now examine the following four passages from the Hebrew Bible a.k.a. the Old Testament:
Leviticus 19:33-34: And if a stranger sojourns with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Exodus 22:21: Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Exodus 23:9: Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 10:19: Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Sadly, many Christians read no further than this and have decided this was the totality of the Christian response to illegal immigrants.
People without respect for our nation’s borders believe THIS is how we are to treat the illegal immigrants who have willingly invaded our nation.
The problem is, many Christians are sadly lacking in their exegetical skills, therefore do not ‘rightly divide the word of truth’ (2 Timothy 2:15). In other words, they do not fully understand the context of the passages in terms of who is speaking and who is the audience being spoken to. If one is going to use Scripture to defend a position, it rather helps to know how to do it in a Godly manner. God requires us to use His word properly, without adding or taking away from it, even if only in our own sometimes fallible interpretations.
A stranger that sojourns with you or lives with you does not have a single solitary thing to do with illegal immigrants. You can sojourn with strangers on a Greyhound bus. This does not make THEM or YOU illegal immigrants. The true correlation is that the children of Israel were “strangers” in Egypt. That’s why they were to treat their own “strangers” well, because they knew what it is like to be “strangers” in a foreign land.
To be a “stranger” (The Hebrew word is Ger) is to be a foreigner. The children of Israel were invited into Egypt and, at first anyway, were honored guests. They of course were oppressed by later rulers who never knew Joseph, but they were certainly not in Egypt illegally. The Hebrews were not in any way violating Egyptian law. In fact, they were commanded not to offend their hosts in any way (Genesis 46:28-34).
Clearly, “stranger” does not equal “illegal immigrant” from a Biblical perspective. Even when the term “alien” is used in the Bible, it seems to have the exact same meaning as “stranger.”
God loves the stranger, we’re told. You should, too. They should be treated with respect and dignity. They should not be mistreated. These foreigners should be given food and clothing when they are in need. That’s the clear message of the Bible, treat law-abiding foreigners and immigrants with love and compassion.
The immigrants and strangers of the Bible were expected to obey the Hebrew laws, though they were exempt from some. They were treated differently than the children of Israel in that they could not own property; they could be bought as slaves (though most slaves were more like indentured servants) and charged interest on loans.
Only if these immigrants and strangers were fully converted as Jews, and that included circumcision, could they be landowners, partake of the Passover and be fully integrated into the nation of Israel.
The strangers of the Bible were expected to fully assimilate into the Hebrew religion and culture before they could receive all the blessings and all the responsibility of full citizenship.
These godly instructions were meant not just for the judges and kings of Israel, but, more importantly, for the citizenry. These instructions are still relevant today.
If we want to be compassionate to the strangers and immigrants of our world today, those law-abiding foreigners who desperately want to come to America and are patiently waiting their turn, we need to be certain they don’t get squeezed out unfairly by those who broke the law and pushed ahead of them in line.
Certainly, we cannot mistreat or abuse lawbreakers. Many of these have broken the law with honorable intentions of bettering the lives of their families. We as Christians must remember they are human beings, and as such must be accorded proper dignity.
Nevertheless, these lawbreakers are called illegal immigrants for a reason; they came across OUR borders uninvited! They have in essence committed breaking and entering into our great HOME land. They are not just strangers; they are trespassers. They need to go back home and get in line like everyone else waiting to enter our country lawfully. The mercy of the Christian faith is actually in allowing them the opportunity to come back legally in the first place after having made the attempt illegally.
When we engage governments who are oppressing their people, we should verifiably ensure that basic human rights are protected. We cannot continue to say one thing and do another with regard to aid and sanctions in situations where we have chosen to be committed. While we are not able to save the planet from all its ills and fix every problem, we are under no obligation from God to meet the needs of everyone, nor give refuge to every victim of injustice, nor bring them into our homeland, nor make their own nation a democracy. God has allowed people to be born where they were. All may help others at will insofar as possible and desired, individually or corporately through the local church (the only institution ordained by God for the purpose of Christian work) as led by the Holy Spirit.
As Christians, we are obligated to spread the gospel, and compelled by the Holy Spirit to share the love of the Lord in many ways. God does NOT obligate Christians to balance the world’s population according to someone’s idea of equal opportunity for anything other than the gospel.
That is God’s job and He alone will do exactly that in HIS time!