This blog grows out of my conviction that every aspect of our lives is sacred and is to be nurtured and celebrated as a good gift of God. Most of the posts will be the sorts of things you would expect from a historian and worldview teacher, but some are likely to be a bit surprising. Since God created all things good, including all aspects of human life, everything is interesting and important from the perspective of a biblical worldview. Everything under the Sun and under Heaven is thus fair game here. I hope you find it interesting and enjoyable.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Question of Immigration

Illegal immigration in the U.S. is a thorny problem. On the one hand, we need to uphold the rule of law and not reward people who flout it—the administration seems to forget that deporting only illegals who are guilty of a crime means deporting all of them. On the other hand, as Christians we need to recognize that God’s Law demands that we welcome aliens and treat them well, though how exactly that applies outside of ancient Israel is another difficult question.
There is a third hand, however, one that is usually ignored in discussions of immigration reform.
I had a student whom I will call E.  She came to me in my office one day very upset. Her family had come here as asylum seekers from a country that I will not name. They plugged into the community, both her parents got jobs, they were involved in service organizations, and they were in all ways exemplary citizens, the kind you want to have in the community.
Then, after they had lived here for years and E had gone through the public school system and started college, the Immigration and Naturalization Service decided they did not meet the qualifications for asylum. They began deportation proceedings; her father was taken into custody and sent into a camp in Florida in preparation for returning him to his home country. Her mother was to follow him later, though E could stay while she was in school.
This whole process took quite a bit of time, and E came to see me on several occasions while it was happening. When her father was sent out of state in preparation for deportation, she said to me: “This wouldn’t be happening if we were Mexicans.”
I don’t like reporting that. It makes me very uncomfortable because it can be seen as anti-Hispanic. That isn’t my intent, but I have to say that she had a point. We tend to see immigration as a Hispanic issue, and there’s no question the majority of illegal immigrants are from Mexico and Latin America. And they have advocates in high places, probably because Hispanics are an important voting bloc in this country, so they don’t get deported.
But I wonder where E’s advocates are. Who is speaking for all those who tried to do the right thing, who followed all the rules and been active in their communities, but for whatever reason have been rejected by the INS? Or for those trying to get visas in the first place who cannot? How do we handle those people with fairness and justice? If we really believe in equal protection under law, why are the advocates of immigration reform silent about these people?
I don’t know what happened to E or to her family. I fear that they are gone.
I don’t have any ideas about how to fix the mess we’ve made of the immigration situation. But I do wish someone would start speaking up for those who are being left out of the discussion.