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Posturing on Immigration

Immigration is back on the table again.

Immigration is back on the table again, but only for the sake of posturing, not policy.

The President, trying to show the American public that he's tough on illegal immigrants, has reinforced the borders and deported a good many illegal aliens. That, of course, infuriates his left-leaning and Latino base.

The Republicans insist that more needs to be done to beef up border security in order to stop drug traffickers and other criminal elements from having easy access to the country.

Now the President is stumping around, floating a few new ideas and tweaking Republican stubbornness. Republicans just keep looking at the border and refusing to budge until they get what they want.

None of this is designed to change any policies. The President is hoping to shore up the 67% Latino vote that he received in the last general election, and the Republicans are being, well, Republicans. This latest round of fussing about immigration is all about getting elected - the President trying to secure his left/Latino base and the Republicans playing to the concerns of most Americans over this issue.

Do we ever get sick of this?

Meanwhile, a lot of folks are caught up in the midst of this political wash. Millions of people are here illegally because certain American employers lured them here, paying them less than minimum wage and withholding no taxes. The present situation encourages more law-breaking, and not just by illegal aliens.

The Scriptures teach that we should love the strangers and sojourners in our midst, but that they should be expected to live by the same laws the rest of us do. They also suggest we should have a more open immigration policy. It's a mark of the blessing of God on a nation that people are willing to leave their own homeland and culture to try for a better life in another land. But as long as politicians see this issue as rich with possible political points, there won't be much movement toward a fair and just resolution.

We should, of course, arrest, prosecute, and punish or deport any illegal aliens guilty of crimes in America. But we should not make the rest of the illegal alien population pay for the flagrant misdeeds of a few. At some point we need to streamline a way for illegal aliens to become citizens - perhaps with a fine and back taxes, as the President suggests - then re-visit the whole system for processing people from other countries into citizenship. And we need to fine those who have broken American law by hiring illegal aliens, so that we make the law work for equal justice for all people.

But don't look for anything substantive to happen soon. Pray that our lawmakers and President will have wisdom, charity, and a sense of fair play, and that someone will rise from within that crowd to propose an immigration policy that makes more than mere political sense.

Additional related texts: Exodus 22.21-24; Leviticus 19.33, 34; Deuteronomy 24.17, 18

A conversation starter: "Immigration policy is back on the table. Do you think our politicians have the decency and courage to work out something just and fair in this matter?

T. M. Moore

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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