Tag Archives: illegal immigration

The Immigration Debate, president Trump and Jesus

The Progressive Christian Approach

to Immigration Reform

by Pastor Paul J. Bern

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My message for today revolves around what the media and our politicians are saying regarding the topic of immigration reform, as opposed to what the Bible says. We have all heard both sides of this issue from Republicans and Democrats, from conservative to progressive to liberal, as well as independent voters like myself. President Trump went on the record earlier this week to advocate for even tighter immigration requirements than those already in place. I myself was formerly on the conservative side of this issue due to the fact that had once lost a good job in the computer/IT profession due to my being replaced by foreign workers despite the fact that I was more qualified.

 

Then one day in the late spring of 2008, I took a contract job out in west Texas under very favorable terms for myself. So, I put most of my things in storage with the intention of coming back to Atlanta where I live after my contract job expired. I had never been to Texas before, and I found a completely different culture than what I was accustomed to back east. There were three things I noticed immediately soon after my arrival. The first was the oppressive heat and humidity, the second was that people ate burritos in place of burgers, and the third was that approximately one third of the population was Latino. The first thing I remember thinking when I saw that one third of the population spoke only Spanish was that this must be ground zero for ‘illegal immigration’, or so I thought at the time.

 

But I spent four months out there in Texas, and as my days turned into weeks I began to notice seemingly insignificant little things that began adding up to something much more. For example, I saw Latino men – and a few women as well – hanging around temp agencies, construction sites, and even at a U-haul truck rental company in the hopes of getting a job at least for that day. I remember being struck by the parallels between what those Latino folks were having to endure as they searched for work, and a piece of the so-called ‘American dream’, compared to my own previous job search experiences. Some of these workers lived at homeless shelters, others in campers or vans, and the more prosperous ones lived in rented mobile homes or apartments. I saw the same thing day after day, with hundreds of workers gathered around in groups of as few as eight or ten, and as many as several dozen. And so I found myself beginning to question my own intense dislike of these immigrant workers. I mean, all they really wanted was a chance at a new life in a safer and cleaner environment. What’s wrong with that?

 

Before I go any further with this message, I think I should point out that my basis for resenting many of these immigrant workers was economic rather than racial. Nevertheless, thanks to my “education”, my beliefs and opinions had been heavily slanted towards an American rather than a world view. So I found myself beginning to question my own motives for feeling the way I did. As I did some research on-line, what I found explained the cognitive dissonance between what I had been “taught” and what I saw. The average worker in Mexico earns the equivalent of about $50.00 per month USD. When these same workers come to the US they make minimum wage, more or less, which is currently still stuck at only $7.25 per hour here in Georgia. Since a sizable chunk of these workers make less than minimum wage while being paid in cash under the table, I’m going to use a rounded out number of $7.00 hourly for the whole country. A 40-hour work week at seven dollars an hour yields gross pretax earnings of $280.00 per week before taxes and Social Security. But since many of these workers don’t work full time their take home pay is even less. At any rate, this works out to gross earnings of $1,120.00 per month. If each worker pays a regular tax rate as we Americans do, and many don’t because their employers are cheating the tax man by paying in cash, they wind up with an average net take-home pay of approximately $740.00 per month. But when you compare that to making only $50.00 (USD) in Mexico, $740.00 must seem super-tantalizing to our Latino brothers and sisters.

 

I challenge anybody out there to try and live even for only a month on substandard pay such as this! The bottom line is that this is impossible while still meeting our monthly expenses in a timely manner. In order to better understand this, instead of Mexico and the US being the two countries involved, let’s use the US and Canada instead. If any given American working professional were offered a job in Canada, what would that be in relation to the US and Mexico? For any Mexican/Latino who emigrates to America, the jump from fifty bucks a month to 740 dollars equals a pay increase that is 11.4 times the going rate in Mexico or, for that matter, any Central or South American country. Now, let’s contrast that to an American jumping ship and leaving the US to go and work and live in Canada. With an average net earnings of $35,000.00 annually (before taxes) for American workers, if any of us were to be offered a job in Canada – or for that matter any other developed or emerging country worldwide – at 11.4 times the going rate here in the US, that would amount to an increase in take-home pay to $399,000.00 annually before taxes!

 

OK, so let’s ask ourselves a simple question: Would you or I be interested in a pay increase of 11.4 times the amount we have been earning previously? The obvious answer is, of course we would! So, now you know why the Latino folks are migrating – legally or not – to the US in search of work. It’s not because they are foreign invaders on an economic and social offensive to overrun America like certain people always say. It’s because they are economic refugees from the third world who are searching for a better life for themselves and their families! So, instead of resenting or even hating this influx of foreign workers, the Christian thing to do would be to reach out to the Latino communities in all fifty states and minister to them. I don’t mean giving them a handout, either. Like so many long-term unemployed here in America, they don’t want a handout, they simply want to go to work. But I felt convicted in the Holy Spirit for previously harboring such negative and bitter thoughts, and I have long since repented of this.

 

Showing compassion to foreigners and strangers is central to biblical teaching and morality. “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt.” (Exodus 22: 21) Moreover, there are quite a few Christians who have started joining the fight to pass immigration reform, including myself. Congress needs to pass immigration reform into law because it is the morally right thing to do. Those whose position on reform is based on political fear, unacknowledged racial prejudice or worries about losing primaries to far-left ideologues are too often the same people who trumpet their religious convictions as guiding their decisions in public life – in violation of the First Amendment’s separation of church and state! Politicians who are professing Christians need to consider what their faith has to say about immigration. If they oppose reform and refuse to offer shelter or compassion to our immigrant brothers and sisters, they should (hopefully) begin asking themselves why. We must join with other faith communities in asking for a moral and religious conversation about immigration reform – not just a political one. God’s passionate, abiding concern for immigrants and foreigners, strangers and travelers – and for our neighbors – is obvious to anyone reading through Scripture.

 

It is the Biblical call to “welcome the stranger” and Jesus’ concern for “the least of these” that inspires and motivates us. “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:33-34). In the New Testament, the stranger, and all who are vulnerable, are at the very heart of the Gospel (Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan is just one example of many). In the book of Matthew, Jesus offers a vision in which caring for them is the defining mark of God’s kingdom: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:35-36).

 

That evangelical as well as mainstream Christians would finally act to reform the immigration system should surprise no one, and not just for theological reasons. Undocumented immigrants have joined our congregations; we understand the problem firsthand. They are our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. And we know that by reforming our immigration laws, we can create a system that also reflects the best values of our nation and the highest ideals of our faith. We act because, as the book of James reminds us, “faith without works is dead.”

 

For me, I think the biggest change hasn’t been in the pulpit, it’s been in the pews and out in the streets. It’s one thing when 11 million people are a statistic. But it’s other thing altogether when one of those 11 million is your friend, a human being who you now know as a father, as a husband, as a mother, as a co-worker, or as a worshiper. Our faith has always been about love, empathy and compassion. It compels us to do something, putting others before ourselves. If we take the principle of compassion out of the Bible, it wouldn’t be the Bible any more. Compassion is indeed all over the Bible, it’s written in between every line! I pray it will also be found in the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate. It’s time for Christians in Congress to stand up in support of immigration reform, or to explain why they won’t — as Christians. If they follow their faith, we will see the miracle we need. And let’s remember that there is no such thing as an illegal human being. Everybody has the right to be here.

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How Badly Have Our Politicians Lost Touch? This bad.

Five Biblical Concepts Our Political

Leaders Just Don’t Understand

by Rev. Paul J. Bern

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Right-wing Evangelical Fundamentalism, as well as much of America’s conservative political leadership, claims to return to the roots of Christianity. Few of these fundamentalists care much about the early church, the four Gospels, the apostle Paul’s letters, or St. Augustine. Rather, they blend Southern Conservatism, bastardized Protestantism, Aryan heresies, gross nationalism and a heavy dose of naive anti-intellectualism for a peculiar American strain of what I will tactfully call spiritual sophistry. As a pastor by the name of Reverend Cornell West has noted, “the fundamentalist Christians want to be fundamental about everything, except ‘love thy neighbor.’” I couldn’t agree more. So, I decided to make that this week’s commentary (I never liked the word ‘sermon’, it seems too stiff and formal to me). Here are some verses we liberal Christians wish they would get more “fundamentalist” about:

1. Immigration: The verse: “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” – Leviticus 19:33-34, KJV.

Bogus ‘Christians’ hate this verse because fundamentalists are almost universally xenophobic. The truth of the matter is religious fundamentalism is only a reaction to the multiculturalism of a liberal democracy, and particularly in multicultural churches. Rather than seeking a “brotherhood of man,” religious fundamentalism longs for a colonial community, without the necessary friction from those with foreign beliefs, cultures and customs, and especially with different skin colors. We are called to discern among “sojourners”. The original meaning of this word in this context is ‘those who move about from place to place’. This looks to me like a euphemism for what some call ‘illegal immigrants’. People looking for a home have been around ever since humankind began to explore the earth. (the New International version translates ‘sojourners’ as “aliens”, which has a more familiar right to it) There are currently 11 million illegal immigrants who want to become citizens, with likely an additional 20 million family members as new citizens within about a decade. What does God say about those who hate without cause and mistreat foreigners? “I will be a swift witness against… those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against … those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:5., KJV

2. Poverty: The Verses: “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” – Matthew 19:24, NIV.

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.” James 5: 1-6, NIV

To myself, at least, one of the most absolutely hilarious aspects of modern-day, far-right Christianity is its reverence of capitalism. That’s because Christ could be considered anti-capitalist, as well as Moses (see Exodus 22: 25-27, in any Biblical version you like). Consider that there is some version of the story of the rich man approaching Jesus that appears in every Gospel. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus tells the rich man, “go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” (Mark 10:21) The story of Lazarus should similarly terrify modern day fundamentalists. Lazarus is a beggar who waits outside of a rich man’s house and begs for scraps. When both Lazarus and the rich man die, Lazarus ends up in heaven, while the rich man ends up in hell. When the rich man begs for water, Abraham says, “Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.” Luke 19:25.

So-called “conservative Christians” (the very term is an oxymoron) hate these verses because the only thing fundamentalists dislike more than immigrants is poor people. Seriously. A former Tea Party congressman once said he thought the government should cut food stamps entirely, “The role of citizens, of Christians, of humanity is to take care of each other, but not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country.” Former congressional representative Michelle Bachmann has also made a similar statement. The entire Tea Party movement is based on the idea that a huge portion of Americans are “takers” who suck the lifeblood out of the economy. Never mind the fact that the reason all those people aren’t working is because their jobs got exported overseas for pennies on the dollar, leaving them destitute. The majority of Christian “fundamentalists” insist that poverty be explained in terms of a personal moral failure, or even mass incompetence. They therefore hold that success should be described in terms of morality, when in fact the Bible says quite the opposite: “In the last days many will compare godliness with gain”. The poor are considered culpable so that they can be punished – like today’s cuts to food stamps or the public shaming of those on disability, welfare or unemployment.

3: The Environment The Verses: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1:27-28

By him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17

Why do so many fundamentalists twist and distort these verses? In Genesis, man is given stewardship of the Earth, God’s creation. Stewardship in the Christian tradition implies protection. Man should exist in harmony with the earth, not work against it. Jesus Christ once told his followers: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” – Luke 16:13. Increasingly, the religious right (which is neither, by the way) is trying to do exactly that, intertwining Evangelical fundamentalism with unfettered capitalism — with disastrous results for the earth’s environment and the US job market. Thus, American political life is increasingly dominated by Christians from the extreme right who reject the religious ethos in favor of capitalist ethos. It is these same Christian right wing nuts who seeks to discredit the threat of global warming. It also claims the threat of climate change is “alarmist” and fears that efforts to clamp down on emissions will hurt the poor (read: Fortune 500 corporations). In reality, climate change will have its greatest effect on people living on less than a dollar a day who can not adapt to higher temperatures. Conservative Evangelicals are not concerned with dwindling biodiversity, the destruction of ecosystem, rampant pollution, global warming and the numerous other environmental challenges we face. Rather they, with the business community, are only concerned with the bottom line. The future is irrelevant (unless we’re talking about government debt). Thus, the Biblical command to protect the environment is quietly swept under the rug.

4. War The Verses: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” – Matthew 5: 38-42, NIV “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5: 43–45.

As a religious and political movement, fundamentalists have defined themselves as a party of opposition, rather than of love, grace and mercy. Some scholars are erroneously calling this a “third great awakening”, even though it is different from the other two. This one is full of contempt disguised as piety toward those whose understanding of religion fails to meet their lofty standards. While past “Great Awakenings” have looked inward, seeing sin within the conflicted self, this new awakening looks outward, seeing sin in the wider culture. The culture, which is secular, is evil, while the church is sacred. This is why modern religious fundamentalism gravitates towards xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, etc. Fear and disgust are its motivating factors. This fundamentalism inclines some religious people toward a preemptive “war of religion” and a strong disgust (that sometimes culminates in violence) toward Muslims and gay people. Oddly enough, the Christian tradition has developed a theory of “Just War” (developed by Thomas Aquinas) which condemns war except when all other options have been exhausted and there is just treatment of prisoners (with a specific condemnation of torture). If only one of the past two “Christian” presidents had listened.

5. Women The Verse: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28

Although the right often claims the Bible supports their absurd ideas about gender roles, such sexist claims have been thoroughly debunked by theologians. Generally, when you’ll hear an explanation of why women belong in the home, it’ll rely on a misreading of one of Paul’s doctrines. In contrast to Paul, Christ rarely concerned himself with sexual mores, although he clearly was against divorce. He was far more concerned with fighting oppression and injustice. Fundamentalists want to keep women submissive and subservient, but Jesus won’t let them. In Luke, for instance, Jesus is blessed by a priestess named Anna. He praises a woman who stands up to a judge and demands justice. It’s worth noting that in a time when women could not testify in a court of law, all four resurrection stories have women arriving first to Jesus’ tomb. Jesus talks with a Samaritan woman at a well even though Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans, and he praises Mary Magdalene for listening to his words (see Luke 10:38-42). These verses are powerful and I believe that they should be carefully considered.

I’m becoming increasingly concerned that Christianity and religion in general is represented by its most ultra-conservative, fundamentalist elements. Remember that Karl Marx drew his inspiration for the famous quote “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” from the example of the early church (Acts 4:32-35). But once the moral potshots are finished, we all have to face the fundamental and aching deprivation of having been born. We can continue to have a fun time berating those who believe the Bible explains science. The Christian message doesn’t contradict science, and nor is it concerned with American politics. Ultimately, Christianity is about transcending politics and fighting for social and economic justice. Think of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Malcolm X – all of whom were influenced by their religion to change the world. Jesus saw how oppression and oppressors consumed the world. He has, as always, sided with the oppressed. This Johnny-come-lately of skewed fundamentalism I’m writing about is radically new and far removed from true Christianity. True Christianity offers us a far superior doctrine — one of social justice, love and equality. When we practice all of these, we are following Christ regardless of religious denomination.

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What would Jesus say about illegal immigration? Actually, he already has.

Immigration Issues And The Golden Rule

by Rev. Paul J. Bern

 

 

After watching all the haters this week in the mainstream media, I would first like to say that I have had a belly full of those who are ranting and raving about the flood of child immigrants crossing our country’s southern border. Those persons whose battle cry is, “not in my back yard” have forgotten – or chose to ignore – that the United States is an entire nation of immigrants. Our country is a melting pot for people of all nations, races, genders, nationalities and faiths. We are not being invaded by an army from the south. What we actually have is a humanitarian crisis of colossal proportions. For example, if a kid you never saw before came to your door asking for food, would you give it to him or her? Let’s not forget what it says on the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…“ Let’s also not forget three different things taught by Jesus Christ. The first is, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matt 19:14). The next one is, “… Jesus said, I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure” (Matt 11: 25-26). Hidden what, you ask? The entire concept of unconditional love and acceptance while living in peace and harmony escapes those who are hateful, bigoted, prejudiced and intolerant, but the kids understand it completely – just ask one. Better yet, go and ask one of the so-called “illegal” children and teens crossing America’s borders. They know exactly what living in peace and harmony means because they have all escaped from the war zones down in Mexico and Central America.

 

 

But the most famous and timely quote from Christ regarding this entire issue can be summed up in one short paragraph. “The the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothed you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’.” (Matt. 25, verses 34-40) The righteous who did all these things during their physical lives will reap an eternal reward, but those who thought only of themselves will receive eternal condemnation.

 

 

We all know, or at least have heard of, the story of the Good Samaritan as told to us by Jesus Christ. I won’t quote the entire parable verbatim because my posting today is about how it applies to the subject of so-called “illegal immigration”. If I put the story into modern terms I can cite two different examples, one of how this could work out and the other as it actually did. A certain traveler from a foreign country was making their way through the US seeking to find suitable work and re-establish themselves in their newly adopted country. While on their journey, this hapless foreign national gets jacked up, beat up, and left semi-conscious and bleeding on the side of the road. A short while later a religious leader and church pastor who are passing by see the beaten and now-penniless victim, pause for a moment and say a quick prayer, and continue on their way. A few minutes after that, a well-paid IRS agent passes by the man and doesn’t even bother to stop and help even though he/she could have easily afforded to do so. An hour or two later, after this crime victim has been lying bleeding, severely injured and baking in the hot sun, a homeless man happens upon this person. This street person from the impoverished inner city (fill in the blank with the city of your choice) cleans up the victim’s wounds as best as he can and then dials 911 on his/her prepaid mobile phone, summons medical assistance to that location, and waits for the ambulance to arrive while protecting this luckless individual from further injury and harm. Once the ambulance has picked the injured person up and taken them to the nearest ER, the homeless person who helped the injured traveler goes on their way, enjoying a quiet satisfaction within themselves at the good deed they have done. But they say nothing to anyone about it, not wanting accolades or applause from anyone, but only to do good and to be merciful towards all God’s children. “Blessed are the merciful”, Jesus said, “for they will be shown mercy”.

 

 

Allow me to now present a somewhat similar story from the Internet, but the outcome is altogether different. A person from Central America gets severely injured in an auto accident through no fault of his own. He spends a lengthy time in the hospital recovering from his injuries and racks up a $1.5 million dollar-plus medical bill. In the end, he is deported to his country of origin because he was here illegally, even though he was still an invalid at the time of his deportation. Basically, the Florida hospital had taken care of an “illegal immigrant” from the country of Guatemala for a period of almost three years at a cost of $1.5 million dollars. The hospital requested and received permission from the court to physically remove the patient from the hospital and send him back to Guatemala. The purpose of the posting was to get people riled up over so-called “illegal immigrants”. It basically states our rising health-care costs are totally due to caring for illegals, which simply isn’t true, but that’s a subject for another day. When I was reading this blog posting I wondered why this person had been hospitalized for a period of almost three consecutive years, and why the total cost was so relatively low. I’ve been in the hospital a few times lately and $1,100/day barely gets you a bed, much less sheets and a pillow. At any rate, in the eyes of God there is no such thing as an illegal human being, and I think that those who think otherwise would do well to let go of their “wild west” ways. I say again – there is no such thing as someone who has no right to be here. At any rate, the foreign nationals injuries happened as follows:

 

 

On April 5, 2000 a drunken Donald Flewellen, age 52, driving on a revoked license, borrowed a neighbor’s vehicle and was involved in a hit-and-run accident in Fort Pierce, Florida. This accident resulted in two deaths and left Luis Jimenez, our Guatemalan illegal, a paraplegic with brain injuries. At the time of the accident, Flewellen had only been out of jail for four months for his previous conviction of two counts of DUI manslaughter. It appears Luis Jimenez was approximately 28-years-old at the time of the accident and in his early 30’s when the Florida court approved his return to Guatemala, where he is now residing in a small mountain village in a one-room house with his mother. I’m curious as to how Americans would feel if the situation was reversed. What would happen if one of our youngsters was in a foreign country, legally or illegally, and suffered brain damage, and became a paraplegic at the hands of a foreigner, someone who should have been in prison? What would you feel like if you were a mother and had your son returned to you, in the condition Luis Jimenez is in, and were expected to care for him for the rest of his life without any assistance or funds to provide assistance?

 

 

One of my pet peeves is Internet and MSM articles and blog postings that take a stand on a subject without bothering to provide all the facts. The bottom line on this particular subject was – had the family of Luis Jimenez appealed the court decision on this case, Jimenez would still be in this country, and we would be “forced” to provide him with medical care. Decisions regarding the status of illegals are Federal, and State courts simply do not have the authority to remove individuals from this country whether they are here legally or illegally. Over and over again, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that illegal immigrants have the same constitutional rights as U.S. citizens and, until that is changed, federal law prevails.

 

 

Aside from the legal aspect is the moral aspect, and morally this country caused the injuries to this young man and it is our obligation to care for his needs. We are, after all, a Christian nation, are we not? Didn’t Jesus heal the sick? Then we should be doing likewise, and those who disagree with me on this point have forgotten their Christian heritage, lost touch with their humanity, or both. When I was a kid, I was taught that kindness wasn’t a choice, it was a command. It wasn’t something you considered doing; it was an automatic reaction that came straight from the heart. We just did it because that’s what Jesus would have us do. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

 

 

Let me be absolutely clear about what I regard as a travesty of justice. Immigrants, whether they are here legally or not, are not invaders from another country. They are economic refugees. I will use Mexico as an illustration, although the man in the story is from Guatemala. The average blue-collar worker in Mexico has a take-home pay in Pesos that is equal to about $50.00 a month in US dollars. When any given migrant worker comes to the US and takes a job at minimum wage, that works out to a net pay after taxes of about $740.00 per month for a single person, more than a fifteen-fold increase over what they used to make. Now, let us ask ourselves this basic question: if we were offered a job in our profession in Canada, for example, at fifteen times our current pay rate, any one of us would naturally be eager for the chance, is that not correct? Now you know why so many economic refugees from the third world are coming here, and it’s not just from Mexico or Guatemala. They seek economic opportunity just like anyone else would, and it is a level of opportunity available in few places elsewhere.

 

 

So why does this issue upset so many people? America is and always has been a nation of immigrants. There has never been a time in American history when this was not so, not even in WWII. Every time we welcome one more immigrant into America, we take on the role of the Good Samaritan all over again. And that is a role we should all continue to emulate everywhere we go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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