There are many big issues in our world today, but none cause more protest, unease, and even sway the elections of nations than the issue of immigration (think Trump in the US, Le Pen in France, and Angela Merkel in trouble in Germany).
In the United States, the battle lines on this issue seem set in concrete and have spilled over into chaos at numerous Congressional town hall meetings.
I believe it’s crucial we solve the immigration mess with both compassion and justice.
Here is my common sense proposal.
Before I share the ideas, let’s retrace how the immigration debate has changed in the past few years. To use a football analogy, the goal posts have been moved.
If we go back just one generation, let alone hundreds of years, it’s safe to say that the “goal posts” (fixed principles) on who got into this country were based on two common sense commitments:
1. Compassion for People – as evidenced in the words of the Statue of Liberty and seen in one amazing statistic: that the United States receives more immigrants to its shores than any other nation on earth (a million a year). Americans are a welcoming people. Caring for people is goal post number one.
2. Respect for the Rule of Law – for hundreds of years we welcomed those millions through an orderly system of receiving refugees, granting visitor visas, allowing people to get green cards, and applying for citizenship. We understood that nations have borders, the rule of law must be obeyed, and that justice is a pillar of any free society. Respecting borders and the rule of law is goal post number two.
In the last decade or so, radicals began moving both goal posts. Today, the compassion goal post doesn’t take into account that we are fighting a global war on terror and that some people who want to come to America have no no intention to assimilate, but want to kill Americans. This myopia produces blinded compassion by those opposed to extreme vetting.
More radically, the rule of law goal post has almost been taken off the horizon. There is a substantial movement in America toward open borders–anybody can come into the US if they want to without penalty. This insane policy comes in the form of a clever word change: illegal aliens to undocumented workers.
It’s a slick trick. Now we are fighting over whether criminal illegal aliens should be deported and if immigrants from terrorism-friendly failed states should be strongly vetted–while millions who crossed the border illegally get a pass. Trespassing a border is no longer a crime to the open borders folks.
Yet, simple common sense says that’s a lie.
I don’t know one open border, bleeding liberal, Hollywood celebrity who practices open borders with their own home. If they really believe that people have the right to live where they want, cross any boundary etc., then they should immediately remove all locks from their doors, security systems from their yards, and walls around their properties. We should demand they put a sign in their yard that says “All undocumented workers can use my house!”
Otherwise, they’re hypocrites.
That’s the insanity of the position. No one in their right mind would treat their family that way no matter how compassionate they are. Resources are limited in our homes and some people are dangerous. Why should we then allow the “American family” (nation) to be treated similarly?
Both nations and families need privacy and security.
The common sense goal posts of compassion and rule of law have been moved out of sight. On this vast field, with no sense of order, a potential civil war lies in front of us that could tear apart the American fabric unless we return to wise compassion and necessary rule of law.
Here’s my proposal, beginning with six governmental actions. Governments are ordained by God to execute justice and protect their people. Then there are four individual or private group applications. It’s in the individual domain that we are primarily called to show mercy to our fellow humans.
Both justice and mercy must be a part of our immigration solution because they are attributes of God.
JUSTICE – which applies primarily to the government.
1. Secure the border just as we lock our homes.
Praise God that President Trump, of all the presidents of the past thirty years, understands that you can’t have a nation without borders. Borders are a preserver of order, values, security and the uniqueness of societies. In fact, the Bible indicates that God Himself is involved providentially with the borders that make up nations (Acts 17:26).
Open borders is a satanic idea meant only to garner votes and create conflict in sovereign nation-states. They don’t work in a fallen world. We should move full speed ahead with building the wall and incorporating technology that will keep us safe. Nations should “protect their house” and their laws be respected. The sieve must be stopped.
2. Deport all criminal illegal aliens.
There should be no argument here. Those who commit crimes in this nation must be sent back to their country of origin. When you don’t obey the rules of the “home,” you get kicked out–with the exception of the crime of crossing the border (which I will mention later).
3. Extremely vet for extreme times.
It’s totally appropriate to call a “time-out” to figure out the best way to vet people from chaotic states. Terrorists want to come here and carry out jihad. We can’t stop them all–but many. This is not a Muslim ban, it’s just being smarter with cultures who believe killing others in the name of their god is okay.
4. Nationally implement E-Verify to stop business and individual cheating.
Make sure all workers in the US have permission to be here by expanding and nationalizing the E-Verify system. This will stop businesses from wrongly hiring illegals for cheap labor and illegals from breaking the rules with impunity.
5. Punish visa abusers with a ten-year ban from the United States.
Visa overstays contribute to a large portion of the illegal population. The penalty should be strong and swift. You take advantage of the privilege of coming here, then you lose that privilege for the next decade. That would put the fear of God into many a complacent student or visitor.
6. Change/clarify the foreign-baby law.
We need to stop the flood of Chinese tourists who have babies in San Francisco while on vacation and then claim citizenship for their child based on a loophole. Congress needs to clarify the law that “visitor babies” are no more American than calves born in a garage are cars.
COMPASSION – which emanate primarily from the attitudes of the people.
7. Re-commit to being the world’s leading champion of immigrants and refugees.
Let’s continue to lead the world in loving and caring for people. It just needs to be done legally and in an orderly fashion in our neighborhoods and states. That’s God’s heart and way.
8. Whole-heartedly accept Dreamers as US citizens (DACA).
Both presidents Obama and Trump are right that the children of illegal aliens should not be sent back to the country of their parents. Children are not responsible for the sins of mom and dad–clearly a biblical and common sense idea (Ezekiel 18:20 and Deuteronomy 24:16). It wasn’t their fault that they were brought here.
9. Give long-term illegal aliens permanent residence but no voting rights.
This is the fairest way to solve the dilemma of eleven million or more illegals aliens now currently in the United States. Amnesty spanks of injustice and deporting them remains unmerciful and disruptive. Let them pay a fine based on their years of illegality and take away the right to vote for twenty years.
This is neither amnesty nor cruelty. It is common sense mercy. The penalty for entering the country illegally should be forfeiture of voting rights for some time. Then they can apply for citizenship.
10. Declare a Day of Reconciliation & Renewal (R&R)
When the other major actions have been completed, the president should declare a national day of R&R–of Reconciliation and Renewal. On that day, all Americans should be encouraged to gather in their churches, city halls, businesses and homes to ask God’s forgiveness for the immigration nightmare we created, forgive and and seek reconciliation with one another, and proclaim the rebirth of freedom in the United States as a sovereign, just, and merciful nation.
This could be America’s Day of Jubilee (maybe a new national holiday).