Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Immigration policy query

As I noted below, many religious folks have taken a "compassionate" position in the immigration debate, a position (by the way) that tracks very well that taken by the Chamber of Commerce (somewhere--is it heaven or is it hell?--Adam Smith is smiling). I can’t quarrel with the religious principles involved--above all, hospitality toward the stranger--but a substantial portion of the overall policy direction depends less upon this principle than upon the prudential judgment that border enforcement can’t work. With that position, I’m more willing to quarrel.

What’s more, it seems to me that many who are prepared to be compassionate to immigrants (folks like my dad and mom, both immigrants themselves, albeit through legal channels) also want, first and foremost, border security. Might it not be a wise political move, perfectly consistent with the high principles involved, to support the kinds of border security reassurances that that the high walls folks say they want? What’s objectionable about (so far as is practicable) sealing the borders while also providing a path to citizenship and/or a guest worker program for those who are among us? If the religious principle is, as has been claimed, consistent with a concern for national security (not to mention national identity, to which, by the way, I find no objection, at least as a matter of temporal concern, in someone like St. Augustine), then why can’t the religious folks reach out to the border security folks and cut a deal--fences, on the one side, for legitimacy, on the other?

I’m sure that there are extremists on both sides--hypernativist Know-Nothings, as well as rootless cosmopolitans (to put it nicely)--who would object to one or the other term of the deal, but sound public policy would benefit from marginalizing them, showing them how small their real constituencies are.

What say you. gentle readers?

Discussions - 10 Comments

I’m a Christian and want to respond. Christ calls us to be gentle as doves but wise as serpents. The next terror war will be fought here and it will be with people who have waltzed into this country as an illegal. Put the wall up, one that is higher than anything else and put sensors, cameras, anything else to help around the walls.
These so called religious folk who want open borders are probably the same ones who demand that an abused wife stay in the marriage.

More accurately, the liberal clerics who tell us to open our borders are the same kind of people who don’t believe in war, think the U.S. is a bully, etc., etc. All these beliefs fit very nicely together. Just because someone wears a dog collar and abuses quotations from the Gospels is no reason to accord respect.

I’m admittedly out of my depth here, talking about immigration as it relates to religion. I don’t have 2 cents worth. What I have is more 2 lira worth, but here goes:

I think guilt feelings, based on religion, as they apply to this issue are wrong headed for this reason:


Once the fence is up, legal entry can be streamlined to the point where legal entry can be faster and an awful lot safer than illegal entry is now. But such a scenario will be a nightmare for the nuts at A.N.S.W.E.R, as they will lose their base for their glorious revolution: RTWT. (Or as much of it as you like).

A.N.S.W.E.R will be throwing a few illegal immigrant protest parties soon. The good guys at Power Line are trying to get party-crashers to go and get video. Go here: and scroll down to "Ready. Aim. Shoot!"

Professor K.,

It seems to me that a culture of guilt is growing among evangelical/conservative churches - not just on immigration, but on many issues. Just yesterday, in my presbyterian (PCA) church the assistant pastor quoted the NAE’s statement on global warming when talking about the need to protect the environment. My girlfriend, a chemistry grad - just about went ballistic because the science backing up the NAE’s statement is so bad. But someone went to Ted Haggard and the rest and gave them a guilt trip about global warming, so they signed onto it. The church seems to feel guilty and apologetic about all sorts of things.

In the meantime, we’ve forgotten that sometimes the Christian thing to do is not to give a particular person exactly what they want - but show them what they need. I think one would be hard pressed to make a Christian argument that the best thing to do with illegal immigrants is to encourage them to continue to break the law. After all, in Romans 13:4, Paul does have that bit about following the sovereign. Surely no one wishes to suggest that US immigration laws are somehow fundamentally immoral, to the extent that they justify revolting against the government. If that’s true, the church should encourage illegal immigrants to do the right thing and act legally, while still showing compassion to individual people.


For those, religious or not, who want very liberalized immigration policies, "compassion" stops at the border. It cannot be "compassionate" to expose those poor strangers who have just entered the country as immigrants to greater threats from illegal terrorists or, maybe more important, to the undermining of our society from UNLIMITED immigration without time and effort for assimilation. Surely the overwhelming majority who enter the US do so to enjoy the material and nonmaterial benefits of freedom. It’s a hoax to first invite them in, and then to undermine the principles that form the rationale for their immigrating in the first place. To do so is to say that once you have entered the US, we will stop being concerned about your well-being as a resident or future citizen of America.

I’m no expert on Christian political philosophy, but it seems clear empirically that in the real world, even the firmest Christianity isn’t enough. There is a need for a secular analysis of society and government. Without an understanding of how power, etc., work in man’s fallen state, and how to counteract the ills of government in this life and on this earth, Christians are all but helpless. Eventually, they will be forced to render unto Caesar and forbidden to render unto God.

A lot of christian churches probably go soft on immigration because a lot of these hispanics are catholic. Lets think about this... on the one side you have the chamber of commerce who wants to ensure cheap labor, and on the other side you have religious interests that wish to dilute the secularization of america via importing christians...(albeit democrats for practical and not principled reasons...) On the other hand you have a large minority (or small majority) who are strongly anti-immigration...because they don’t want to see mexican flags...compete with mexican workers (in america!)...ext...

The real problem for is that it is hard to extricate the debate from devolving into a race/culture war. Illegals are going to come in no matter what... but a bigger problem is that the newly naturalized american citizens don’t necessarily stop being mexican....

If it were not for the welfare state...and politicians couldn’t buy votes with entitlements and confused log-rolling specifically targeting a segment of minority positions....the situation would clarify itself more easily.

Just whom is one supposed to be compassionate towards? The illegal immigrant, or the mother, sister, brother who is on the list to immigrate legally---and has been for six years? Powerline notes that the demonstrations are backed by International A.N.S.W.E.R.. I saw an article a year or two back that said that environmental activists were planning to enlist Evangelical Christians for "global warming" by relying on the Christian idea of ’stewardship of the earth’. There seems to be no end to crass opportunism.

The problem isn’t with our laws.

The problem is with the abysmal performance of the various governments south of the U.S. border.

By the way, while Vincente Fox promotes illegal immigration to the U.S., his government routinely catches illegals that cross their southern border and deports them.

Then again, the U.S. government is much easier to influence than Mexico’s is, especially when you have one party who doesn’t believe in the greatness of America and the other party believes we somehow need this illegal immigration for economic reasons.

But hey, what do I know, except that I stop, almost daily, hispanics who have no driver’s license, no insurance, and only carry a consular card from Mexico. We arrest them, fingerprint them, and let them go.

Report them to INS? Sure, if the respond, that is.

This mess has been brewing for decades.

I mean, we had a movie with a French guy making a joke out of illegal immigratiion (Green Card).

Well, at least we know LULAC and the other organizers of the numerous protests nationwide have been paying attention for they quickly switched from waving Mexico flags to waiving mainly U.S. flags.


Well, I am the dad that Joe writes about. I immigrated to this great country in 1950, AFTER WAITING FOR 2 YEARS FOR AN IMMIGRATION VISA. I did it the legal way. If we are to believe, and hope to sustain, that this is "a country of laws", then it is obvious that we cannot, and shall not,make exceptions for fear of forever abandoning this great "experiment of democracy and freedom" ever attempted in human history.We can remain the great beacon of welcome to the rest of the world, but only if we remain committed to the the constitution,upon which all of our laws, including those dealing with immigration, are based.It does not take great genius to figure out what, in the end, will happen to the "experiment" if we continue to ignore the laws that we pass to safeguard it!

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