June 18, 2012

Evangelicals, Immigration and the Law

Last Friday the Obama Administration announced immigration law would no longer be enforced against hundreds of thousands of, and potentially several million, illegal immigrants under age 31 if they came to the U.S. prior to age 16. The policy is controversial not only for its substance but also because the Administration in unilaterally choosing not to enforce the law rather than changing the law through legislation.

Congress has declined several times to approve the “Dream Act,” which would essentially grant by legislation what the Administration has now unilaterally decreed.

This controversy did not deter the National Association of Evangelicals from backing the Administration.

“This new policy is good news for America and is good news for undocumented young adults who came to America through the choice of others,” said Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). “It is the right thing to do.”

Earlier last week, Anderson joined other evangelicals to announce a new “Evangelical Immigration Table” advocating legalization for illegal immigrants. But that coalition is urging legislation through Congress. It did not advocate unilaterally ignoring the law.

One member of last week’s evangelical coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform was Focus on the Family, whose representative criticized the Administration’s unilateral action.

“We are not supporting this announcement,” said Tom Minnery, a senior vice president at Focus on the Family. “The first two years he (Obama) had Democratic control of Congress and promised to fix immigration in his first year and he hasn’t done so. It is hard to take the president seriously after that.”

Unsurprisingly, liberal religious activist Jim Wallis, who’s prominently part of the Evangelical Immigration Table, loved the Administration’s action.

“As evangelicals we love the ‘good news’ of the gospel, and today we affirm this good news that gives hope and a future for young immigrants who are an important part of both the church and this country,” Wallis said.

Others were more wary. “Many illegal immigrants will falsely claim they came here as children and the federal government has no way to check whether their claims are true,” warned Republican congressman Lamar Smith, chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. “And once these illegal immigrants are granted deferred action, they can then apply for a work permit, which the administration routinely grants 90% of the time.”

Evangelicals and other Christians may disagree about the right immigration policies of course. The Scriptures and church tradition offer no detailed guidance for modern civil states and immigration law. But Christians have nearly always affirmed obedience to civil law, except when egregiously evil, and absent lawful means for amending the law. The NAE’s chief spokesman has affirmed an Administration’s decision to disregard the law after Congress has declined several times to legalize younger illegal immigrants.

Does NAE President Leith Anderson favor the Administration ignoring or ceasing to enforce other laws? Earlier this year the Administration announced it would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act. Presumably the NAE disapproves, but on what basis, if a chief executive and his appointees may unilaterally pick and choose the laws they will enforce?

Do most members of NAE churches agree with such a cavalier stance towards our nation’s laws? Very doubtful.

  • The Scriptures and church tradition offer no detailed guidance for modern civil states and immigration law?? Really? It is sad to me that you can be so clear on what you think the Bible says about homosexuality, and not see the story of God’s people is a story about immigrants. I’ll definitely be blogging about your post soon.
    Here’s a preview: “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt.” Exodus 22:21

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  • Frank Garza

    Like Andy! It overwhelms me to read how you the non denominational radio ministers and seudo born again christians put the law that man has written vs the law that God has written, you Jan Markel and your croonies specially Calvary Chapel followers dont get it when it comes to people being surpressed and abused by the corruped and evil governments of the world.

  • Craig Scott

    What is the message to those who have immigrated legally over a period of time? What is the next law that is not to be enforced? Why should I obey any law if I have the hope it may be ordered not to be enforced? This decision is certainly one that a benevelent dictator would make. But then….

    • Morgan Guyton

      You’re talking completely in abstraction. It is almost impossible to immigrate legally to the US unless you’re in the top 1% of whatever society you’re emigrating from. The current visa system will not allow you to join the club unless you’re already a member. If you’re interested in the truth, which may not be the case, this graphic can help: http://morganguyton.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/immigration-faq.pdf

  • maria

    Corrupt church who associate with the mystery babylonian system and who support this traitor and dictator who run the White House. You have corrupt your ways. The Most High will judge you for your trahison, VERY SOON.

    Is this law will protect only muslim brotherhood killer and slave labors?






  • Funny:
    From the period of 105 to 1846 we (USA) abeted and aided illegal immigration and revolts in Mexico, while officialy recognizing the Adams-Otis treaty. Then after the Panic of 1819 (under the cry of GTT) Americas crossed the border at the Sabine River and entered Tejas –which was a piece of land extending from the Sabine to the Nueces Rivers. Besides the legal immigrants (DeWitt Colony and others) abiding by the law, criminals, fugitives opf the law, especulators, slave traders, smuglers, gun runners, etc. flooded Mexico and it gave way to THE LAW OF APRIL 6 OF 1830, BARRING all immigrants from the USA to Tejas. Americans could not stand a law that did not consider a slave “property”, falsified “contracts’ to make them servants. Santa Anna, eager to pleae them, made special favors to Americans to bring cheap labor (The Yeloww Rose of Texas) and Mexican law grantes Mexican woman rights to own land, so Americans –even married, lying– married Mexican women to ccovet the land. Cristobal Carlos (Kit Carson), Santiago Maggofin ()James Maggofin) amonmg many others took Mexican wives to obtain rights and be a beach head for future invasion since Mexico declined to sell the vast northern territories.

    Now, over 200 years after Zebulon Pike entered illegaly in Nueva espana, we forgot that we bited the hand that helped America grow and prosper.

    1874 years after the Runaway Scrape we play the same game with the Mexicans, who are terrorized by laws that at “The Alamo” we Americans, claimed to be unfair and from despots and tyrants.

    It is realy a Manifest Destiny to live together, can we achieve peace if there are emen of good will?

    Eli U. Islas
    New York

  • Correction:
    From the period of 1805 to 1846, when Kearny occupied New Mexico

  • Mark, I have written a response to this article on my blog. Peace.

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  • cynthia curran

    Well, I lived in Orange County Ca until 1996, its in the top ten nationwide for illegal immirgants. The popular image of the OC being mainly upper middle class whites is false since the population now is over a million hispanics and much of it caused with legal and illegal immirgants for the past 30 years. Santa Ana and Anaheim once werer name by the Rockafeller Foundation as cities with hardships-low capita income under 20,000 granted the average income is over 50,000. At least 80 percent of the student body on low and reduce lunches. Highest poverty rates in the county since rhe recession, OC’s hispanics poverty rate is now 20 percent and maybe higher if costing of living is factored. And believe me the left is not the only ones to blame for this, In fact OC business people including right wing evangelicals that believe that business people should be able to hire who they want contributed a lot to the problem.

    • Eli U. Islas

      I read your comments, but the other REALITY is that we, Hispanics, a a group –there are always excemptions– are to blame. We aid and abett illegal immigration NOT to heelp our fellow citizens, but to exploit them by charging rent and using them as an extra supply of resources whetrer they may have a job or not, we pay “coyotes” excesive amounts of money, risking the lives of our relatives, friends, loves ones, to avoid the regulations and have some one to help us with the high cost of living.

      The emedia request STOP the deportations but no one asks the ones already here to STOP trying to bring more people illegaly. if there is going to be a CEASE FIRE on deportations, must be a CEASE FIRE on illegal crossings. As Ariel Sharon once put it, with regard to infiltrations fron the West Bank and Gaza, gave me three months of peace –no infiltrations– asnd we can negociate peace.

  • cynthia curran

    Anyways, medieval or early modern christian socieities did not think that anyone could moved to their empire or town. The Byzantine Empire restrict this and most of the foreigners prior to the Crusades were merchants that the Emperor made trade agreements with.

  • cynthia curran

    Anaheim protest involved certain far left groups from the La are and some from OC. A cop shot a gang member people threw things later at cops and cops fired back. Anaheim has a large illegal immirgant population not all the illegal immirgants were involved with the protest but some where and many of gang members are children and grandchildren of illegal immirgants. So, slowly the flow might lead to less gang involvment in the future and make more people more middle class but the left left groups and some business groups that hire illegal immirgants over the native born or even legal immirgants are also involved whether those business men are left or right.