(Photo credit: The White House)
By Marjorie Jeffrey (@MarjorieJeffrey)
That’s the line from Sr. Simone Campbell and her co-author, Richard Trumka, in their new op-ed, “Don’t fall for the false choices on immigration”. This line of thought is starting to sound familiar, with similar rhetoric coming from the Evangelical Immigration Table and other activists like Jim Wallis and John Carr. The line is the same, no matter how it’s phrased: Christians don’t have a choice about whether or not they should support amnesty. No matter what their conscience or reason tells them, this is what Jesus would do. Anything else is antithetical to Christian charity and the Biblical commandment to love thy neighbor.
Sister Simone Campbell is, of course, the Executive Director of NETWORK, the lobbying group behind the Nuns on the Bus. The Nuns on the Bus’ latest tour is promoting the current immigration bill which is being considered on the floor of the Senate. Richard Trumka is the President of the AFL-CIO, a man who helped repeal the AFL-CIO’s ban on Communists in the organization’s leadership, and has, in the past, encouraged violence on the part of its members.
The op-ed claims that “a great country can’t claim to be a beacon of freedom and opportunity while separating immigrant parents from their children and exploiting workers.” Well, this country doesn’t separate parents from their children: a border does. A border crossed by the immigrants themselves. The greatest moral failing of the United States is, arguably, the failure to enforce immigration law, allowing Mexican elites to ignore social problems in their own country, sending their discontented poor across the border in order to send money back to the home country. One wonders why this incredible moral catastrophe on the other side of the border is being ignored, while American elites are placed under enormous pressure to pay for Mexico’s policy mistakes.
One of the most least credible parts of the op-ed is Campbell and Trumka’s claim that they “stand on the shoulders” of Cesar Chavez. Chavez’s position on illegal immigration changed over the course of his life, but for much of it he stood in radical opposition to the lawless practice, primarily because he was an advocate for low-income workers. In 1969 Chavez led a march to the Mexican border in protest of illegal immigration, and in 1979 he testified before Congress on the issue:
“I do not remember one single instance in 30 years where the Immigration service has removed strikebreakers to the extent the workers were helped and the illegal alien workers were removed. The employers use professional smugglers to recruit and transport human contraband across the Mexican border for the specific act of strikebreaking, rampant in the strikes of the last 30 years. Lawbreaking begets more lawbreaking, and when these illegal aliens come in to break a strike they have to be harbored; they have to be transported; and labor contractors have to be used to direct them and supervise them…The Immigration and Naturalization Service steadfastly refuses to enforce the law; not only that, but then they get into a dispute with us because we call their shortcomings to their attention.”
The fact is that there are reasonable arguments on both sides of the Senate immigration bill, and that Christians can have a variety of positions on immigration, amnesty, and border control. This campaign from the left to guilt trip Christians into feeling obligated to support amnesty is growing tiresome.