June 12, 2013

Dear Christians: You Have No Choice On Immigration

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(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.


  • “This campaign from the left to guilt trip Christians into feeling obligated to support amnesty is growing tiresome.”? Quite the bias-revealing sentence, right there. The onus is still on Christians in *this country* to show compassion to the marginalized, including undocumented immigrants.

    Does the Christian “left” really say that “Anything else [but amnesty] is antithetical to Christian charity and the Biblical commandment to love thy neighbor.”? This seems like quite the straw man. And if the insistence is on compassion and love, you fall far short of such standards in your piece above.

  • Josh, you seem pretty certain that any Christians who hold a different position from yours on immigration are lacking in “compassion and love.” That is pretty typical of the religious left, so certain you’re the only compassionate ones. I learned long ago that the left wing defines “compassion” as “whatever policy we support.”

    Marjorie, excellent article, and you definitely understand the way the left tries to guilt-trip and browbeat orthodox Christians into taking the “correct” view of things. Some of us are not sucked in by this insistence that lawbreakers have rights while the rest of society has to shut up and accept the situation.

  • Whoa, big guy! There is no such thing as a “Christian Left,” and anyone seeking to infiltrate the rank and file of the faith with talk of being kind and generous to people who break the law have clearly bad intentions for the country far beyond any “good” they pretend to spew on behalf of their brothers and sisters in Christ.

    • Umm, got a news flash, there definitely IS a Christian Left, even though its numbers have been in decline for several decades, since most churchgoers don’t like having Christianity being redefined as political liberalism. For the Christian Left, God and Jesus are not central, they are afterthoughts, since the goal is not salvation or fellowship with God, the goal is social transformation, which is rather hard to square with the New Testament and statements like “My kingdom is not of this world.” If the National Council of Churches took that verse to heart, it would shut down – and come to think of it, it is pretty darn close to shutting down.

      The Christian Left really does believe in being kind and generous. Unfortunately, they choose to be generous with other people’s money, never failing to support an increase in welfare spending or any increase in taxation. Taking money from other people is called “theft.” Individually, some of these leftwingers are probably decent enough, but collectively their version of Christianity bears little resemblance to the real thing, since they believe all people should be coerced into charity, and that illegal immigrants (i.e., lawbreakers) and people who won’t work should be supported by people who do work. Also, they refer to people who support the sancitity of marriage as “haters” and “homophobes,” and they thank God for abortion doctors. The only difference between the Christian Left and the Secular Left is that the Christian Left claims to have the full approval of God, and the Secular Left is happy to let them think that.

  • Josh, evangelicals have gotten accustomed to being told that we lack compassion and love, so that accusation doesn’t sting. As my dad used to say, “Consider the source.” The left is going to call conservatives haters no matter what we do.