More disconcerting news out of the Washington, D.C. this morning about a possible deal that President Trump may have struck with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. According to those two luminaries, the president agreed to grant amnesty to DREAMERS with absolutely no concessions regarding a border security wall. If they are correct, then this would simply be another sorry example of Republicans willing to grant unconditional amnesty with nothing in return.
Said Schumer and Pelosi of their meeting with the president, “We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides.” In other words, the same thing we’ve been hearing from Republicans since Bush and McCain tried to ram comprehensive immigration reform down our throats: amnesty now, enforcement later – if at all.
This is not what is not what Mr. Trump promised on the campaign trail and not what America voted for last November. Trump was elected in large measure because of his promise to end amnesty provisions and build a wall. Now we are hearing, according to the Associated Press, that he’s turned all that upside down and is prepared apparently to ditch the first promise and wait for who knows how long for the second.
Now the president begs to differ, tweeting out this morning that “no deal was made last night on DACA,” and that any deal would have to include “massive border security.” All right, which is it? The situation begs for clarification.
Rep. Steve King, who is dialed in on the topic of illegal immigration, is alarmed at the possible signal Trump is sending. If the reports are true, said King, Trump’s “base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair,” adding for good measure that “No (Trump) promise is credible.”
Trump certainly seems to be backpedaling at Warp speed on his no-amnesty pledge, tweeting, “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military, really?”
(DREAMERS prove, by the way, that full assimilation of immigrants is possible, and that it’s not mean-spirited at all to insist that legal newcomers know our language and adopt our values and traditions as their own. If DREAMERS can do it, so can everybody else.)
So what should we do with DREAMERS, most of whom, by the way, are no longer children but adults? (Their average age is 20, and many are between 23 and 26.) They always have been and still are legally subject to deportation, and should remain so since their presence here violates American law.
It is true that they are here through no fault of their own. But neither is their presence here the fault of American citizens who are forced to pay for their education, their food stamps, their subsidized housing, their tax credits from the IRS, and watch as they take jobs which would otherwise go to underemployed Americans. If we are to bring compassion into the mix, how about a little for the Americans who are forced, through no fault of their own, to subsidize and reward the presence of almost a million individuals whose presence here is an affront to the rule of law? How about some compassion for them, hmmm?
As Rep. King has pointed out, these DREAMERS have been living “in the shadows” since they got here, and apparently have prospered. No one is taking away their opportunity to continue living in the shadows if they choose, and no one is talking about immigration raids to round them up.
If they do come to the attention of immigration authorities, through the vigorous use of E-Verify to determine their eligibility to work in the U.S., or through the law enforcement system (thousands of DREAMERS have committed crimes since they have been here), then we can offer to keep their families together by returning the entire intact family to their native land. Family members who are here legally can, of course, remain. Or they can make the choice to keep the family intact and return together to their homeland with American assistance.
The president is walking dangerously close to the edge here of taking his base for granted. He once said he could shoot somebody on 5th Avenue and his base would still support him. He apparently thinks he can betray one of the main promises he made to us and his support will likewise remain undiminished. That’s a risky assumption, and he may be about to find out the hard way that he assumed wrong.
CRUZ’S IMMIGRATION POLICY: Yes, self-repatriation will work.
The question that continues to nag at everyone in the immigration debate is what to do with the 11-12 million illegal aliens who are already in the country. (Some estimates run that number up to as many as 30 million.)
Ted Cruz outlined his approach to this problem on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program on Monday night. It essentially involves voluntary self-repatriation.
Here’s what Cruz said:
Once we secure the border, you stop filling the boat that’s sinking, a number of people start to go home voluntarily every year to be with their families. That population will start shrinking. After that, you deport the criminal illegal aliens. The population continues to shrink. After that, you put in place strong E-verify so those here illegally can’t get jobs. The population continues to shrink. And then once we have finally demonstrated to the American people that we have secured the border, the problem’s solved. It’s not a promise from a politician, it’s not empty words, it’s been done. Then and only then, I think we should have a conversation with the American people about what we should do about whatever smaller population remains. But I don’t think we should start there at the front end. We should start with border security, and that’s what I’ll do as president.
This emphasis on an orderly, gradual voluntary process marks his approach as dramatically different than Donald “Round ‘em all up!” Trump.
I have felt from the beginning of the immigration debate that there are two fundamental steps that must be taken on immigration. The first is to build a double-layer border security fence along our entire southern border. Where such fences have in fact been built, as in the San Diego sector, they reduce illegal immigration by 90%. Fences work, which is why there is one around the White House.
Hungary has proven that border security fences work. Overwhelmed by a tsunami of illegal Muslim aliens, Hungarians hustled to erect a 109-barbed wire fence along their entire border with both Serbia and Croatia. Problem solved. Hungary went from a flood of uninvited foreigners to virtually none, almost overnight. Illegal immigration became someone else’s problem.
And let no one say we can’t build this fence. We built the Empire State building in 17 months in the middle of the Great Depression. If we built that then, we can build a fence now.
The second step is to use E-Verify for everything. E-Verify to get a job, E-Verify to get subsidized housing, E-Verify to get food stamps, E-Verify to get welfare. E-Verify when someone seeks medical help at the local emergency room (they’ll get medical care, and ICE will get a call), E-Verify when a child is registered for school (the child will be enrolled, and ICE will get a call).
Will it work? Of course it will. President Eisenhower launched an aggressive deportation program, “Operation Wetback,” on June 17, 1954, under the direction of retired Gen. Joseph “Jumpin’ Joe” Swing, a veteran of the 101st Airborne. It was designed to deal with what amounted to visa overstays, three million Mexicans who had come north for seasonal jobs in agriculture and decided not to return.
Swing sent 750 of his 1,075 agents northward on a sweep, with a goal of arresting 1,000 illegals a day. And Swing didn’t just release them at the border. He put them on trains and busses and transported them deep into the interior of Mexico. He put tens of thousands on two hired ships and sent them 500 miles south, from Port Isabel, Texas to Vera Cruz, Mexico.
By the end of July, 50,000 illegals had been arrested in two states, and – here’s the point to note – 488,000 fled the country of their own volition. By September, 80,000 had been arrested in Texas, and the flood of migration was completely reversed. Somewhere between half a million and 750,000 illegals left the Lone State State all by themselves. In other words, ten times as many took themselves home as were deported.
Under Eisenhower’s program, illegal immigration plunged by 95%. The problem was solved through a combination of aggressive enforcement and voluntary repatriation.
Bottom line: While Eisenhower’s program would work today just as it did then, it’s unnecessary. A double layer security fence and aggressive enforcement of E-Verify would work just fine to stop the flood and reverse the immigration flow immediately through self-repatriation. But there’s only one way to find out for sure. A President Cruz just might be the one to show us how it’s done.
An evangelical view of immigration
Many evangelicals, due in part to the unfortunate influence of groups like the George Soros-funded Evangelical Immigration Table, have not had the chance to take a thorough look at what the Bible teaches about immigration. What follows is a contribution to this discussion among friends.
One often ignored principle in the evangelical debate over immigration policy is that the Bible clearly teaches support for the rule of law. Romans 13 makes this abundantly clear. Good laws are to be honored and respected by all. God has given to civil government authority to sanction and punish the transgression of its laws, which are designed to “ensure domestic tranquility,” as the Founders put it, by preserving peace and stability. As Paul put it, God’s desire is that our political leaders act in such a way that “we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:2).
This makes any support for illegal immigration highly problematic for right-thinking evangelicals. An illegal alien, is by definition, a law-breaker.
So evangelicals ought to support legal immigration while firmly opposing immigration of the illegal variety. The orderly process of legal immigration allows us to screen those who wish to live here for criminal behavior and for disease, which compromise our national security and our nation’s health respectively.
Ellis Island existed primarily to screen prospective immigrants for communicable diseases. Such a concern is not mean-spirited in the least. It’s what a compassionate government does to protect the health of its citizens. In America, illegal immigration is responsible for the return of exotic tropical diseases and diseases which once had been eradicated on American soil.
Germany, which has now been overwhelmed by a tsunami of illegal immigration, is dealing with a host of newly introduced diseases including cholera, a disease which hadn’t appeared in Germany for 23 years. There is nothing compassionate about that.
Illegal aliens endanger our social stability in numerous other ways. Kate Steinle is dead, cut down in the prime of life by a man who had no legal right to be in this country, and had already been deported no less than five times. He kept returning to San Francisco for one reason: he knew San Francisco would not honor the rule of law. Kate Steinle’s family paid the ultimate price. There is nothing compassionate about that.
Virtually every day we read stories of illegal aliens, often previously convicted of crimes and deported, who murder and rape American citizens. South-of-the border drug cartels are ravaging the peace of one community after another, straining law enforcement resources to the breaking point and endangering American families whose sons and daughters become victims of drugs and the violence associated with them. There is nothing compassionate about that.
We all recognize the difference between someone who breaks and enters through the back door of a home and an invited guest who politely rings the doorbell and waits to be welcomed in. In the one case, we call the police, who will courteously but firmly remove the intruders from a place where they have no legal right to be. In the other case, we invite them in and treat them to food, friendship, and fellowship.
Some evangelicals seem to speak as if borders are a hardhearted invention of callous men. On the contrary, the Bible indicates clearly that borders are God’s idea. Paul writes in Acts 17:26 that God himself is the one who has “determined…the boundaries” of nations. A border is not a border unless it means something and can be defended.
Evangelicals often forget that Moses honored national borders and national sovereignty in his day. When Israel approached the border of Edom in its journey to the land of promise, Moses’ request to sojourn in the land of Edom was rejected. When Israel was denied permission for a second time to enter the land by Edom’s king, Moses did not sneak in the country anyway. Nor did he barge in and demand hospitality and welfare benefits from the king. We are told instead that “Israel turned away from him” (Numbers 20:21) and went another way.
Assimilation, another value that is often dismissively rejected by pro-amnesty evangelicals, was an extremely high priority in God’s economy. In Numbers 15, the Lord himself instructed Moses that sojourners were welcome in Israel as long as they assimilated to the culture, the values, and the faith of their host country. Immigrants were instructed to leave behind their own religious values and their own customs, and adopt those of their newly adopted nation. When it came to worship, there was to be “one law and one rule…for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you” (Numbers 15:16).
Ruth is the model immigrant in Scripture. When she accompanied her mother-in-law back to Naomi’s home, she left behind her own gods and her own culture. Eloquently, she said, “Your people shall be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). That’s what assimilation looks like.
Now when someone follows the rule of law, is willing to assimilate (by becoming a non-hyphenated American), and is granted permission to immigrate, of course he should be welcomed. We should do legal immigrants “no wrong” and should embrace them. “You shall love him (the sojourner) as yourself,” God says, “for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:34).
The plain fact is that America has honored this principle of embracing newcomers more than any other nation in the history of civilization. Our immigration policy is the most open-hearted and open-handed policy in the world. Every year, we grant legal admission to over one million foreigners and student visas to 700,000 more.
According to Julia Hahn, writing at Breitbart, “a review of public data from the World Bank and U.S. Census Bureau shows that there is no other country on Earth that has accepted even a fraction of the immigrants admitted to the United States over the last 40 years.”
We have a higher foreign-born population percentage than any of the world’s largest countries. Although we represent just 5% of the world’s population, we take in 20 percent of all the migrants worldwide. No other country even approaches five percent. We have, relative to population, taken in 24 times as many migrants as the pope’s home country of Argentina, 40 times more than Mexico, and 75 times more than Brazil. We have taken in six times as many as all of Europe, even though the population of Europe exceeds ours by more than 50 percent.
In other words, we have not only done our fair share, we have done far more than our fair share. And why have we done so? For one reason: this is a Christian country whose values have been shaped by the Judeo Christian tradition. We have a record of which we can be proud and which calls for no apology.
Now every nation can only absorb a finite number of immigrants before it begins to sag under the added weight. A sponge cannot absorb any more water once it has reached its saturation point. And America may well have reached that point. Real hourly wages are lower here than they were in 1973, and all the net job creation from 2000-2014 has gone to foreign workers.
Calvin Coolidge reduced immigration rates in his day (1924) so newcomers could fully assimilate into American life and so that the crush of absorbing so many strangers would not overwhelm us and hamper our ability to receive newcomers in the future.
Said Coolidge, “We want to keep wages and living conditions good for everyone who is now here or who may come here. As a Nation, our first duty must be to those who are already our inhabitants, whether native or immigrants. To them we owe an especial and a weight obligation.” That’s compassion, both for the native-born American, for the foreign-born American, and for those who wish to become Americans in the future.
Bottom line: biblical immigration policy will reflect both justice and compassion, not one at the expense of the other. Biblical immigration policy will honor the rule of law, the sovereignty of our national borders, the importance of assimilation, and the importance of embracing those who have the legal right to be here. A Christian nation can do no less.
Immigration God’s way: spiritual assimilation
On the immigration issue, many Christians are rightly fond of quoting the scriptural passages that urge us to be compassionate and kind to aliens. And so we should open our hearts and arms to those who come into this country legally, through the front door. If they follow the law, play by the rules, wait their turn, and enter only after they have been invited, they should be welcome here.
But what these same Christians fail to do is take note of what God said was to happen to immigrants after they arrived in their host country. It is clear that his standard was assimilation, and that assimilation was not just cultural but spiritual as well.
Sojourners were welcome in ancient Israel on one condition: that they left behind the gods of their homelands and entered into Israel’s covenant with God. They were welcome as long as they did not have the effrontery to bring their counterfeit religious practices into their host nation and insist that their host nation accommodate their religious preferences rather than the other way round.
The enormous benefit of this standard of immigration is that it preserves a nation’s cultural unity. It prevents the societal Balkanization we see in every country, including the United States, which indiscriminately admits aliens regardless of the cultural and moral values they insist on bringing with them. That is a guaranteed recipe for cultural strain, enmity, and ultimate fracture.
In the refugee crisis that is currently overwhelming Europe, a number of European countries are now refusing to accept Muslim refugees on the grounds that the pressure on societal unity will simply be too great. Hungary’s president, for instance, has talked openly about Hungary’s 1000-year Christian history and his intention to preserve Christianity as his nation’s unifying cultural dynamic. Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Cyprus are also adopting similar policies, out of a determination to preserve their cultural and religious identity.
In Numbers 15, the Lord outlines for Moses guidelines for the way in which the people of Israel were to worship him through the offering of sacrifices. And then, significantly, he adds the requirement that the exact same standards of worship were to apply to immigrants as well. They would be expected to adopt the religious practices of their host country.
Here’s how the relevant passage reads (emphasis mine):
“And if a stranger is sojourning with you, or anyone is living permanently among you and wishes to offer a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord, he shall do as you do. For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you, a statute forever throughout your generations. You and the sojourner shall be alike before the Lord. One law and one rule shall be for you and the stranger who sojourns with you.” ~ Numbers 15:14-16
Now it seems only fair that if Christians are going to take their immigration counsel from Scripture that they include not just the parts that they happen to like but also the parts that may challenge their immigration assumptions.
What this would mean in America’s case is quite simple. We would communicate to the world that strangers are welcome here on one condition: that they be willing to adopt our God, our Judeo-Christian heritage, our Christian holidays, our Christian moral values, our Christian heroes and our Christian history.
Can this be done? Of course it can. The Constitution gives unilateral authority to Congress to establish whatever rules for immigration and naturalization it chooses. Certainly these biblically-based ideas will be considered controversial, but given the fact that three million Muslims have immigrated to the United States over the past decade and have shown no interest in fully assimilating themselves to our culture, now is the time for the conversation to begin in earnest.
Speaking only for myself, I suggest it’s time, both from a biblical as well as a practical and national security standpoint, to reconsider Islamic immigration into the United States. Maybe Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Cyprus have something to teach us for a change.
As Teddy Roosevelt famously said (emphasis mine):
We should insist that if the immigrant who comes here does in good faith become an American and assimilates himself to us he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed or birth-place or origin.
But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American and nothing but an American. If he tries to keep segregated with men of his own origin and separated from the rest of America, then he isn’t doing his part as an American. There can be no divided allegiance here. . . We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding-house; and we have room for but one soul loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people.
Bottom line: it’s time not only for America to embrace immigrants but for immigrants to embrace America.
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