Who said the following? “The American people are a welcoming and generous people. But those who enter our country illegally, and those who employ them, disrespect the rule of law. And because we live in an age where terrorists are challenging our borders, we simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, and unchecked. Americans are right to demand better border security and better enforcement of the immigration laws.”
Some hard-hearted, hate-filled, right-wing monster like Trump? Some other despicable, racist Republican? Um no. It was Barack Hussein Obama in a speech given on April 3, 2006. See for yourself: http://obamaspeeches.com/061-Immigration-Reform-Obama-Speech.htm
His words are relevant. We now have one large group of migrants heading to the US, with reports of a second one underway from El Salvador. Thousands from Central American failed states like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are streaming up to the US as we speak. We once again have the issue of how we should deal with things like mass immigration and asylum seekers.
With thousands marching north to America’s southern border – all nicely timed for the mid-term elections – it is worth to again look at some political and biblical views of such matters. As to the latter, I have already dealt with this in some detail: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2010/11/09/christians-and-asylum-seekers/
But Christians who sadly are rather mentally and morally confused have again said that America is an evil nation to insist on border protection, and that we must just bow to the demands of the crowds, because that is somehow what Jesus would do. They argue that we have a moral obligation to basically take in the whole lot, no questions asked.
I have heard various Christians say in this regard that we as believers should be open to everyone, since the gospel is for all people. Um, there is some real sloppy thinking here. These rather clueless Christians are offering us a real case of apples and oranges. The free offer of the gospel to everyone is one issue, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the Central American caravan.
That issue has to do with the right of nations to have and maintain borders, to protect their citizens, and to determine who gets in, and how they get in. And there is full biblical warrant for this, as I have written often before. Just as individuals have a right to safe and secure private property, so too do nations.
If I asked these folks if they lived in houses with doors, and if they ever kept those doors locked, and they said ‘yes,’ they would think I was a bit odd if I claimed that they obviously are trying to keep the gospel away from people. They would say, ‘those are two different things!’ Of course they are, just like the caravan/border protection issue has nothing to do with offering the gospel to everyone, and being inclusive in terms of offering Christ’s love to all.
What we have here are thousands of folks who plan to rush the border, and because we still have ambivalent border policies filled with various loopholes, we are giving these folks false hopes. We still have ‘catch and release’ policies in place, and migrants know full well that if they bring a child along, even if not their own child, they have a good chance of getting in.
That America needs some immigration reform is not denied, and folks on both sides of politics agree with that. But folks who want to take advantage of this and just gate crash the US are asking for trouble – it is not going to end well. It will just make things worse, and people will get hurt in the process.
Sure, Honduras is a failed state, and by their own admission, these are basically economic migrants. Honduras is a hell hole, so millions of folks want a more prosperous, free and democratic nation to live in. They want a better life. And who doesn’t? There would be hundreds of millions of people who want that, and who can blame them?
But that is not sufficient reason to let them all in. Let me offer a poor but relevant analogy. Like so many others, I am not exactly living in the lap of luxury. We have always struggled financially. We have had to deal with leaky roofs for decades for example, and even after dishing out lots of money to fix this – money that we did not really have – it still seems to leak.
I could mention a dozen other economic woes that we daily face. Now just a short distance away from us are some very affluent suburbs filled with spiffy and massive mansions. Because I and so many others are struggling financially, we might decide to start marching en masse to those well-off suburbs.
We will march to those mansions and we will demand entry. We will fully expect every rich person there to throw their doors wide-open for us. If they don’t we will resort to any means necessary to get in. And all the while the world’s media will be watching us, to see how these ‘evil’ and ‘heartless’ rich folks respond.
Many of course will feel sorry for us and take up our cause. They will demand that those rich folks show us some compassion and bow to our demands. They will make it appear that we marchers are virtuous, while the wealthy home-owners are sinister, hard-hearted elitists.
Now no analogy is perfect, but that is roughly how we can view things here. This is all about rushing the US border and effectively seeking to force your way in, bypassing or ignoring the normal processes of legal entry. That is NOT how genuine refugees seek asylum. They go through the proper processes, and don’t just rush the border and seek confrontation. America has a right to decide who, when and how it accepts others.
If one of these wealthy families in the wealthy suburbs wants to freely open its doors to some of us poor economic migrants from the poorer burbs, that is up to them. But they are under no obligation to do so, and most folks realise that just having a mob of folks banging on your door is not how we go about this.
A brief reminder to the various social justice warriors or leftist Christians who want all walls removed and all borders banned. Israel had borders and walls – they were God’s ideas. He reaffirmed them in books like Ezra and Nehemiah when Israel had to rebuild. And the various nations – set up by God – had walls and borders as well.
This is also confirmed in the New Testament. Consider Acts 17:26: “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.” And even our final destination will have walls (see Revelation 21 for starters).
Such things are not inherently evil, and they have a place. But the political realities must also be looked at more closely. Many have written on this caravan already, so let me draw on just a few commentators. John Zmirak reminds us of a few basic truths:
Let’s pretend that these were ever genuine refugees. (As opposed to economic migrants.) They lost that status the moment they set foot in the “first safe country.” That’s international law. They don’t get to shop around for nations of refuge with more generous welfare systems. That’s not how this works….
We should see our nation as the extension of each of our private homes, writ large. Does each of us have a duty to let anyone who claims to be homeless come and camp out in our living rooms? Of course not. So why are we as a nation bound to do the same, on a massive scale? The answer is: We aren’t.
We have the right to use reasonable force to restrain an invasion. We must be humane and careful, but also firm. We should treat our common national home as something more than a holding tank for millions of strangers. Instead, it’s a locus of love, like a family estate inherited from great-grandparents, lovingly treasured, cared for, and gently improved when needed. It’s for people of every race and creed, but not for anyone at all on the face of the earth who decides to show up and demand admission.
If a citizen’s home is his castle, his country is his sanctuary. Voting democratically, we have the right to determine who comes and goes. And a duty to future generations not to leave the place in ruins.
Or as Michael Walsh writes:
What is the difference whether the country is invaded by the military units of a foreign power (which hasn’t happened in the U.S. since the War of 1812) or an unarmed “caravan” that overwhelmingly consists of military age men and is intent upon violating American law? What do we do with such people?
We stop them. Yes, this is a deliberate provocation – the Left is betting that America won’t dare use force to protect itself, wouldn’t want to take the public-relations hit that would come with images of American Border Patrol, National Guard or even regular Army soldiers preventing the horde from entering the country. But, as Trump has often observed, either we have borders or we don’t, and if we don’t we no longer have a country, but simply an economic system that works better than anything in the Arab world or the Latin American countries.
Of course our leftist celebs keep carrying on about how evil walls and borders are. Consider just one – Kate Perry – who speaks of “No barriers, no borders, we all just need to coexist”. Yeah right, sounds terrific. So why then does she and most of these other filthy rich elites live in walled mansions or gated compounds with extensive security, armed guards, and protection?
The hypocrisy and double standards are ever on display with these lefties. Again, if they want to fling their doors wide open, tear down their walls and gates, dismiss their security, and say “welcome” to one and all, that is up to them. Strange, however, but we never seem to hear of them doing this.
The same with all those on the religious left who are now condemning the American government and its stance on the caravan. If you want to remove all the locks and dismantle all the security in your homes, tear down any walls and gates, and put up signs saying “You are all welcome here” – then by all means, do it. But I will not hold my breath here.
Much more needs to be said about this, starting with the vital question: Just who is financing all these marchers? See here for some thoughts on this: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/10/louis_gohmert_calls_for_using_rico_to_find_out_whos_paying_for_the_honduras_migrant_caravan.html?fbclid=IwAR1POWdcsBx4nrqeAr24-IcChroxya1JE0jl628w–D1CUHW3H_FqpUYh8E#.W89zKURwW94.facebook
Concluding Christian Perspectives
As I have said in previous articles, all these issues are quite involved and complex, and believers need to take seriously all of the biblical data. There are no quick fixes or easy answers on all this, but the Christian must let Scripture determine our responses. To that end let me quote two key Christian writers on this issue.
Last year American political scientist Mark Amstutz wrote a lengthy and detailed book on these matters called Just Immigration: American Policy In Christian Perspective. Here is one quote from chapter two:
A sovereign nation-state is responsible for the welfare and security of all people living within its territorial boundaries. Under the United Nations (UN) constitutional order, a sovereign state has ultimate authority over its own domestic affairs and its international relations with other states. Because freedom is a basic human right, people are free to leave their homeland, but they do not have an inalienable right to enter another country. Citizens are free to emigrate, but they do not have the right to immigrate. Whether a person is allowed to enter a foreign country is decided by officials of the receiving state. . . . The imbalance between leaving and entering communities is not unique to global society; it is a widely shared practice in most human communities.
In the article I linked to above I quoted from an important 2009 book by James Hoffmeier called The Immigration Crisis: Immigrants, Aliens and the Bible. Toward the end of this incisive book he writes:
People who take the teachings of Scripture seriously and want to treat people graciously will no doubt struggle to find an ethical and legal balance between helping those who are needy on the one hand and yet are residing in the nation illegally on the other. Then too one must accept the fact that the Old Testament law draws a distinction between the legal alien and the foreigner. Consequently, the Christian will continue to wrestle with being compassionate and yet recognizing that illegal immigrants, like themselves, need to submit to the laws of the land. Despite this quandary there are plenty of foreigners, refugees, and immigrants who legally reside in America, Canada, or Britain whom churches and religious institutions can assist.
The left – and the religious left – may clamour for open borders, sanctuary cities, sanctuary states, and complete amnesty, but that is neither a helpful political position nor is it a sound biblical one.