This is Matt Armstrong's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Matt Armstrong's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Matt Armstrong
Recent Activity
I like what Chuck said above. Our current system is duplicitous. We have strong rhetoric and little is actually done. Our current approach reminds me of a parent who makes big threats of discipline for the unruly child but never follows through. When the child continues to misbehave who is more at fault--the parent or the child? Clearly, the child is responsible for their actions, but I believe the parent who is inconsistent shares more of the blame as they are the one with God-given authority. How can we blame people for coming across our border to survive when we have such a laissez faire attitude? We talk a big talk but then we do nothing. We must deal with both issues now before us: 1) The 10-12 million people here without a legal right to be here; 2) Securing the border so that we don't continue to be in the same boat for years to come. Securing the border happens many miles inland though--in places like my town in Illinois. It happens through enforcement of employment laws as the main reason people come here is for economic opportunity. I would like to comment once again specifically on the DREAM Act and the girl in the video. First, the young lady in the video is someone I have known for over six years. She was part of our Crossroads Kids Club in elementary school. Now she has served as a leader of other kids in Crossroads in her neighborhood. She professed faith in Jesus, and I baptized her. She is a very important part of our church community and a precious young sister in Christ. Second, SHE did not break the law when her parents brought her here at the age of seven for the simple reason that our laws recognize an age of accountability. No seven year old is ever charged with any crime. When a seven year old does something truly heinous, they receive counseling and protection, not prison. Her parents did break the law, yes, but which of us wants the sins of the parents to harm their children? (We are inclined to help children all over the world whose parents have harmed them (selling them into slavery, passing on AIDS in birth, etc.) except these people in our own backyard.) Our system has failed to deal with her parents in a timely manner and so she has grown up here, and this has become her home. She is truly caught between a rock and a hard place. She counts herself blessed to have been brought up in the U.S. even though she understands that her parents broke the law. Her parents are accountable for their actions for sure, but how can we deal fairly with their children? The DREAM Act is an attempt to do that. It does nothing for her parents.
The subject of immigration reform is complex because we as Christians must balance two principles. We must welcome the stranger, showing love to our neighbor. But at the same time, we are commanded by Scripture to submit to the governing authorities. For this reason, we have a moral dilemma. To me it is less of a dilemma when I consider that the U.S. has, as a friend of mine puts it, had both a "stop" sign and a "help wanted" sign hanging on our border for a very long time. We tell people not to come here, but then when they do we are happy to give then ITIN's and take their money in taxes. We enroll their children in schools and give a slap on the wrist to employers hire knowingly hire people without a legal right to work in the U.S. This policy just doesn't make sense. So, it is time that we admit that our own policies and laws have contributed substantially to the presence of 10-12 million undocumented immigrants here. Ronald Reagan dealt once before with the issue of those who were here illegally, but his response was only half right. He allowed people to stay (which was good), but he did nothing to stem the flow of people into the country and so the illegal population has grown and grown. Now there are people saying that we must "secure the border," and they are right. The problem is that these people want to address the half Reagan forgot, but they don't want to talk about what is a humane way to deal with families that are here now (the part Reagan addressed). Immigration reform must be comprehensive and future-looking. It must work to remove the "help wanted" sign from our border while at the same time keep families together and admit that our own policies helped create this problem. What's more, in a community like the one I live in, a significant percentage of homes are owned by undocumented people. If all these homes were empty, our local economy would be hit harder than it is right now. Finally, I want to address a common objection to the DREAM Act. Sometimes the argument is made that making a pathway to citizenship for these young people is rewarding them for breaking the law. In response to this I would suggest that if anything, these minors are victims. A child under the age of 13 is almost never charged with a crime (not even as a juvenile) because our laws recognize an age of accountability. In other words, it is absolutely ridiculous to say that a child of seven years old broke the law by entering the U.S. illegally with their parent because a child of 7 cannot commit a crime in the eyes of the law. They are not old enough to be held accountable. As well, even as that child grows up and turns 16 or 17, they are still dependent upon their parents even though they are now old enough to understand the illegality of their parents actions. There is nothing magic about 18 or 19 years old, and many young people remain because they are still dependent on their parents. I am thankful that evangelical leaders are finally taking notice of the injustice that is occurring with our current immigration system. Thanks for posting this!
Matt Armstrong is now following The Typepad Team
May 20, 2010