Immigration Reform and the Christian Welcome Wagon

For those of us with the luxury of not noticing, immigration reform is back on the political scene, and in a big way. President Obama recently made statements about his own plan, and last week, the Senate revealed an outline for proposed immigration reform that is drawing fire from both sides of the political spectrum. In a nutshell, both the president and the Senate agree on creating paths to citizenship for the current 11 million individuals living in America illegally, while focusing on additional border security measures.

The promise of bipartisan agreement in immigration reform is encouraging, but perhaps not quite so exciting as a recent gathering of Evangelical bigwigs who have come together in a similar vein. Called the Evangelical Immigration Table, this group is calling for somewhat more holistic policies in immigration reform. In an open letter to President Obama and Congress, the EIT wrote:

As evangelical Christian leaders, we call for a bipartisan solution on immigration that:

  • Respects the God-given dignity of every person
  • Protects the unity of the immediate family
  • Respects the rule of law
  • Guarantees secure national borders
  • Ensures fairness to taxpayers
  • Establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents

The language used in this document is exciting, elevating the current discourse to an enlightened and charitable level. In a video and challenge called “I Was a Stranger”, the EIT is asking for people to actually engage with this issue, and to step away from charged political debates.

Perhaps what I like best about this initiative—besides seeing people like Max Lucado and John Perkins together in a video for immigration reform—is the lack of dehumanizing labels (e.g., “illegal alien”). Instead, the document focuses on words included “dignity,” “family,” and “security.” Which is genius, really, because isn’t this what we all want? By tying in our own desires to those of our brothers and sisters who are residing here illgally, the EIT is forcing Christians to confront thier own attitudes towards the stranger.

No matter where you fall in the political spectrum, we could all stand to learn from this movement’s language. Here’s to Christians being at the forefront of the welcome wagon and taking our cue from Scripture rather than political climates.

About D.L. Mayfield

D.L. Mayfield's life is about 90% mundane and 10% cray-cray. She loves food and books and a good outsider perspective portrayed in pop culture. She gets very, very excitable when anyone mentions the phrases "kingdom of God". You can find her blog here and on twitter as @d_l_mayfield.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/pgepps pgepps

    It would be great to see a fresh “take” on immigration reform. Unfortunately, the “new” proposals put forward so far are rehashes of compromise positions that didn’t work as compromises–they’re unlikely to make anyone happy, unlikely to work, and unlikely even to be carried out as projected. But there really is a need to reinforce lawfulness, and there really is a need to welcome strangers.

  • http://loveiswhatyoudo.wordpress.com J. R. Goudeau

    I’m cautiously optimistic about the new direction the president and Congress are taking in terms of immigration policy and enthusiastic about the shift in Christian discourse. I have a lot to say about this subject–I taught a rhetoric of illegal immigration class a few years ago and did way too much research on the subject–and very little of it has been flattering to the Christians I hear talking about this subject, at least in the past several years. I’m excited, then, to hear Christians, for once, leading the charge with respect and tolerance. Thanks for pointing this video out–I might need to blog a bit about immigration this week.

  • Jean

    Enough already. If the US has borders and expects them to be respected, enforcement of

  • Jean

    Enforcement is the other half of the handshake of law creation. For a law to have teeth and be meaningful, it must be fully enforced, without exception. People that have chosen expatriation from their native country and are following an established US naturalization path should have that opportunity. People who have chose to sidestep the process are not being fair to their chosen host country, and they do a huge disservice to those following the legally established path in the US. I would have no problem escorting illegals out of this country–my conscience would be clear–it is law enforcement. I also believe that “anchor babies” should be returned with their families to their country of origin (wherever they were conceived). (See Exodus 22:21.) By abiding by the laws of the US, the candidate for naturalization is following Scripture as well (Romans 13:1-7).


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X