From my London window, I see the problem of a border out of control and two parties unwilling to address it. From my home in California, I know decent men hounded by the government for a crime, illegal entry, committed years ago.
The issue of illegal aliens in the United States is difficult for a Christian, and I am no expert, but here are some first thoughts.
We have a right to control our borders, but once an alien and a stranger is in our midst we must treat him as we would wish to be treated. There are few things clearer in Sacred Scripture, church tradition, or ethics than a Christian duty to welcome and aid the stranger and the alien.
Of course, some illegals do harm to our culture. By definition they have broken the law and I see no reason they cannot be sent home, unless sending them home would do them grave harm (as in the case of political prisoners).
Other illegals are members of gangs and engage in crime on both sides of the border. Areas of our nation like those in Texas and Arizona that are nearly lawless where citizens are terrorized are a moral blight on our nation.
The typical illegal is here for a better life for his family and not to do harm. Research shows they give more than they take from the states that house them.
But even if they did not, they are souls created in God’s image and they are here. After they have been here a certain length of time, they may be illegal, but have ceased to be “alien.” How long? I do not know, but if the state has not deported them after seven years it would appear the chance for the state to do so has run out.
Who wants to see a neighbor of twenty years live in terror of deportation? Their crime is simply not worth that human suffering. They broke a law, not a moral law but a legality, for noble motives. Our nation has the right to act, but has chosen not to do so.
For this reason, I support “non-prosecution” (not amnesty) after a set period of time. Such people should be able to apply for special status as taxpayers and be able to get in the normal line (with no privileges) for citizenship.This less rewards their first illegal behavior, then it recognizes our inept government. Some crimes are not worth prosecuting after a certain length of time unless we want a nation run by Javerts.
Meanwhile, as individuals we must treat the alien with dignity and help him as we can. Some ministries will have to adopt “no-narc” policies, as they do with drug offenders and sex workers, in order to make this possible.
Meanwhile, it is wicked for a business to knowingly hire an illegal to exploit their cheaper labor. A business must choose: obey the law and turn in illegals or practice civil disobedience and pay the illegal the same wage. A company cannot have it both ways.
It stinks to heaven to see human beings exploited for one crime for years. Such treatment is not only immoral, but breeds revolutionary zeal in the oppressed. As for the children of illegals, they did no wrong.They must be treated as we would wish our own children to be treated. For this reason, I do not support asking a child in education or medical care the legal status of their parents. Such questions can only result in children not getting the help they need.
Bluntly: people are good. We don’t need to have open borders, but we do need to recognize that being a nation people want to join is good and not bad.
The original sin of the “illegal” situation that turns good Christians against the aliens is the abject failure of our governments, state and federal, to control our borders. We should punish those officials until they act, not turn our wrath on the illegals themselves.
Sadly, neither presidential candidate has a good position on this issue. Both pander to the extremes. I am a Romney man, but I wish he had a better plan for our border.