Illegal Immigrants

I read this story about an illegal immigrant from Mexico. She was apparently arrested for selling illegal DVD’s. The story is she was left in a cell for the weekend and forgotten about. No food. No water. No nothing.

This thing of illegal immigration is not going away. Here in Texas, I can remember this being a sort of unspoken issue since my birth in Dallas. But now, it is gaining more and more awareness.

And this story pinpoints a critical concern for the church. On the one hand, yes, they are here illegally. They don’t pay property or employment taxes but they do enjoy the benefits our taxes provide. Their kids are often born here and enjoy a fairly decent public education. In a sense, they are riding the bus for free. On the other hand, they are still people. They are still born because God decided they should be born. They have value. They have worth. And they have God given redemptive qualities.

As the church, we are pulled in a couple of directions. The first direction is that we are to obey the law of the land and submit to authority as long as it does not violate the Bible. The second direction is that responsibility of loving our neighbors. I really believe we have to weigh these out day by day to keep from having more of these stories pop up.

12 Responses to Illegal Immigrants

  1. carl says:

    I find it amazing that so much of the church is troubled about how to treat people. As far as I can tell, Jesus put no qualifiers on our interactions. If I can mistreat a person because they are living in a city without permission, how do I get to treat the person who is fornicating? Clearly God’s law supersedes man’s. For that matter, how do I get to treat people who reject Jesus? Can I have a crusade against them?

  2. cambeck says:

    I don’t think the question is if we do or don’t mistreat people. Obviously we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. However, we are to also called to be good stewards, which means, among other things, ensuring our sovereignty is protected and rights and dignity of God’s children are preserved for ourselves and our posterity.

    In some very important respects, illegal immigration poses a threat to both of those things. But the problem isn’t illegal immigration alone. It just happens to be the focus many times.

    It’s a challenge to look at it in its entirety — particularly since the government has done such an abysmal job managing the problem in the first place.

  3. I think my point is that on the one hand we have a responsibility to uphold the law, which this individual in Arkansas was doing. But this person was left in her cell for an unreasonable amount of time with no food or water. And while I want our borders protected, and while I believe we have done an awful job with immigration enforcement, we also have a responsibility to love these people whether or not they are here illigally.

    I agree with both your points. But as I look around, there is a growing sentiment that illegal aliens are an inferior class of people. Yes to upholding the law. AND yes to loving them.

  4. roger says:

    Sorry, I don’t see any connection between her status as a illegal immigrant and being locked in a cell over the week end. There is no relationship between one and the other that I can see. Please tell me you are not saying that this woman was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment specifically because of her status.
    Obviously she has no respect of the law and is a repeat offender, which is the norm for law breakers, 52% of the prison population prove that, and will more than likely continue a life of crime. Now if the fence could have stopped her, then this would never have happend, would it?
    Build the gang fence.

  5. roger says:

    Dang, sorry, wrong key hit.

  6. I don’t think I was necessarily drawing a line between her status and her crime. I really agree with you. I agree we need tighter border patrol. I am in favor of the fence. I don’t want people to live here illegally. I agree that some of the crime we deal with in our country is due to illegal aliens. My real point here, though I apparantly worded it awfully, is that these illegal aliens are still people. And they still ahve real redemptive potential. And the reason I highlighted this story is due to the juxtoposition of her being here illegally, doing something that got her in jail, and then had her in this situation of a weekend abandonment. It could have happened to anyone. But for me, it simply sparked a need for me, at least for me, to remind myself that every person that comes into our country illegally, is not lower in position than I am when I behold the cross. Thanks for your comment.

  7. Hal says:

    If the churches want to assume the financial responsibility for the illegals schooling, medical care, and law enforcement – fine. But they have to assure that illegals won’t reign havoc on single family neighborhoods, by moving 20 people or so into a single family house.
    But I seem to have read where Jesus said, render unto Caesar. Are we to endure anarchy because the church leaders today cannot understand the difference.
    And are the church leaders who are promoting illegal activity – so oblivious of facts that they do not realize – by third world standards, Mexico is not a poor country? Corrupt to the core, yes. And is the USA then to welcome the billions of poorer countries population?

  8. Not to belabor all this Hal. But I will again state what I think I already stated.

    First, I agree with you. They don’t pay taxes. The are getting a free education, medical care and whatever else. I understand the change in demographics that their immigration causes. So I agree.

    Second, Mexico may not be a third world country, but as a whole, the standard of living and the wages are not better for the lower middle class.

    Third, they are still people. You know, some of the friendliest people I have ever met were illegal alians. They are a heck of alot more hospitable than some people I run into. SO THE POINT OF THIS POST IS SIMPLY A REMINDER THAT THEY ARE PEOPLE. Yes let’s enforce the law. Yes lets build a fence. But if they are here, illegally or not, let’s remember they are people.

    Fourth, and maybe the most surprising of all – we are all immigrants if you think about it. My father’s family came over from Italy a couple of generations ago.

    Honsetly, this post was not meant to stir such emotion. The whole point is that it’s easy to build resentment for the people of Mexico. But they are people. And I refuse to treat them, or any immigrating group, poorly simply because they are here illegally. You can quote about Caesar and rendering. But remember, Jesus said there were two commandments that required fulfilling. Fulfill these two, and you fulfill them all. Love God. Love your neighbor.

  9. hmmm says:

    A real sweet Mexican girl who had worked at a local restaurant for 3 years using someone else’s SSN was busted recently. This sweet girl was enjoying American life and making her family in Mexico comfortable on someone else’s dime.

    She ruined her victim’s life. She was one of those who claimed she was paying taxes. Her unpaid tax bills were sent to the victim/rightful owner of the SSN. Of course the sweet little human will get a slap on the hand, be deported just to turn around and come back, probably to your church, as she awaits her next victim.

    We all know she did nothing wrong, what’s wrong with her stealing & ruining someone else’s life as long as she can obtain A BETTER one for herself and her family?
    By the way, where in the bible does it say we must hide/protect criminals/humans from the law? Never seen that passage before.

  10. Hmmm. Thanks for your comment. Again, for some reason, everyone that posts their comments on my blog think that somehow I am advocating crime and winkng at it. LET ME YELL IT HERE : I DO NOT ADVOCATE CRIME. I DO NOT ENDORSE ILLEGAL BEHAVIOUR. But if you read through this thread you would understand that we have a BIBLICAL RESPONSIBILITY to love these people no matter what. Since you didnt leave your name and there is no way for me to see what you write about on your blog, I will refer to you as hmmm.

    Hmmm. Let me again be so very clear here. I want our borders protected, I want illegals to be dealt with. I want law breakers to receive the fullest extent that our law allows. But that doesn’t keep me from loving them. And I refuse, no matter how many stories you write here, to think less of our Mexican neighbors. For every crime committed by an illegal alian, I am guessing there is one committed by an American. Come on. Crime is not restricted to illegal alians. It’s a worldwide problem. Let’s not be miopic.

    What amazes me is that everyone keeps reading this post and assuming I want all the illegals to be let out of jail, given a free pass into the United States, and give your job. I don’t. I simply want to make sure that I don’t allow the flood of illegal alians into this country, my country too, cause me to be prejudiced against the Mexican people. If you choose to be that way, it is your business. But I choose not too. I also choose not to be prejudiced against people from the Middle East as a result of what happened on 911.

    I will allow you a response, then I am closing comments on this post.

  11. Tony, the problem is that people are emotional about this issue, so they’re not paying attention to your actual words. They already have their minds made up and are reading into your post whatever they want to see. You can say it fifty times and you’ll still get the same response.

    It’s basically okay with some people to perceive illegal immigrants as less than human because they’re committing a crime, but how many of us can say we’ve never done anything illegal? Do we deserve to be treated as less than human, too? “Come on” is right.

    I agree with you, by the way. 🙂

  12. Thank you Lisa. I was almost feeling like I was writing from in a foreign language. Holy cow.

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