With the exception of “Native Americans” we all have some sort of immigrant backgrounds. There are two problems, though, that have become acute within the last couple of decades or so and make the present situation different from our entire history of past immigration: (1) Illegal immigrants, and (2) Permanent lack of assimilation.
Illegal immigrants: There are many immigrants who have come here illegally…outside the normal system for entering the United States. Legal immigrants are not to be confused with those who are illegal. Some try to use the term “undocumented” to identify these illegal immigrants, but that is like using the term “undocumented bank robber” to identify one who plans to give half of his take to charity and use the other half to feed his family. If an act is violation of law, then it is ‘illegal’. Estimates are that the number runs as high as 13 million or more illegal immigrants are now living in the US, or 4% of a nation of 307 million people [“How Many Illegal Immigrants?”, Federation for American Immigration Reform and Center for Immigration Studies, Illegal Immigration, www.cis.org/Illegal].
Permanent lack of assimilation: Too many immigrants who have come here legally within the last 40 years do not seem to be assimilating well into American culture, but have formed their own ethnic communities in which their primary loyalty is not to the United States but to their nation of origin, and many remain as unskilled laborers unable to rise above the lowest level of annual income. Many, by some estimates, drain more resources from the nation than they provide to the nation [Mark Levin, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, New York: Threshold Editions, 2009, pgs. 154-170].
According to the Center for Immigration Studies, households headed by illegal aliens imposed more than $26.3 billion in costs on the federal government in 2002 and paid only $16 billion in taxes, creating a net fiscal deficit of almost $10.4 billion, or $2,700 per illegal household. They found that the largest costs are Medicaid ($2.5 billion); medical treatment for the uninsured ($2.2 billion); food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches ($1.9 billion); the federal prison and court systems ($1.6 billion); and federal aid to schools ($1.4 billion) [Steven Camarota, “The High Cost of Cheap Labor: Illegal Immigration and the Federal Budget”, Center for Immigration Studies, July 2004, www.cis.org/node/54]. It is still beyond me to understand how a known illegal immigrant is eligible for any funding assistance other than courts and prison.
Some influential immigrant leaders actually promote the lack of assimilation into the United States. For example, Raul Yzaguirre, former president of the Hispanic immigration advocacy group called ‘La Raza’, apparently wants to perpetuate the situation of people living in the United States for generations without being able to speak English, because as he was quoted saying, “U.S. English is to Hispanics as the Ku Klux Klan is to blacks” [Mark Levin, Liberty and Tyranny, pg.162]. Another advocate for Mexican immigrations into the United States, Juan Hernandez, said, “I want the third generation, the seventh generation, I want them all to think’Mexico’ first'” [Ibid, pg.164]. Such viewpoints by leaders within the immigrant communities is completely contrary to the best interests of the United States as a whole.
Before any other solutions to the current immigration problems can be discussed, it is imperative to come to an agreement that the United States must take action to effectively close its borders, especially the border with Mexico, from which most of the illegal immigrants…and drug trafficking…originate. (Drug customers also need to be held accountable for encouraging the drug trafficking but that’s another subject for another time). The United States as a nation must get control of its borders. As long as the borders are ineffective, we have no control and no ability to keep criminals, terrorists, and others who would do harm to our nation from entering. Even those who enter with no intent of breaking any further laws but only finding employment do this in a way that is unfair to thousands of others who decided to abide by the law and wait many years to be admitted as immigrants by legal means. These illegal immigrants become part of a growing ‘underground’ economy that is not really protected by law because the legal system does not have any record that they exist. They can be easily exploited and won’t seek legal help for fear of being deported. It means too, that American citizens are not protected from the harm that illegal immigrants might do to others, because the legal system has no easy way to track them if they commit wrong. Illegal immigrants have very little incentive to try to integrate into society and are ,therefore, much more likely to form isolated communities who think of their first national loyalty rather than the United States. Many of them do not feel themselves responsible to contribute to the well-being of society. Because their status is already “illegal”, their very presence generates disrespect for the rule of law in the nation as a whole. These illegal immigrants are living in constant disobedience of Paul’s command, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities” (Rom. 13:1). Closing the border is a simple matter of establishing the rule of law more effectively. The United States should have the right to determine who enters the country and know who enters the country. This is a political situation that churches can involve themselves with…sponsor immigrants who desire to enter the country legally. With a sponsor legal immigration is much easier. It might be something to think about.
Because this subject is so complex it is going to take at least another week to get through it. We will look at “chain immigration”, “exercising rational control”, and the “benefits of controlled immigration”. There is a positive side to the subject but only if our nation’s government is in control.