This week we will begin a look at some comprehensive immigration reforms that might be considered to get this ‘ship of state’ on a course out of the ‘shoal waters’ it has found itself in. As there are so many other considerations that must be taken into account, immigration is only a portion of the ‘course correction’ needed.
Our first look will be at what is called “chain immigration”. Prior to 1965, the United States had much more effective control over who would be allowed to enter the nation as an immigrant. Priority was rightfully given to those people who would most clearly bring benefit to American society as well as to their spouses and their immediate minor children. But, under pressure from President Lyndon Johnson, Congress passed the Hart-Celler Act of 1965. It established a new system by which citizens of the United States could sponsor not only a spouse and immediate children for immigration, but also all of their brothers and sisters as well as their parents who are living in other countries. Sounds good on the surface? But, let’s say that a couple has eight children in Mexico and then enters the United States…by whatever means…and has a baby daughter. Even if they were here just a few days to give birth to her, she will automatically become an American citizen by virtue of being born here, and once she reaches the age of twenty-one, she becomes immediately able to sponsor her father, her mother, and all eight of her brothers and sisters to migrate to the United States. By that time the brothers and sisters, ranging in age from early twenties to late thirties, are probably also married, so they can sponsor their spouses and also all of their children. So now one person has been able to bring in maybe fifty more people, none of whom gained entry by demonstrating a willingness or ability to contribute to American society. Also, if an adult aged forty, with six unmarried sons and daughters aged fifteen to twenty-five, comes to the United States legally and obtains permanent resident alien status…maybe because of work…he is able to sponsor all his unmarried sons and daughters as well as his spouse and parents to to immigrate legally into the country. While the “chain migration” system is sometimes called “family reunification” process, this pleasant-sounding name masks the reality of what is actually happening. In how many other situations in this nation have we seen ‘evil acts’ masks by ‘nice sounding’ names? The differences in immigration patterns after this 1965 act became immense. There was no limitation on the number of people who could become legal immigrants by this ‘chain migration’ process. The number of legal immigrants into the United States soared from 2.1 million in the 1950’s to 4.2 million in the 1970’s to 6.2 million in the 1980’s to about 9.7 million in the 1990’s [“Persons Obtaining Legal Permanent Resident Status: Fiscal Years 1820 to 2008”, Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, U.S. Department of Homeland Security]. While many of these immigrants brought benefits to the nation, the important point here is that the United States no longer even had control over the number of those entering the country, legally or illegally.
Another problem traces back to 1986, when the Immigration Reform and Control Act…enacted under President Reagan…granted a one-time amnesty to about 3 million illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem]. This act was supposed to be a one-time fix that would solve the problem of illegal immigrants in the United States, but it failed to do this, and in fact set a president that probably made future illegal immigrants hope that one day it would happen again, thereby giving incentive to future illegal immigration. What were our politicians thinking?
With the Hart-Celler Act the problem will only multiply year after year into the future. Thousands upon thousands of immigrants come who do not speak English well and do not have sufficient training for specialized jobs. They will continue to increase the burden on the welfare system, make it more difficult for teachers to teach using the English language, provide an increasing burden on the medical care system, and contribute to the growing size and increased feelings of resentment of various isolated segments of society that do not really feel part of the nation but have loyalty to their nation of origin. Ever see pictures out in California of the Mexican flag flying from a school flag pole while immigrant students burn the American flag?
An even more dangerous result would occur if a single man from a Muslim country came to the United States, lived as an upstanding citizen, applied for citizenship, and obtained it. He could then sponsor for immigration five or six unmarried brothers and sisters, all of whom trained as terrorists in a foreign nation and were coming to the United States for the purpose of destroying it. The start to ‘course correction’ in this dangerous situation is the repeal of the Hart-Celler Act. Establish that a US citizen could only sponsor a spouse and a minor child. “No society can withstand the unconditional mass migration of aliens from every corner of the earth.” [Levin, Liberty and Tyranny, pg. 149]. Germany, France, Belgium, and Scandinavia can verify this.
Next week we will continue to look into the immigration situation in this nation. There are benefits to controlled immigration but our government must be the enforcer of that control. It is a Biblical assignment. Actions can be taken to improve the situation in our education system, expanding the number of skilled laborers admitted, and enforcing regulations that are already in place. Because immigration is discussed in the Bible, the benefits and drawbacks need to be addressed in the pulpit. Congregations need to be wise in who or what they support and pastors have a perfect platform for instructing the congregations in the guidance that the Bible provides.
– Bob Munsey