Apparently, the USA has a de facto policy of separating immigrant families who have probably come to country illegally. This is not good, not right and not biblical.
Let’s take a moment and clarify the context of the immigration debates in this country. For decades now we have had a real mess on our hands. Large numbers of pro-immigration people here in America have been lawlessly encouraging illegal immigration. DACA is a clear example of this, where president Obama ignored Congress and implemented changes to immigration policy. He knew very well that it was unlawful for him to take such an action, and had said so publicly. Since implementation, supporters of the policy have ignored the lawlessness of it and tried to paint anyone opposed to it as hate-filled and cruel.
They know better. And this sort of dishonesty is one of the most important factors in the developing rancor over immigration. In my lifetime, debate over immigration policy has turned into a bitter feud. I blame the supporters of illegal-immigration for this development. And they do support illegal-immigration. They will take immigration however they can get it, by hook or, literally, by crook.
This is not to say that the anti-immigration side is pure and clean. There is an inappropriate level of animosity towards illegals and it is threatening to develop into a general hatred of foreigners. That is a major problem. The anger should be directed against the American citizens who have been dishonestly ignoring the law. In effect, we told the illegals to ignore our laws, and they did. They learned it from us.
Furthermore, arguments against immigration have become more like propaganda than like a sincere presentation of the pros and cons. There is good reason to be highly skeptical of the amount of crime supposedly committed by immigrants. And somehow immigrants who want to come to this country and work hard to provide for their families are vilified as “taking our jobs,” as if someone else’s job listing was your personal property.
In the midst of this heated, bitter debate the Trump administration has taken a wrong turn. Enforcing the law is a good thing, but separating families to discourage illegal immigration is wrong. And, as Americans once knew, two wrongs don’t make a right.
Here is where I first heard about it: BreakPoint: Immigration, Families, and Jesus. I will point out two things that are very important about that story.
First, the change in policy was debated in the administration as a deliberate way of discouraging immigration. That suggests they have some discretion in the matter. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know how much discretion the laws as written currently allow. The laws themselves are likely to be a convoluted mess, and the pro-illegal-immigration crowd has a long history of lying about what the law actually says. This makes it hard to say for sure what the law requires. It is much easier to say what it should require.
The second thing to note is that the mother in this story did not rob a liquor store. I have no reason to think she has committed any violent crimes or property crimes. She may not even be an illegal immigrant. Let that sink in for a minute. She might not be illegal.
Can we all agree that separating children from parents who are about to be granted asylum (as may be true of the mother in this story) is a bad policy? If it’s actually the law, it’s a bad one. It is, if nothing else, hurtful and foolish. But if it’s a policy chosen to discourage illegal-immigration, as it seems to be, it’s an outrage.
Why is it so outrageous? Because it is so inappropriate. Illegal immigrants are generally not dangerous criminals. And separating families is not a fit punishment for the crime of illegally immigrating to this country. Justice demands that the punishment must fit the crime. Creative new punishments might very well discourage immigration, but that end does not justify the means. For this reason we have always prohibited cruel and unusual punishment.
I’d sooner have the parents (only) beaten with rubber hoses followed by a quick deportation of the intact family. You could convince me that illegals should be put into forced labor camps for a year or more (in order to pay a fine that covers the cost of deportation,) but I would insist that those forced labor camps should house families, not children stripped from their mothers.
Honoring the family is honoring the God who invented it. Children belong in families, with a mother and a father. This is evident in the way God designed human beings: it takes a mommy and a daddy to have a baby. Contrary to Darwin, that is not an accident. Experience, common sense and scripture all tell us that children should be raised by their parents, all else being equal. Even science-y research is catching on. God’s design for human nature is not something we can spurn without consequences.
Children should not be separated from their parents to “make an example” out of them. If it’s the law, it’s a bad law. If it is executive discretion, it shows poor judgment.
Christians should support the rule of law and insist that man’s law comport with God’s law. Families should be separated only when truly necessary. And it is not necessary in the general case of immigrants, whether legal or illegal.