On Immigration, Amnesty and the Gospel

Darrell L. Bock's picture

I want to let people know about the Table podcast for the next two weeks. It covers immigration. Here is the URL: http://www.dts.edu/thetable/play/biblical-response-immigration-policy/ We have purposely asked 4 Hispanic evangelicals to help us see the issues from their side of the conversation. It is too easy to get near-sighted about this conversation. I have heard a lot of discussion about not giving amnesty, upholding the rule of law, and that there are two kinds of immigration- legal and illegal. 

Much of this ignores what we all know. Where we are now does not work. It allows for an underground economy where people who get from the system do not pay into it. It means if we strictly enforced our laws, we would split families (not a very Christian, family value result). It ignores how many came in with a wink and a nod from those of us who were already here as we hired people and gave them a means to live. Most Hispanics I know are good and quiet citizens. They work hard, making a living doing one or more jobs and living in tight quarters with many families sharing a small apartment. I have always thought assimilation is a much better policy than allowing an underground way of life to continue. 

But what about breaking the Law? Yes, many have come in illegally. But a combined policy of giving a route to citizenship which is to be earned and pursued to right the wrong and doing a better job of securing our borders is what we need. What I object to is the linking of these two ideas so that citizenship is not opened up until the borders are secured. That is not best for those already here and for us as a nation. If one waits until the ducks are in a row on border security, then one faces the problem that one can always suggests the ducks are not quite lined up as they ought to be yet. Why not let the ducks get lined up internally so those who are here can earn their money and pay into our system for services they draw upon?

And here is another reason Christians especially should contemplate. Why not show a little Christian compassion in how we set it up. I am reminded that when it comes to salvation, I am hardly saved because I kept the rule of law. Forgiveness was offered through Jesus and I embraced the opportunity to get out of the box I had created for myself because God was gracious and offered a way out I did not deserve. So let's work out a plan that gives a currently bad and ineffective policy a fresh start. Let's work both ends of the problem but not link them so tightly we repeat the mistakes we made before. And, above all, let Christians show what we know in our deepest soul- that forgiveness cleanses in ways that go beyond what Law does and gives people an opportunity to experience life in a new way. Maybe if we model Chrsitian values, we will show how forgiveness can work in even more profound ways.

Comments

Thanks for this short but powerful article.We need more of this type in evangelical circles. Thanks Dr. Bock.

Hi Dr. Bock! Thanks for this reminder to model Christ even in our policies. This adds a fresh perspective to an issue that I admit I haven't been in touch with enough. 

One of the primary purposes of insisting that border security precede citizenship is that politicians have not kept their promises to secure the border in the past. Securing the border is difficult, expensive, politically sensitive, etc. So politicians tend to get what they are after (whether driven by compassion for the underclass, or politics), and then don't end up securing the border. This has happened multiple times, and each time a new group of immigrants illegally enter the US, hoping to, among other things, take advantage of the next amnesty. If you object to the treatment and status of the underclass, then you should not be in favor of an approach that historically leads to the creation of a new and larger underclass. If the ducks and their respective rows (border security and enforcement) are reasonably and explicitly defined, what is the terrible outcome you envision in *giving illegal immigrants legal status*, but withholding the citizenship specifically until the border is secured?

Darrell L. Bock's picture

The answer to this is simple. Moving to assimilate people who are here, and likely here to stay, makes sense to remove the underground status they currently have (with the numbers growing and the impact of their undergroudn status growing). Waiting on full citizenship for them as a penalty but granting an interim status to get them to citizenship and having them pay in prevents a kind of jumping the queue and represents a small price paid for having entered illegally (thus recognizing some force to the existing law), showing some respect for those who entered legally, but not in a way that allows those currently unregistered to stay underground or that permits the current, less than effective internal situation to remain.

I object to linking the two issues (border then citizenship) for the very reason you opened with. When will we say we are secure enough to go ahead and implement phase 2 (although your appeal for a reasonable definition of border security might be able to get us there as well- that standard risks being in the eye of the beholder)? Linked together it always is a reason (or excuse) not to move ahead internally and assimilate those who are already here. Those who are already here are a key part of the overall problem to be solved. So decouple the issues. Work harder to fix the borders. Know that solution will not be perfect, but hopefully good enough not to fall back to where we are and were. Also we would then be more than justified to implement tougher laws for illegals and if we do this, we should work harder to enforce those laws.

What I object to most in a complex set of circumstances and causes is a situation where a large underground community exists and draws on resources but does not pay in or ends up at a human level being resticted to access or protections because they cannot really gain coverage in their current status. Deportation (except in the case of convictions) is not a realistic solution for the current mass we are dealing with. That would only perpetuate the desire to continue the underground status of those not discovered. And this is a very large group.   

This issue is an attempt by the Democrats to tip the demographic of this county to a point where it is imposable for a conservative to win a national election.

The establishment GOP believe if they get out in front of this issue they can steal the left's thunder and take credit for amnesty, which will translate into more votes for the GOP.

The establishment GOP is wrong and the Democrats are correct. If amnesty is passed that translates to 20 million new democrat voters. Illegal immigrants are going to vote for who ever gives them more "free" government stuff.  From an economic standpoint alone, that is a disaster for an economy in that is already in bad shape.

The religious left (as it always does) is attempting to use Christianity to garner political support. The arguments you are using are parroting the religious left.

Let's look at Christian principles:

Illegal immigrants broke into this country to begin with, which is crime. On top of that, the illegals are either committing tax evasion or identity fraud.

What would happen to either of us if we didn't pay our taxes or created a new identity? We would both be going to jail but if you are an illegal alien that is fine. This is a violation of the equal protection clause, notions of fairness, and Christians are told to follow the law.

There are people waiting to come into this country who are following the rules and paying a lot of money to come here. Granting amnesty to people who broke in to this country and didn't pay a dime is an insult to the people who are following the rules.

What message does that send? If you follow the rules you are a sucker. Is that a Christian principle?

The response to that is to argue the illegal aliens just want a better life. The problem is so do the people who are playing by the rules.

Then there is the don't  break families apart argument. This is a straw-man argument. You can use that argument with any law you want to ignore. Also, it presupposes their children can't go back with them.

The only point we agree on is that amnesty and boarder security should not be linked together. The reason the the two issues are linked together is because amnesty proponents know that the American people will not support granting 20 million people amnesty for people who are breaking the law. The American people know the government does not want to enforce the boarder.

Boarder security should be passed before and without an amnesty bill. You totally ignored the national security issues and other horrific problems associated with having an open boarder.

First of all, there is the problem with terrorism. Hamas has been setting  up shop and reaching out to the Mexican drug cartels.It is a mater of time before there is an attack where the terrorists came into this county via the southern boarder.

Mexico has ostensibly become a narco-state. The problems associated with that are spilling into this country. Arizona is a perfect example of that.

Coyotes smuggle people from Mexico into the United States. The smugglers use drop houses in Phoenix to hold the people they smuggled in.They kidnap the people who paid them to get over the boarder for ransom.

The coyotes are notorious for raping and beating the woman they smuggle over the boarder. There are rape trees. A rape tree is a place where coyotes rape women and throw their underwear into the tree. There are trees covered with women's underwear. They also frequently rape women at the drop houses.

Then there is the problem with Mexican gangs and drugs. Police complain that a gang member is deported, they see them back in the country, they know the person is dangerous but they can't do anything about it because the Feds won't do anything about it.

Another person addressed this problem in one of the last posts. You said we need to work harder at boarder security. Your response didn't address the issue. The problem is the government will not secure the boarder.

In ten years we will be having the exact same discussion with the same arguments after amnesty is passed. The logical end conclusion to the amnesty proponent's position is the United States should have an open boarder and if you follow the law to get into this country you are a fool.

To argue that we should just have amnesty and attempt to sell it as a christian value is disingenuous. What about all the Women getting raped? What about the gangs? What about the drugs? What about people cheating and cutting in line? What about taking away government services from citizens to give to illegals aliens? None of these points comport with Christian values.

Darrell L. Bock's picture

Your description of Hispanics here is sad and something less than balanced. Many Hispanics who are here have family values, are socially conservative, work multiple jobs we hire them to work, and crowd into housing to save what little money they make.  Yes, as we recognized, many are here illegally (and many came years ago at our invitation to do so when we did not pay enough attention to immigation). You completely ignore where we are today, how we got here, and why many people on both sides of politics know we have a problem the status quo or border security alone will not fix. Apparently forgiveness is not something we can learn from for some or you are willing to apply, even though God does discuss the theme in things as crucual as the Lord's prayer and Matthew 18:22-35 and it standa at the core of what it means to experience reconciliation that is a part of salvation. The OT is full of discussion about how the foreigner should be treated with compassion. The solution proposed was not merely amnesty (It misrepresents what was proposed). What was proposed was a way to bring people into conformity with our law, integrate those who are here and staying so they will be more a part of our communnity. There is a queue suggested that did involve a penalty for coming here illegally. We are not talking about the felons you are tarring all those present as being in a gross generality. They need to face the full weight of the law for crimes far more severe than seeking a better life. The appeal being made is to extend a hand to people, many of whom merely seek to eek out a life here. It will help us all to extend that hand to them. 

"Your description of Hispanics here is sad and something less than balanced. Many Hispanics who are here have family values, are socially conservative, work multiple jobs we hire them to work, and crowd into housing to save what little money they make. "

This is largely hyperbole and indicative of looking at the issue in a one dimensional emotional way. First let's test the hypothesis that illegals will vote for conservatives after being granted amnesty.

Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to illegals in 1986.Did the GOP pick up more Hispanic votes or less after the 1986 amnesty?

Answer: They received significantly less votes.

The politicians also told the American people that the problem with illegal immigration would be solved and they would shut down the boarder. We are having the exact same conversation with the exact same arguments 27 years later.

They didn't do anything at all to secure the boarder and let the exact same problem keep happening. The exact same thing is going to happen again this time. If you do not learn from history you are doomed to repeat it.

You conceded that illegal immigrants are largely low wadge/ low skill workers. Even if they are crowed into housing and work multiple jobs they are still going to need some kind of government assistance. No one can survive on 10.00 an hour in California.

Hospitals that are located near a large populace of illegal immigrants are going bankrupt. They are being overwhelmed with illegal alien patients who are being treated for free. This causes the hospital to lose money to a point where they can't stay open.

About ten years ago, Time or News Week ran a story about a town in Vermont that had the best welfare payouts in this county. The town did not have any mechanism to check if welfare recipients were illegal or not. The town was flooded with illegal immigrants and went bankrupt.

Flooding a market also causes wadges to go down. I remember talking with a guy who had a daughter who went to school to become a lawyer. At that time there was a large amount of people becoming lawyers. The only job she could find after she graduated paid 30k.

The same thing happens if you flood the American job market with low skill workers. A construction worker would get 20.00 an hour but if if you flood the market that construction job goes down to 10.00 an hour. You end up driving the lower wadge jobs down even more which hurts the working poor.

"and many came years ago at our invitation to do so when we did not pay enough attention to immigation "

If we invited them, they wouldn't be here illegally. What you are really saying is we didn't enforce the boarder. This is a circular argument:

We didn't enforce the boarder coupled with they are already in the country means they should be granted amnesty but when someone argues we need to secure the boarder, liberals argue they are already here and it's not realistic.

In other words, we aren't going to secure the boarder and every twenty years or so we are going to grant 10-20 million people amnesty. The logical conclusion to the liberal argument is we should have an open southern boarder and if you can break in to this country at some point you will be granted amnesty

"You completely ignore where we are today, how we got here, and why many people on both sides of politics know we have a problem the status quo or border security alone will not fix." .

I am not ignoring where we are today. We just disagree about what we should do about it. I just addressed how we got here to begin with. We don't enforce the boarder and allow millions of people to come in to this country. If illegal immigrants are caught in this country, most of the time they are given a court date and don't show up.

Every twenty years or so, liberals argue we need to grant them amnesty without doing any thing to shut down the boarder or they tell us they will shut it down and don't do it.

You are arguing we should grant them amnesty without any provisions for boarder security. You want to keep doing this, do you not? Explain to me how this system can possibly work?

Twenty years from now, we will be having the exact same discussion. You admit there is a problem, do you not?

If there is a problem, how does doing the exact same thing that we know doesn't work, solve the problem?

"Apparently forgiveness is not something we can learn from for some or you are willing to apply, even though God does discuss the theme in things as crucual as the Lord's prayer and Matthew 18:22-35 and it standa at the core of what it means to experience reconciliation that is a part of salvation. "

By that logic chain, should we have any laws at all? There is a difference between God's forgiveness, being held responsible for your actions, and societal laws.

If you go over the speed limmit and you get a ticket, do you believe you shouldn't get a ticket because of the Christian notion of forgiveness?

If a Christian family had a friend that was murdered, it is perfectly consistent with Christian doctrine to forgive the murderer but want to keep him in jail.

"What was proposed was a way to bring people into conformity with our law, integrate those who are here and staying so they will be more a part of our communnity."

If there was a movie theater that was incredibly easy to sneak into and a large amount of people were sneaking into the movies while people sat in line waiting to pay, would you argue that we should let the people who sneaked in stay and watch the movie and pay less than the people in line?

When someone pointed out that the movie theater needs close up the place where people are sneaking in, would you argue the people were already in the movies and the problem is just to big to close down the place where people are sneaking in?

Moreover, would you argue it is a Christian principal to allow the people to say in the movies? Of coarse not! That is what you are arguing with illegal immigration.

Any person could see, you need to close down the way they are sneaking in, kick out the people who sneaked into the movies, and prosecute the people who sneaked in. This will stop people from sneaking in, in the future. If they want to go to the movies they can get into the back of the line and pay and wait like everyone else.

"We are not talking about the felons you are tarring all those present as being in a gross generality."

I am not tarring anyone. I was merely pointing out the problems with having an open boarder. An open boarder allow coyotes to do and get away with horrific things.

I did not say all illegal immigrants are coyotes.In fact, I said the coyotes are doing horrific things to the illegal immigrants!

You did not address one point I made about boarder security and instead made a straw-man argument. Not securing the boarder is causing horrific things to happen.

"They need to face the full weight of the law for crimes far more severe than seeking a better life. The appeal being made is to extend a hand to people, many of whom merely seek to eek out a life here. It will help us all to extend that hand to them. "

The full weight of the law would entail deporting them which you are against, are you not?

What about the people who want a better line and are playing buy the rules to get here?

Darrell L. Bock's picture

Here is what you said I am arguing:

 

You are arguing we should grant them amnesty without any provisions for boarder security. You want to keep doing this, do you not? Explain to me how this system can possibly work?

 

Actually what i said is we should BOTH secure the borders and work out a system to give those here a chance to gain citizenship, but let's not link the two. In part because dealing with those already here is a reality we have to face that securing the borders does not touch (unless you mean that securing the broders also means we should deport those already here).

 

This system can work because we assimilate those here so they pay into the syatem that can help to care for them while we also tighten the border. Your argument that we said this 20 years ago and it did not work is correct, because we failed to follow through on border security.  My point is to do both simultaneously. If both get done, we will not be back here in 20 years (at least not to the current degree). So it is not the exact same thing we did in the past. It only is if we do not follow through. You suggest my argument is circular, but it is circular to say mine is the same argument and then assume real border security is not in the mix of what I proposed. Maybe you missed that point in my argument. To me it is an important difference from the past. Do not merely promise border security but really work to deliver it.

 

You reject applying Matthew 18 to this discussion and ask why have laws at all, and then equate speeding and murder as if it is all the same. We have a social problem here in terms of people present and living here (some of which we helped to create by encouragaing people to come and hire them even when we knew they might be here illegally- another point not quite represented properly in terms of what was meant). I do want a provision that places them at the back of any citizenship queue to penalize them for their having come illegally (and thus honor the law), but I think finding a solution to their presence is better than doing what we do now or simply engaging in mass departations and prosecutions, which is not practical for a series of reasons most recognize. That is why I reject that option. An unworkable law (which is what we have now) is a bad law that needs changing. That is what we face now. 

 

So please hear me I am not against securing the borders. That needs to be done for the very reasons you suggest. I am against linkage, so we can deal with those already here as well as to work to prevent a repeat of the last effort. Attention needs to be given to both. 

 

Those who play by the rules get to the front of a citizenship queue. Those who did not must wait for some benefits of citizenship but in the meantime are registered, become legal and pay in, as well as getting assimilated in a way that does not leave them underground and isolated.

 

My request in this disucssion then is a simple one (even if we disagree on how). Let's represent what we are arguing against fairly.

"Actually what i said is we should BOTH secure the borders and work out a system to give those here a chance to gain citizenship, but let's not link the two"

Not linking border security with amnesty is a point  we agree on. Your blog post mainly  focused on amnesty and you didn't articulate what you would do with boarder security and other provisions we should enact that would deal with illegal immigrants if they do get into the country.

"My point is to do both simultaneously."

Both I and another poster brought up the point that the government will not shut down the boarder or do anything  once illegal aliens get into the country. I brought up the Reagan amnesty to illustrate this point.

When Bush attempted to pass amnesty, they passed legislation to construct a fence on the boarder. They didn't do it. It is naive to believe they will actually do anything to secure the boarder. This is why two bills cannot be passed simultaneously and the border must be secured first with provisions to deal with illegal aliens if they do get passed the boarder. The government and politicians have zero credibility on this issue. You did not address this point.

"You suggest my argument is circular, but it is circular to say mine is the same argument and then assume real border security is not in the mix of what I proposed. "

The liberal argument is a circular argument.

"Do not merely promise border security but really work to deliver it."

They don't want to do that. This is why Arizona filed the lawsuit that SCOTUS ruled on. The government will not enforce boarder security and it causing a myriad of problems for the state. Since the government refuses to enforce the boarder, the state of Arizona decided that they will do something to stop some of the problems illegal immigration is causing.

Again, they have zero credibility on the issue. They have repeatedly shown the American people that we can't trust them.

"You reject applying Matthew 18 to this discussion and ask why have laws at all, and then equate speeding and murder as if it is all the same."

The analogy you are drawing with Matthew 18 to illegal immigration is they should be forgiven and be allowed to stay in the country. Your logic chain dictates if I am speeding, I  should be forgiven and should not have to pay a fine.

God forgives our sins, therefore we need to forgive people who sin against us. This does not mean there shouldn't be any punishment for breaking societal laws.

"I do want a provision that places them at the back of any citizenship queue to penalize them for their having come illegally (and thus honor the law)"

You don't want to deport them, correct?

If you don't want to deport them, how are you honoring the law? That is the equivalent of letting someone who sneaked into the movies stay and finish watching the film. There are people waiting in line to pay and watch the movie. By allowing the people to stay and finish the film, you are sending the message anyone who doesn't sneak in is a fool.

A friend of mine married a a girl from another country. Her parents wanted to come and visit. The amount of money they spent  for just a visit was insane and initially they weren't allowed to come here.

The policy to allow the illegals to stay is the equivalent of charging the people who sneaked into the movies a quarter of the ticket price.That is not honoring the law and has nothing to do with forgiveness and everything to do with fairness. Even if you charged them the full price, they still sneaked in.

"but I think finding a solution to their presence is better than doing what we do now or simply engaging in mass departations and prosecutions, which is not practical for a series of reasons most recognize."

Mexico ostensibly self deported 20 million people, to argue it isn't practical isn't addressing the problem of how we deal with illegal immigration once they get passed the boarder. If we implement the correct policies, we could do the same thing as Mexico. They will self deport.   

Amnesty proponents frequently use the impracticality of deportation as part of the circular argument. We need to grant amnesty but they won't secure the boarder or do anything once the illegal aliens come in here. This is a defacto open boarder.

How do you deal with the illegals getting passed the boarder after you grant twenty million of them amnesty?

Darrell L. Bock's picture

Thanks for the direct engagement, it is appreciated.

I am aware of the Arizona issue as I am friends with a theologian there who has described the issues they face from the standpoint of securing the border (not much different in Texas really). My discussion with him is why I say we need to be serious about border security. I understand your nervousness about trusting whether the government will mean business here or not on this. I think where we disagree is whether we should wait to secure the borders first to deal with those already here (some of them for decades).  You say you do not want to link them but yours is a linkage by sequence. No dealing with the internal situation until the external one is solved. That is the sequence I reject. It is a form of linkage, since the internal situation isnot addressed and will only get worse until this is completed (whenever that might be). I prefer to work with a model that deals with each simultaneously.

Now let's deal with your movie illustration because it lacks some of the complexity of the current situation. What if some of the movie owners said to those who "snuck in," here come through this door to the movie? I will take care of you. It is OK. That was a part of my point in saying we helped to create this problem and encouraged it. Or once they were in, we said, in effect, Ok stay and have your family here (as we did hire them to do many jobs). As neat as your example may look on the surface, it does not address the additional human and social features of how the law was broken by many and how many here supported it to help our economy (in some cases on our end to get cheap labor), playing the role rightly or (mostly) wrongly of the movie owner. My point is that your illustration is one sided when it comes to this problem. Do we punish those who let them in in order to honor enforcement? How far back to we go to punish those who were here who aided them? If we punish those who had been encouraged to come in, but do not punish those who helped them, is that fair? Do we do away with many jobs our citizens seek to have done that these people filled? 

 

The law is honored in what we are saying by noting there is still a penality to be paid for those who came in illegally in terms of how they queue up (but we are also recognizing our law was not workable as it was, Becuase we did not enforce it as we should have and said we would).

You claim fairness is at stake. What forgiveness at its essence is not keeping the score deserved. People do get better than they deserve in this proposal (acknowledged at the start because we are a generous people). That was the core point of the post. It was about grace. For my part, I am willing to go there in the hopes of breaking this gridlock (and because I do think the alternatives are worse at a human level). I am glad God was not fair with me. I can be that for others.

 

As to my logic on Matthew 18, the issue is we have a law that does not work. Many of us know this. It is why the discussion exists (Not just from "liberals"). So let's try to clear the decks and start again and work towards something more workable. A poor law serves no one well. This one was and is not working. When that happens you try and fix it. Now one way is to argue enforce what we have (and say it ain't broke). If you want to call me naive for making my suggestion, I can return the favor by saying our lack of enforcement of our current law has not and will not work, especially for those who now have been here for several generations. That is why we have the debate. Many do feel that where we are is not workable. I agree with them.

 

What is self deportation? What would force them out? I take it you may mean current enforcement would lead to this. But actually I am not sure what you mean here. 

 

So let's work hard to do both- give those currently here a path to citizenship- put them at the end of a queue in a recognition this is a gracious act but with a move that also recognizes what was done was wrong (much like my confession of sin leads to grace). Secure the border at the same time, knowing this has to be done or else we will do this over again down the road as you well point out (I agree with you there as well). Let's mean both and do both. Those who enter after a certain date should be handled on the secure border model. Enforce that, don't just talk about it. Clear the decks and start again. That is what I still think is the best way out of this messy situation.

"I understand your nervousness about trusting whether the government will mean business here or not on this. I think where we disagree is whether we should wait to secure the borders first to deal with those already here (some of them for decades). "

The government has shown over and over again that they will not secure the boarder or enforce any provisions to deal with illegal immigrates once they get into the country. If you attempt to pass two bills simultaneously, the amnesty bill with pass and the security bill will be flushed down the toilet. We can't trust them. You have not addressed this issue. My naivety comment was regarding your belief that they will actually do it.

"You say you do not want to link them but yours is a linkage by sequence."

I don't support an amnesty bill at all. I am not linking them. If they want to come into this country they can go to the back of the line and wait their turn like everyone else.

" What if some of the movie owners said to those who "snuck in," here come through this door to the movie? "

We are not telling illegal aliens to come here. We aren't enforcing boarder security and they are walking right in. There is a distinction between inviting someone to come here and someone sneaking in because of lax security.

That is like arguing if someone walks into your house uninvited because you left the front door unlocked that it equates to inviting them in. Even if your door is unlocked they still broke into your house.

What we have is the owners of the movie theater telling the management company to kick the people out of the movies who sneaked in and shut down the way they are sneaking in and the management company is refusing to do it.  The owners need to fire the management company. Unfortunately, there are only two management companies and they both refuse to enforce the law.

."As neat as your example may look on the surface, it does not address the additional human and social features of how the law was broken by many and how many here supported it to help our economy (in some cases on our end to get cheap labor)"

The argument to let illegals stay in this country is the equivalent of allowing someone who sneaked into the movies stay and finish the film. You are ignoring all the problems associated with illegal immigration and you did not address any of the problems I pointed out.

"The law is honored in what we are saying by noting there is still a penality to be paid for those who came in illegally"

You are allowing the people who broke into a movie and didn't pay, to stay in the theater and pay less than the people who are waiting in line. The penalty amounts to paying 75% less than the people who are waiting in line. You are sending the message if you wait in line you are a fool.

The parents of my friend's wife paid more money just to be able to visit this country than the penalty for the people who broke into this country. That makes absolutely no sense.  

"You claim fairness is at stake."

One person spends a lot of money to come here. They spend a lot of their time filing paper work and meeting with lawyers. They wait years to come here legally. Another person just walks right over the boarder and stays here.

You are telling me we should give preferential treatment to the person who just walked over the boarder or over stayed their visa, rather than the person who spent a huge amount of time and money? That doesn't volatile the notion of fairness? What message does that send?

"I am glad God was not fair with me. I can be that for others."

Your logic chain with this point amounts arguing people shouldn't be given speeding tickets because God forgave us. You are trying to apply God's forgiveness to societal laws. The logical conclusion to this point is that there shouldn't be any punishment for breaking the law. God forgave our sins, so we should forgive the sins of other people who broke the law by not having any punishment.

"As to my logic on Matthew 18, the issue is we have a law that does not work. Many of us know this. "

It is not that the laws don't work. We have laws that are not being enforced. There is a big difference between laws that don't work and laws that are not enforced.

"It is why the discussion exists (Not just from "liberals"). "

The reason we are having the discussion is because the government will not enforce the boarder. Attempting the frame the issue as the laws not working instead of the government isn't enforcing the laws, is dishonest. This is a tactic of the left.

You did say the government is not enforcing the boarder. It also does very little to deal with illegal aliens once they are in the country. You can't concede the government won't enforce the laws and then argue the laws don't work.

"What is self deportation? What would force them out? I take it you may mean current enforcement would lead to this. But actually I am not sure what you mean here."

If they can't get jobs here and get into welfare programs, they will go home. For example, if the government hit companies that hired illegal aliens with large fines and prosecution, they wouldn't hire them. There are a myriad of things that can be done like this.

You did not address boarder security or how you will prevent the same thing from happening again after you grant 20 million people amnesty.

Darrell L. Bock's picture

We are going around in circles now, but at least your view is clear. You set up a catch 22. You argue, let's enforce the law, even retro enforce it. But we are not and have not enforced it for decades (as we both accept), so we have an existing problem involving millions of people. That means we have a social problem that cannot be undone practically by mass deportation and a decision to enforce now across the board. There is not the public will for this option, (no matter how loud you argue for it). This is why I say it is currently broken and most see that.

The catch 22 is if I say clear the decks and start again you say we will not do border security. So you want border security and enforcement even though we have not done it in the past. If I say let's do it as a part of the solution you say can't go there it will not work. But it is ALL you are asking for. That when I ask for it you say cannot work. But it is core to what you are insisting upon. Heads you win. Tails I lose.

Your option is to try and locate and deport millions. Do you think that will be done or have a chance of working? You say it is not that the laws do not work, they are not being enforced. If we as a society do not have the heart to enforce the laws we make, then maybe it is because we sense they are not workable as currently constructed. Our major difference I think is that you think all that is needed is enforcement, including retro-enforcement. I actually think that will not work because we do not have the heart or inclination for it. So then what do we do? Nothing, the status quo? You can say I am naive to propose something else. I am saying your desire is not realistic because we have not and will not do it the singular way you are advocating in the current configuration. So I say reboot.

Your explanation of the clearing the decks option is that is unfair. Should not be done. Note it is not that it is not possible to do. It is possible if we desire to go there and try to start from a cleared deck. We have the right to remake/reconfigure our laws.

Your example strikes me as wanting to go back to pre-1948 in the Middle East, ignoring the reality on the ground now. You claim my proposal undermines the law that should have worked since it was implemented in 1968. But the key reality here is we have a law our society makes no effort to enforce in its present configuration and now we have it with the present realities. You may call my suggestion naive. I see yours as completely impractical.

So let me ask a question if we do not have the stomach to enforce the border why do you think adding that to the mix BY ITSELF as the first step will ever work? Do you really think we will enforce the law to go back and recoup since 1968? This is why I find your position impractical and not very reasonable. 

 

You also continue to misunderstand or misrepresent my example of wink and nod. We the people (not all of us but many of us) encouraged people to come. We hired them when they got here. We housed them. That was the side door I was talking about. We did not say oh you are illegal, get out. We said, welcome in, in part by what WE did.

 

Your self deportation ideas. Do you really think we will ever do them? 

 

Another misrepresentation is your continued appeal to speeding as the example. This is a law that mostly works. We work to enforce it and honor it. We do not have millions in line as speeders. When we did and there was a public reaction, we also changed the speed limit when lower speed limits were not as workable. Who has a 55 mile an hour speed limit on interstate highways in general anymore?

Still another less than accurate claim is that I want to give preferential treatment to them. No, I said send people to the back of the line. Those who came and are coming legally get first dibs. You say there is no punishment, but there is. They will wait for some rights for a time (Some benefits are delayed). What I wish for is a way to bring these people into the society in a way that ends the underground they live in. That does none of us any good.

As to applying God's forgiveness to societal laws. Yes, that is exactly what I am appealing to here because the current law does not work. It allows us to clear the decks and Scripture exhorts me to relate to people this way for the little debts they incur in the face of my big debt before God. We have a democracy so we can discuss whether our laws, which are not equal to divine commandments, are workable and should be fixed when they do not work. In that context I will apply this kind of a principle. There are times (and I think this is one of them and you don't) when forgiveness can act to restore a broken situation.

Now let's deal with the dishonesty charge. What drives the government not to enforce the laws? The government is not an impersonal entity. It is made up of people in our society. When it does not work it can be because we fail to make it work (for whatever combination of reasons). To enforce the law, we have to have the collective will to do so and supply the means to do so. That is part of what we currently lack. That is not a tactic of the left. That is the reality as the lack of enforcement is not a function of a single government, but of the government run at one time or another by both parties. Now you might well reply that is the problem, two poor choices. But who is responsible for that (assuming that is right)? We the voters are. So this is not a tactic. It is as much a reality as your concern we will never do this if we grant citizenship. (What makes you think we will do it if we don't under the current scenario?)

The summation of this argument is a need to reboot and give ourselves a chance at a fresh reorientation on several key levels that has a chance. 

What about on preventing this from happening again? A clean start gives us a more realistic chance of enforcement IF we have the collective will to do it. That may or may not be the case. That I recognize. It may fail for the reasons the last effort did and for reasons you yourself have noted. So let's say it fails. If it does, it means the solution you have advocated on its own also fails. What do we gain if the path I recommend is undertaken? We at least have the end of the undergound existence and nonassimilation of many who are here and have been for some time and are quite likely to remain here. That at least brings us farther than we are right now with that group.  We assimilate those who are here and those who are quite likely to remain under the current process. They come a step farther and they pay in more than they currently do. That is better than where we are now or where we will be if we continue to do what we have done.  We also gain a level of moral will to do enforcement. We cleared the decks and made a good faith effort to be generous. It was not responded to. If that happens, it is our fault collectively as a society, just as it is our collective failure that got us here now. But we at least got some assimilated.

I am not setting up a catch 22.  My points are pertaining to what we need to do to solve the problem. That is not a catch 22. A catch 22 is what the left is doing.
They argue we need amnesty and are against any and all measures to secure the boarder and deal with illegal aliens if they get into the country. All they want is amnesty. They want to add 20 million people now and another 20 million people 20 years from now.

"The catch 22 is if I say clear the decks and start again you say we will not do border security."

I am not saying that at all. Again, my points pertain to what we need to do to solve the problem. The politicians do not want to secure the boarder. That is a totally different issue of what we need to do to solve the problem. You are conflating my points about what we should do to solve the problem with the reality that the politicians do not want a secure boarder or clear the decks.

"If I say let's do it as a part of the solution you say can't go there it will not work."

They will not secure the boarder and pass amnesty simultaneously. That is the reality. To believe that they would do this is simply being naive.

Again, I am not saying we need to clear the decks but the politicians won't secure the boarder. The politicians won't clear the decks or secure the boarder. That is what we should do. However, in order to do that we need grass roots pressures and to get rid of the Bush/Rove establishment GOP.

"There is not the public will for this option, "

When Bush decided to ram amnesty down the throats of the American people,  people told him from both sides of the political aisle they didn't want it. The American people overwhelmingly support securing the boarders and clearing the deck. It's the politicians that don't support it. If people did support it, Bush would have passed amnesty easily.

"Your option is to try and locate and deport millions. Do you think that will be done or have a chance of working? "

You are ignoring my past comments. If the government went after a construction business for hiring illegal aliens with a large fine and jail time, do you think similar companies would be more inclined or less inclined to hire illegal aliens?

If illegal aliens had a difficult time fining a job and couldn't get welfare befits, do you think they would stay in this country or go back?

"If we as a society do not have the heart to enforce the laws we make,"

If you are arguing the laws don't work because the collective heart of America can't bear to enforce the boarder, we have an open boarder.

It's not the society, it's the politicians. Again, if the people wanted this Bush would have easily passed his amnesty bill................ You can not argue that the laws don't work and also concede we aren't enforcing the laws.

"So then what do we do?"

Grass roots pressure coupled with clearing the deck of the politicians who will not enforce our immigration laws.

"You can say I am naive to propose something else."

I said you are naive for believing the politicians will pass two bills simultaneously and will actually enforce our boarder laws.The reality is the amnesty will pass and the security will not. The problem will continue, which is what they want.

"Your example strikes me as wanting to go back to pre-1948 in the Middle East, ignoring the reality on the ground now. "

If we don't have the heart to send people back home, explain to me how you are going to prevent this exact same problem 20 years from now after you give 20 million amnesty? This is the circular argument. The law is broken and  we can't send people back, therefore we need to keep granting amnesty every 20 years.

The reality is they are not going to secure the boarder or enforce our immigration law. You are assuming they will this time.

"So let me ask a question if we do not have the stomach to enforce the border why do you think adding that to the mix BY ITSELF as the first step will ever work? Do you really think we will enforce the law to go back and recoup since 1968?"

1. You are presupposing that the American people do not want to clear the decks, which untrue. It's the politicians.Bush was forced to drop his amnesty bill because the American people didn't want it.

2. The 60s is when the problem started. It was Ted Kennedy's immigration policy that started this.

3. Yes, the American people want boarder shut down and the decks cleared. The elitist class doesn't want to do this. That is why you are seeing a civil war in the GOP between the tea party and the establishment Bush/Rove wing.

"You also continue to misunderstand or misrepresent my example of wink and nod. We the people (not all of us but many of us) encouraged people to come"

We did not invite them. Just because you left your front door unlocked doesn't mean you invited people into your home. You are repeating the same argument without addressing what I said.

"We said, welcome in, in part by what WE did.'

Your are combining the government and the American people when you should separate them. The government is not listening to the people.

"Another misrepresentation is your continued appeal to speeding as the example. This is a law that mostly works."

How am I misrepresenting your position?

I accurately stated you are applying God's forgiveness to the immigration laws. They should not be sent home because God forgave us, therefore we should forgive them and not punish them for breaking the law. The logical end conclusion to that argument is because of God's forgiveness no one should be punished for breaking any societal laws.

Your rebuttal to this was to argue if the law doesn't work it's okay to break the law and God's forgiveness should be applied to this societal law..

I drove past several police cars going over the speed limmit and they didn't pull me over. Clearly, the police are not enforcing the speeding laws and welcoming me to drive faster.

Would it be permissible for me to argue because the police didn't pull me over several times, I was encouraged to speed, and when I get pulled over for speeding I should be able to argue the law doesn't work because they let me speed in the pst? God's forgives dictates I should not get a ticket.

Another example would be our tax laws. A good case can be made to show that our tax system doesn't work. Our tax laws don't work and give the government too much power. What happens to me if I didn't pay my taxes? I go to jail.
You are conflating laws that don't work with laws the government fails to enforce.

The premise of the argument is not biblical.The Bible clearly states we are to follow the law unless the law conflicts with the word of God.

"We do not have millions in line as speeders."

Yes we do. Have you ever contested a ticket? How much money do you think the state takes in each year from tickets? The difference is they enforce those laws.

 "Who has a 55 mile an hour speed limit on interstate highways in general anymore?"

Lots of places. That is the average speed limit the next state over from where I live.

"No, I said send people to the back of the line"

You don't want to send them back home. Therefore, you are not putting them in the back of the line. They cut in line. There are people waiting in line who are paying a huge chunk of change to come here and you want the people who cut in line to stay in the country. That is not going to the back of the line. That is getting preferential treatment over the people who played by the rules.

"Those who came and are coming legally get first dibs."

There are people who are paying an arm and a leg who haven't even immigrated here yet but the people who just walked in and didn't pay anything can stay? How can you say someone who is still paying to immigrate here is getting first dibs when the person who broke in is not being kicked out?

The person who is paying an arm and a leg should have just gone on vacation to Mexico and sneaked in too. That makes no sense. The person who isn't here is not getting first dibs when the person who broke in is allowed to stay. They are here and the person who played by the rules is not.

"You say there is no punishment, but there is. They will wait for some rights for a time (Some benefits are delayed). "

Waiting for a right that American citizens have isn't being punished. That doesn't make any sense either. They sneaked in and are not citizens but they are being punished by not getting rights that apply to all American citizens?

" What I wish for is a way to bring these people into the society in a way that ends the underground they live in. That does none of us any good."

In twenty years the same argument will be used again. They sneaked into this country. It does none of us any good to keep perpetuating the problem.

"To enforce the law, we have to have the collective will to do so and supply the means to do so."

First of all, you act as if everyone agrees on this issues. You then argue that because we don't collectively want to kick the illegal immigrants out we don't have the collective will to enforce the laws. This is essentially a straw-man.

Both of your contentions are false. We don't all agree on the issue and if you look at the statistics more people agree with my position then yours. This is a case of the people in power not listening to the American people.

About 60% of the American people were against Obamacare but they passed it any way. Amnesty for illegals is exact same type of issue. The ruling elites know better than the peasants, so they disregard the will of the people. If you remember correctly, the democrats got slaughtered in 2010 after forcing Obamacare on the American people.

"That is part of what we currently lack. That is not a tactic of the left."

The argument you are using is used by the left all the time.

"A clean start gives us a more realistic chance of enforcement IF we have the collective will to do it."

Processing 20 million people into the system does not give us a clean start. The processing fees alone will cost a fortune alone. We don't have the infrastructure to do that either. It will clog the system not clear it.  

You conceded the government is not enforcing the law. You then say the laws don't work because we don't have the collective will to support a domestic policy that kicks people out. You also argue we need more boarder security.

First of all, it logically follows that if we don't have the collective will to kick people out, since we are not enforcing the boarder, we must not have the collective will to enforce the boarder either. Your view dictates this problem will never be solved. People are just going to keep flooding in.

Secondly, even if we do a better job protecting the boarder, once illegal aliens break into the country they are here to stay.

Finally, You say we need two bills passed simultaneously. One for security and one for amnesty.You still have not answered what you would specifically do with the boarder or domestically. To me it seems like you are equivocating and arguing in circles.

We need more boarder security but we can't get rid of people once there are here and you won't articulate what you would specifically do with either boarder security or domestically. Your view of the collective will dictates we don't have the heart to enforce the boarder either. It sounds to me like you are essentially arguing for amnesty alone but you don't want to come out and say it.

Darrell L. Bock's picture

You have set up a catch 22.  Your denial even shows it because you say it cannot work. You say it is too expensive and will clog the system. Is border enforcement cheap? You say I have not said how we are to do this. I did say. Work to enforce the border. Once a certain date passes, enforce the laws. It will cost money intially, but it also will bring many citizens into a paying into the system place. That is what a reboot means. Integrate these folks and get a clean start internally. We can afford it and make it work. Having new citizens pay in will help. 

WE as a collective elect the politicians you complain about. You cannot separate your views from what is on the ground and what the people as a whole do with the mix of views we all have. You complain about Democrats and a large wing of Republicans in one part of the post and yet claim to reflect what a majority of people want. If that were true, the vote would be a slam dunk. We know it is not. If there was the collective will to move these folks in the way you suggest with the majority you claim, it would have been done. Voters would demand it, but they do not. Some do, but many do not. I never said all agree, what I said is that many, even most, know we have a double problem (You put words in my mouth and call it a straw man).

Those who do not agree with your approach sense the human problem we as a collective have contributed to (You deny it, but it is there for all to see in many ways. WE DO hire these folks, some parts of our society depend on such work [e.g., agriculture], we encouraged them to come). You say, just stop and fine them. Kick those who have come out. BUT we have not, did not, and do not. That is a reflection of collective practice I described in my last response. Now they have had children here who are citizens, in some cases for two generations. So we are several decades into a real problem you want simply to unwind back to the 1980's at great human cost.

Clearing the decks is not a matter of changing politicians but dealing with the fact the way we work now has been broken for so long that we have two problems to fix. It also means dealing with human situation as it is. There is an internal issue that is twenty plus years old to which we have contributed with the way we have failed to apply our laws and one that needs to deal with the future situation. Let's do both and mean it (You also put words in my mouth here, saying I only want amnesty). Actually I want a path to citizenship with a penalty (and have said so explaining how. That is not amnesty- that is your term for it). I also want border enforcement. Both means both. I have said so several times. Clear the decks internally. Allow those who are here to remain AND secure the border and mean it once we hit a certain date. I simply said not to link the two, so both issues risk not being treated. When even my repeated words do not count and explanations are twisted---that also is evidence of a catch 22.

This is not an easy situation. I respect your desire to have a border and make the law workable. The desire is to craft a response that deals with both ends of our problem. We are quite capable of welcoming these people. We have done it for decades. 

One final point: I think we probably have agreed to disagree on this. 

 

Sorry for the late response. I responded earlier but unfortunately the power cut out briefly and I lost everything I wrote. Perhaps Divine intervention?
"You have set up a catch 22."

I addressed this before and you are repeating the same accusation without addressing my response.  Your initial catch 22 was essentially accusing me of special pleading. Now you have made another catch 22 accusation.

Your first accusation of a catch 22 was regarding my response to your argument. I pointed out they aren't going to enforce the boarder or enforce anything domestically but I didn't apply the same objection to my argument. This is more of a special pleading objection than a catch 22.

My argument was about what we need to do, not whether the politicians would do it. You apparently believe that they will actually enforce the boarder. However, past history tells us they will not and there is nothing in the amnesty bill that indicates they will enforce the boarder. The bill states that if the boarder isn't secured after five years or so, they will form a committee. Also, there is nothing in the bill that would prevent DHS from simply declaring the boarder is secure with out doing one thing to secure it.

Your second accusation mixes several topics together. My position is we don't need amnesty. Nor should amnesty be tied to security. We need to solve the security problems. If we solve the security problems, we solve the immigration problem.

The politicians don't want to do this. We need to organize a grass roots movement that kicks the politicians out who will not enforce security and force the government to enforce the laws. That is not remotely close to a catch 22.

It becomes a catch 22 when you apply your contention that we need to grant the illegals amnesty who are here. You believe there is a "human problem" component to this. I do not share your opinion on this. Therefore, there is no catch 22.

You apparently believe we need to do something right now to solve the "human problem". Why? If you aren't going to solve the problem that is causing the "human problem," you are just perpetuating the the human problem.

On top of that your position is incoherent. If the collective can't bear to kick the people out of the country because we are not currently doing it, your logic chain dictates the collective can't bear to enforce the boarder.

How can you argue we will enforce the boarder when there is nothing in the bill to make sure they will do this and your own logic chain dictates collective doesn't want to enforce the boarder?

"Your denial even shows it because you say it cannot work. You say it is too expensive and will clog the system."

You are mixing several different points into one. My point on clogging the system was in response to your argument that granting amnesty would clear the system. Attempting to put 20 million new people into a system that can't handle it would clog it not clear it.

"Is border enforcement cheap? You say I have not said how we are to do this. I did say. Work to enforce the border. "

With all due respect, simply saying we need to work to enforce the boarder is a vague platitude. You are not giving any specific ideas. I am dumbfounded that you can argue I haven't said how what we should enforce the boarder and you have just because you said we need to work to enforce the boarder.

On top of that, you are ignoring the economic effect of this. You conceded that illegal aliens entering the country are largely low wage workers. The majority of them are on some kind of public assistance. The notion that they would be paying into the system is false. They are taking from the system. This is one of the problems that illegal aliens cause. Too many take from the system to the point where the system collapses.This will not change by granting them amnesty.

The system can not handle processing 20 million people. This will clog the system and cause it to be backed up. Thus, hurting the people who have been waiting in line to get here. They will have to wait much longer and the costs will go up for them because of the large amount of illegal aliens that are being processed. The illegals are also paying must less than the people waiting to enter into this country legally.

One condition that needs to be in place for legal immigrants is they can't come in here and immediately go on welfare. Only American citizens should be able to qualify for welfare. That means if you come in illegally you can't any welfare.This should already be in place.

I don't have a problem spending money on the right things. If they want to use drones on the boarder, build a wall, and hire more boarder agents, I don't have a problem with that. I have a problem with ostensibly importing poverty that will drain the system. If you want to come here legally you need to be able stand on your own two feet.   

"Once a certain date passes, enforce the laws. It will cost money intially, but it also will bring many citizens into a paying into the system place."

The amnesty bill doesn't do that. The bill states if they fail to enforce the boarder within 5 years or so they will form a committee. You have amnesty with out security. Again, they will not enforce the boarder. They only way they will enforce the boarder is with a grass roots movement coupled with kicking the elites out of office.

"That is what a reboot means. Integrate these folks and get a clean start internally. We can afford it and make it work."

Let the people who broke the law, cut in line, and did not pay stay here, while the people who are following the law are still stuck in their own country.

After that, we are going to process 20 million new people into the system which we don't have the infrastructure for and make the people who followed the rules wait ever longer. The politicians aren't going to do anything to enforce the boarder and we will be arguing about this again in 20 years. That is not a reboot.

"WE as a collective elect the politicians you complain about. "

We are not a "collectivist" country but a country of individuals. Collectivism applies to far left political ideologies. If 51% of the people elected a politician and 49% voted against the politician, you can't argue the collective supports a politician. You are not addressing my point.

" That is a reflection of collective practice"

You are using the term collective to give the illusion that more people support your position rather than mine. The exact opposite is true. If the collective supports it, why couldn't Bush pass amnesty? Why are they having such a hard time passing the current amnesty bill? If both sides of the political isle want to pass the bill and the people support it, it would have passed during the Bush administration and there shouldn't be a problem now.  

The answer is the politicians want to pass it but they don't have the support of their constituents.

"You complain about Democrats and a large wing of Republicans in one part of the post and yet claim to reflect what a majority of people want. If that were true, the vote would be a slam dunk"

That is not what I said at all. I said we elect politicians and the politicians don't follow the will of their constituents. That is why Marco Rubio and a few other politicians are in trouble. They ran as tea party candidates and jumped into bed with the establishment GOP.  Now they will probably face primary challengers.

Look at Syria.... About 60 to 80%% of the American people are against bombing the country. Before John Kerry's gaff, the administration was intent on bombing Syria and despite the current agreement, it looks as if they are still planning to attack Since the Obama administration wants to bomb Syria, does that mean the collective supports this? No!

The same thing is true with our immigration policy. People want the boarder sealed and the enforcement of domestic laws to deal with illegals. If what you said was correct about the collective supporting this, amnesty should easily pass.  That contention is not true.The politicians want it and the people don't. That is why it hasn't passed.

This is why President Bush couldn't get it passed and they are having problems with the current bill. It makes absolutely no sense to argue the collective supports this when the politicians are attempting to ram it threw and can't.

"Voters would demand it, but they do not. Some do, but many do not. I never said all agree, what I said is that many, even most, know we have a double problem"

Are voters demanding they pass an amnesty bill? Obviously not......... The polls show people agree with my position rather than yours. Again, if your argument is correct the bill should have passed a long time ago and they shouldn't have had a problem passing it.

Arizona passed laws to deal with all the problems that illegal immigration is causing in the state. The federal government refuses to enforce the laws. Arizona passed laws that allowed them to enforce the laws. The notion that voters don't want it is false. How do you explain the voters in Arizona?  

"who do not agree with your approach sense the human problem.......kick those who have come out. BUT we have not, did not, and do not. That is a reflection of collective practice I described in my last response. "

This argument is incoherent. If we as a "collective" don't want to kick any one out of the country because we haven't done it yet, we as a collective don't want to enforce the boarder. Yet, after stating that argument you say we need to enforce the boarder. You can't have it both ways.

If the collectives doesn't want either boarder security or to enforce domestic immigration laws, we are a country without boarders..... The collective doesn't want it.

Even if we over look the incoherent nature of the argument, your position dictates we can never have domestic laws that enforce the boarder. As long as you make it past the boarder you are ostensibly an American citizen.

Let us stipulate that after a certian date we start kicking the new illegal aliens out. The problem is according to you the collective can't bear to do this. That argument doesn't work either.   

"Clearing the decks is not a matter of changing politicians"

The reality is the current crop of politician are not going to enforce the boarder. Until that changes nothing is going to happen in that department.

"we work now has been broken for so long that we have two problems"

We have one problem. People are breaking in and staying. That needs to stop. We need them to stop breaking in and they don't get to say after they broke in. That is the problem.

". Actually I want a path to citizenship with a penalty (and have said so explaining how. That is not amnesty- that is your term for it). I also want border enforcement. Both means both. I have said so several times. "

I responded to that point. You believe not getting the full rights and benefits of being an American citizen right away is punishment. If that is the case why are the people who are waiting in line to get here receiving more punished than the people who broke in?

How can you argue illegal aliens who are not citizens are being punished by not getting the full rights of American citizenship?

"Those who do not agree with your approach sense the human problem we as a collective have contributed to (You deny it, but it is there for all to see in many ways. WE DO hire these folks, some parts of our society depend on such work [e.g., agriculture], we encouraged them to come)."

You are using the same argument and you are ignoring my response. If the door to your house is not locked and someone walks into your house, did you invite them in?

" Let's do both and mean it (You also put words in my mouth here, saying I only want amnesty)."

You have offered no argument to support your position that they will actually enforce the boarder. The only thing about boarder security you have offered is to say we need to work to doing a better job. You also indicated that you don't have a problem if amnesty passes and boarder security ends up  failing. The end result of your position is we grant 20 million people amnesty and 10 to 20 years from now, we repeat the same process.
Also, the government and politicians are showing they are totally incompetent on this issue. The government recently released 3000 illegal alien sex offenders. Harry Reid used a Muslim woman who is an illegal alien to construct a straw-man sob story. 
He said she graduated from college and just wants to move on with her life. The problem is it turned out she is an an America hating antisemitic radical.This level of incompetence gets people killed. The recent Boston bombings are an example of this. The Russians warned us about the terrorists brothers.  One brother was pinged for traveling to Russia.

With this level of incompetence it is not a stretch to deduce that illegal Muslim radicals could be granted citizenship and would get the foll protection of the Constitution after committing a terrorist act. The other possibility is we know there is an imminent threat but the terrorists have been granted citizenship

". Allow those who are here to remain AND secure the border and mean it once we hit a certain date. "

The current bill does not do that.

"When even my repeated words do not count and explanations are twisted"

How have I twisted your words? If you argue the collective doesn't want to kick people out of this country who came here illegally and I point out your logical chain dictates the same must apply to the boarder, that isn't putting words in your mouth. That is stating 1+1= 2.

If I ask you several times what specifically you would do to make sure the boarder is enforced and your answer amounts to a vague platitude that doesn't give anything specific, what am I supposed to deduce from that?

"One final point: I think we probably have agreed to disagree on this."

I don't have a problem with disagreeing, if you can give a reasoned and a rational defense for your position. You are mainly repeating talking points. Your position is inconsistent and incoherent.  

You can't say you want to solve the problem and be against kicking people out of the country who came here illegally. You can't say you want to punish illegal aliens and put them at the back of the line when your punishment is making them wait for citizenship and they get to stay, while the people who played by the rules at sitting back in their own country. That isn't punishment or being put at the back of the line. That is a talking point the politicians who want to pass this bill are using.

Finally, this isn't a Christian issue. Your position to make this a christian issue was also incoherent. First it was God forgave us, therefore, we should forgive the illegals by granting them amnesty. Then it was we should apply God's forgiveness and not punish people for laws that don't work.  The logic chain you were using dictates if I can make a case for a law not working, I shouldn't be punished. That is not Biblical.

If you wrote on your blog the Coptic Christians who are currently being persecuted in Egypt  should be granted political asylum, I would agree with you. That is a Christian and human issue.

Illegal immigration is an entirely different issue that is 100% political. You are repeating talking points.If you fall under the liberal side of the political spectrum state that up front. You either haven't thought about the issue or you are disingenuously attempting sell the issue to Christians. I don't want to believe the latter.

Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's..........

Darrell L. Bock's picture

 

Nothing incoherent here and no talking points. The catch 22 is the claim you make that we will not enforce the border but that is the only key to what you want. When I say it, it does not count, when you do, it does. Not sure I get how that works. I also want to enforce the border (Please note how to spell this), but I also want to deal with the real human problem of the 11 million or so who are here and have been here, many for quite a long time. You never really explained how you would deal with them. Remove them all is not a real solution. That is the solution I think most have shown they do not agree with.

A reboot is exactly what it means. Assimilate those who are here now. But also get serious about enforcement. Do both, but do not link them.

As for the term collective, all it means is a corporate response, the response of the group as a whole. That can be seen in the actions or lack of action we as a group take and have taken and how the government responds as well. Yiu can try to label it as liberal or ideological to get rid of the concept and how it plays in, but it is a perfectly clear sociological phenomenon that even your complaining about some politicians actually recognizes is there.  

Now let's talk coherence. We have 2 political parties reflecting the views of our citizens, the collective or corporate will. Yes, sometimes they do go agains the majority, but if they do so callously on a point people care about they lose office (if enough people do object or care enough). All of one of those parties and a large group of the second support some type of immigration reform (some of those you complain about like Rubio). You claim you have the majority. but for some reason that majority cannot elect a functioning legislative majority that is persuaded you are right about this issue (for whatever reasons). If I look at those numbers then at best we are quite divided on this as a nation (this is actually where I think we are as a whole people as opposed to leaning one way or the other with a strong majority) and at worst (from your perspective) you have the minority position. Yet you claim a high level of support. I still submit, if the people were aligned as you suggest as passionately and insistantly as you suggest, then we would not be discussing this as we are. So mine is a perfectly coherent position on where we are politically. You may not like it and may rail against Rubio, but just maybe he and many others see the real on the ground dilemma we do have currently. Arizona is one state and a very conservative one. It hardly reflects large parts of the country. So this appeal to Arizona is a generalization that overreaches about where the country as a whole is. I do see that you claim what it shows is how the federal government has overturned the will of people in Arizona, but that in part is because immigration is a federal issue, not a state issue in terms of how we have handled it. Each state does not get to do what it wants in this area or we would have chaos. Only a nationally coherent policy can work.

Now I get how you can be confused on my view that we have not enforced the border (and that has not worked-- on this we agree, although we may differ as to why), but now I want it to work. What might bring the reversal? The answer is that by rebooting and dealing with both problems we renew and create the space and moral will also to get serious about border enforcement. (By the way, my point here is really no different than the position you find yourself in with your view. If we have not done it, then what will make us do it in the future applies to both of us.) If we want to comprehensively solve this issue, then my view is we must work with two issues, the issue of those already in the country and the one about future entry. If you say my view will not work because we will not enforce the border. Then I can say to you why do you think your singular focus approach will work. That is a perfectly fair question. My claim of catch 22 is your claim that I cannot appeal to border enforcement but you can.

 

Another incoherence on your part is that if we solve the security problem we solve the problem. No, we do not. We only get at half the issue. We have 11 million people or so already here and many have been here for quite some time. Many of their children and some grandchildren are US citizens.  Many hold jobs (and have been encouraged to do so by various groups here who hired and protected them). You say to solve the problem by assimilating them (what you call amnesty) will clog the system. Hardly. Many of them function here and draw on services already. So why not have them be citizens and pay in as most of us do? Many of these people actually do grow and advance as they are here. That is what assimilation can bring. They will pay in. 

 

I did not ignore your locked door argument. I said it oversimplifies what took place. I noted some of us invited and encouraged people to come by how we hired them. I used the picture of some of us opening the door and saying, come in. Your example ignores the complexity of what took place--and for how long-- and the complicity some of us in the country had in helping to bring it to pass. This is yet another coherent part of the argument I made about corporate behavior. You simply choose to ignore it. and act as if that did not take place. It simplifies your argument but again does not acknowledge part of how we got here.

 

Here is where we disagree. Your solution is to kick them all out, the best I can tell and do everyhting we can to enforce the border. I said and say that is like going back to 1948 in the Middle East. That is not practical given the tangled web we now have. There is nothing incoherent in that observation. It deals with the human condition on thre ground and says forgiveness can get us out of the web we are in. 

 

As for my case on the Christian side of things, here you put words in my mouth again by oversimpifying my argument. I said our current laws are not working and need fixing. You always reduce the factors in play as if our immigration situation is only about the law we have.  I noted we had a complex situation. I recognized people did break this law. You said my view was that we should not punish those  who break our laws. (That is your spin on what I said). What I said was that we should forgive them in this case. They did wrong but given where we are and how we contributed, we should forgive them, just as God forgives me for my failures (sin). I do not fix them and I do not pay for what I did wrong. God took the hit for me. He was gracious. That was the entire Christian premise I said we could consider applying.  Do I get better than I deserve with salvation? Yes. Would these people if we do this? Yes. I am saying I can live with that. In part because I do want fresh enforcement on the other side that will continue to argue for a rule of law. And it might help to extract us from our current dilemma.

 

In part I was arguing and still do that our part in helping to create the situation and given how long it has gone and how deep it has gone should make us think about seeing we helped to create the situation (I am not saying you personally did this, but we as a corprate group). So we should be gracious about helping to fix it (This is a sitiuation you actually acknowledge when you complain about how some do not get it right in your view by what they have allowed). The world and this problem are messy. It is more complex than the ways you oversimplify the problem. That is no talking point. That is part of the reality that got us here. There is nothing disingenuous or liberal in this argument. It is a very sincere attempt to see all the factors at play and appeal for grace as well as an enforcement that can help extract us from where we are with the hope that we may not return.

Gentlemen, many thanks for an excellent discussion on the Biblical principles, the human element and inherent complexities of our U.S. immigration problem.  May I offer these (hopefully helpful) observations:
 
Dr. Bock
1)  I greatly appreciate your consistent appeal to consideration of the human cost of a large scale deportment or "self-deportment."  I agree with you that breaking up generations of families in this manner would be both cruel and impractical.
2)  However, in my opinion, part of your "reboot" solution to just send people to the "back of the line" is the same type of unbiblical pragmatism that got us in this mess in the first place and will do exactly what VanillaGorilla argues--encourage future illegal immigration.  You do not really address that point well in your dialogue with VanillaGorilla.
 I have had the privilege of being involved in Christian ministry in the countries of France and India.  I do not hate, and in some ways very much admire, Hispanics, I have worked with, done business with etc...   I have not been a "sheltered American" who has had  no dealings with people in other parts of the world.
Consider the following true immigration stories:
I have two friends that have immigrated to the states in the last 20 years.  One from Venezuela (to escape a real threat from Chavez) and one from India.  I asked them individually what they thought about the U.S. immigration system and our illegal immigrant problem.  Both of them were very grateful (and gracious) to be living in this great country, but both of them made a comment about how perhaps the "Mexicans" were smarter than they were in how they came.  I saw both of them have plenty of hassles becoming citizens doing it the right way.  It is patently unfair to these Christian brothers and millions of other legal immigrants to give people who broke and ignored our laws the slap on the wrist to just "go to the end of the line."  They should pay fines, pay taxes, not qualify for the Earned Income Credit and Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, etc.. should all be totally unavailable until they have earned the right to citizenship--which should be longer than those who did it the right way.  VanillaGorilla is on target when he points out that the left (especially in places like California) want to grant blanket amnesty (and lots of government assistance) for political gain.
Also Prof, I don't think it is your intent, but you seem to imply that the only way to exercise true forgiveness is to, by and large, let illegals off the hook.  I propose that  letting them stay when they justly should be deported is the forgiveness we should extend.  
Our making it much more difficult for them to become citizens, along with stiff fines going forward for businesses/individuals who hire illegals, upholds just law and strongly discourages the "revolving door" we have now.  These steps would likely have a greater effect on illegal immigration than any laws to strengthen border security (although I think both are needed to truly solve the problem)
VanillaGorilla
1) Sorry Prof, but I give the logical/consistency edge in this discussion to VanillaGorilla.  I agree with him that the "clean reset" that you appear to want in this situation is more akin to license, not the "grace and truth" balance we're told to have.
2)  Vanilla I greatly admire the tenacity of your arguments for us to do what is right and fair.  However, I agree with the Prof that  the"hard nosed" edge you convey in your arguments seem to be too close to a type of religious legalism, that too easily discounts the human cost, that Jesus denounced.
3) Also Vanilla, maybe I'm a optimist, but I believe the 'tough road" I have proposed for illegals will not result in any immediate political gain for the left and the years of hard work with no government benefits will make at least half of them republicans!
Grace and Peace to You My Brothers!

Darrell L. Bock's picture

Helpful suggestions I think. As long as the fines are realistic in moving toward assimilation and not simply continuing the stalemate we are in, then that could be a very helpful move. 

 

Remember part of the premise is how we contributed to our own problem. The onus is not all on those who entered the country. So the "fix" and penalties need to be able to work and recognize our contribution to the situation.

 

My only caveat to your summary is that forgiveness that merely let's them stay does not solve the longer term issue, which is to get them participating and contributing by getting them assimilated.  Forgiveness that says we will not deport you but then does not move to actually bring them into our process is not really a long term solution with (if I understand your point here). I am very open to how that gets done (including some forms of sanction for how entry was obtained) as long as it is not linked to following border control, which will delay the process of getting to a balanced point. The key part of my suggestion was to decouple border control and assimilation by dealing with both problems at once.  

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