Citizenship?

The United States has been debating how to handle the estimated 12-20 million illegal aliens living in the country. Unlike many political issues, this one doesn’t easily fall along party or political lines.

Democrats, although mostly supporting a path to citizenship, have members who wish to evict the illegals. Republicans, the most divided of the parties, have members who back the path to citizenship and others who don’t.  Christians are also divided. The Catholic Church and main-line protestant denominations appeal to the Scriptural mandate “not to oppress the sojourner in your midst.” They see the issue as a humanitarian one. Other Christians (although you really don’t hear from them) believe the sojourner argument is a red herring. The Old Testament society didn’t have a welfare system, public schools or access to Emergency medical care.

The topic becomes more complicated when people realize how much the issue relates to money. Big business and large farms want cheap labor to handle many menial and dangerous jobs that they claim American’s don’t or won’t do. Many in America seem to be convinced by that argument. It would appear that Bobbit’s contention, in his excellent but long book The Shield of Achilles, that we are now moving away from the Nation-state into a time of the Market-state is true.  A Market-state is his term to designate a country whose existence is grounded on the thesis that its primary purpose is for people to make money. In contrast, a Nation-state’s pupose was to protect national interests and identity and culture.

Since America is clearly moving toward a Market-state model, I have some questions for the reader to consider.

1. If citizens won’t do menial jobs, how will helping illegal aliens gain citizenship help fill the jobs? Isn’t a primary reason why illegals fill menial jobs because they can’t get other jobs? Will they really fill them after they become legal?

2. Why doesn’t the U.S. use prisoners to do these menial jobs?

3. Why won’t the U.S. allow market forces to determine job salaries? Wouldn’t people take the jobs if the salary and benefits reached the right level?

4. What does giving a path to citizenship to illegal aliens do to the morale of all the people who sought to enter the country legally?

5. Could it be that many American’s (most notably Lou Dobbs of CNN) doubt the value of comprehensive immigration reform touted by President Bush because they don’t believe that the government will actually enforce the provisions of the law? After all, the government isn’t enforcing immigration law now why should American’s expect that the government will get serious after the law is enacted?

6. Since illegals are already reputed to be able to obtain social security, welfare benefits, and even in-state resident rates for state colleges, what is the value of being a citizen again? Is it that the citizen has the right to pay taxes?

7. If Churches think that all these services should be provided to illegals at tax payer expense, why don’t they offer free tuition at their parochial and private schools to illegal aliens and their children?

8. How can churches support people who willingly and purposefully break the law? Does God command Christians to enter the U.S. illegally as a way to fulfill His commandments? (Compare this question with a Christianity Today article of several months ago). Wonderful place to help me write an essay to buy seminary article.

There are many more questions that could be raised. The questions aren’t easy. You are dealing with people’s lives, and the children who had no say in the choices their parents made.  Just remember, to ask, who is footing the bill and who benefits whenever these sorts of issues come up. It is always easy to be generous with other people’s money.

  1. A good emotive subject… I haven’t got a lot of time a present to come up with a well rounded response and I don’t know that much about the details of your political scene, so I will avoid commenting on things I have no information on, but I have a few initial observations:

    1. Will they really fill them after they become legal? – I would suggest that they might, but only for a short time;

    2. Prisoners and menial jobs – this is one of those arguments that pops up over here in the UK at times – just imagine the logistics, the security and the cost. It might have worked in the days of the chain gang but now?

    3. If market forces were allowed to reign would menial jobs become highly paid and attractive? I don’t know for sure, but I guess there would be some effect, but past a certain point, the people in the next salary bracket would be insistent in maintaining a “reasonable” pay differential;

    4. What does giving a path to citizenship to illegal aliens do to the morale of all the people who sought to enter the country legally? – I guess it may annoy them for a while, but don’t see a long term problem here, do you?

    5. Does God command Christians to enter the U.S. illegally? – This seems a little unlikely; but then God does all sorts of things…..

    6. Other people’s money – I agree that churches or Christian groups can often appear hypocritical when it comes to other people’s money, though when it is tax revenue other arguments come in.
    I guess the reality of hypocrisy, or lack thereof, has to be measured by what each individual or group is doing themselves i.e. if I campaign for illegals to be given help with housing, but don’t want them next door, and would rather they went to other schools and let other churches deal with their spiritual needs I might just be a hypocrite. But if I campaign for illegals to be given help with housing, and in the mean time invite some into my home, organise help from within the Church offer spiritual, physical support and get alongside them, maybe not.

  2. Interesting.
    I would just add a few things.
    First, logistics aren’t that hard for using prisoners on farms. U.S. farms tend to be huge. The workers would have to hijack a truck to get out. Also, this would be done with non-violent and/or low risk offenders. (Murder one criminals and the incorrigible wouldn’t be on the gang) In the U.S. we have lots of people in jail for theft and drug use. People that often shouldn’t be in jail if we had the ability to use corporal punishment. But certainly for other areas, your point is well taken.
    That god requires all sorts of things is true. But the question was specific. Does he require illegal immigation? Chapter and verse?
    Your hypocrisy argument is quite sage.

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