Deadly Immigration Rhetoric
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A virtual encyclopedia of immigration rhetoric featuring four Bible verses was published last week by the Executive Director of ProFamily Legislative Network. None of the verses are actually about immigration, but are about obeying human laws. The article is a collection of familiar arguments for not “taking in the stranger”, as Matthew 25:39-46 puts it, all in just over 500 words. This is a rebuttal of that rhetoric.
The title: “How Stopping Illegal Immigration Is a Pro-Life Issue”. Ironically, the argument is for keeping out refugees fleeing countries with the world’s highest murder rates, a policy responsible for the deaths of hundreds whom we deport who are murdered shortly after they arrive home. This is the same kind of rhetoric that turned back German Jewish refugees in the late 1930s, denied asylum status to Haitians fleeing the Duvalier dictatorship, and opposed the asylum claims of Salvadorans fleeing political violence in the 1980s. The rhetoric is deadly.
Its authoress is Audrea Decker, Executive Director of ProFamily Legislative Network, an arm of Wallbuilders which was founded by David Barton, whose history lessons have been very influential among conservative Republicans. Including me. Barton’s history lessons are inspiring and important and have profoundly shaped my own activism. Unfortunately Barton does not approach immigration historically, that I have found. He does not compare modern immigration policy with our Founders’ policies which gave our ancestors a century of zero quotas on how many could come here legally – in fact the quotas of King James was complaint #7 in the Declaration of Independence.
(The end of that era is described in Encyclopedia Britannica: “Chinese Exclusion Act. The passage of the act represented the outcome of years of racial hostility and anti-immigrant agitation by white Americans, set the precedent for later restrictions against immigration of other nationalities, and started a new era in which the United States changed from a country that welcomed almost all immigrants to a gatekeeping one.”)
I appreciate citations of Scripture. Seldom does any Bible study about immigration cite more than half a dozen verses, even though 211 times, God wrote about “strangers” and the “stranger”, according to the King James Version. I briefly review most of them here, and more thoroughly review a dozen of them in the Stranger Project.
I believe Scripture supports a win-win solution that is the greatest blessing for both citizens and immigrants – the kind of solution God would think of. Something that restores border security, eliminates the undocumented population, reduces reliance on “government services”, creates better jobs for citizens, strengthens the Rule of Law, keeps out terrorists, encourages “assimilation”, maintains the dominance of English, reduces the USCIS workload, doesn’t generate unsustainable population growth, is based on solid research, and treats immigrants the way we would want to be treated – as Jesus’ “brothers”, as He called them in Matthew 25.
Audrea’s complete article follows, indented, with my response interleaved.
(Audrea:) In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul exhorts:
“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves” (Romans 13:1-2 NASB).
The majority of Christians understand that following all laws that do not expressly violate God’s laws—including immigration law—is a God-given duty.
But the question before “we the people” is not whether other people should obey the laws we impose on them, but whether our laws are godly. In America, we voters are the ultimate authority. The lawmakers we elect are helpless to pass laws which “we the people” oppose.
I know it is no new teaching, that a law has to “expressly” (explicitly) command us to disobey God before we may in good conscience disobey it, but that requires a legalistically narrow application of God’s principles. By that theory, legal abortion is OK because the Bible does not explicitly mention abortion. Sex change operations must be OK by the same standard.
God’s laws need to be interpreted as general principles, which God designed to apply wherever they fit. That’s what makes it possible for God’s laws to fit in a scant 1200 pages, while man’s laws fill entire buildings, far beyond the ability of any human to read, even if they did not change every year. (For example, God simply says “thou shalt not steal”. By contrast, in 1995 the Iowa Legislature considered a bill that would have added milk boxes to the list of six categories of containers which cannot be legally stolen.)
As for Romans 13:1-2, notice that “higher authorities” is plural. This limits Paul’s teaching to cases where lower and higher authorities agree. When there is a conflict between local and federal law, or between human and heavenly authority, it is the highest authority that Romans 13, with Acts 5:29, calls us to obey.
Nevertheless, the Bible is a lot more explicit about immigration than it is about abortion. About a dozen verses are cited by prolifers, none of which explicitly discuss abortion. By contrast, 211 times the Bible talks about “strangers”, most of whose contexts treat the word as meaning “immigrant”.
Matthew 25:39-46 even warns of Hell when we do not “take in” the “stranger”. Explicitly. I can’t follow the tortured reasoning of those who say this principle of God doesn’t apply to the immigrants we don’t want, or that only Jews have to obey it. (People say it doesn’t mean “illegal immigrants”. Of course the only reason they are “illegal” is because we don’t want them, so we pass laws against us taking them in.)
This is especially true when there are legal avenues of applying for asylum—particularly for those facing religious persecution (Acts 5:29). Hence, illegal immigration wrongly “resists authority” (Romans 13:2).
This shows the ignorance of the author of the fact that virtually nobody comes illegally, who is allowed to come legally. Immigrants don’t want to come illegally any more than we want them to, but when we won’t let them come legally many choose to come to people who hate them rather than remain with people who will kill them.
We tell them "Get in Line like Everybody Else" but the average wait time for a Mexican high school graduate to come legally is 130 years. Sure, there are 100 visas for virtually every situation of need, but they all have quotas – numerical limitations – which permit only a tiny fraction to come of those whose lives depend on it. Under Trump the quota for refugees from all over the world has dropped to 22,000.
"Law" Redefined to Mean its Opposite
Laws are to be uniform and applied equally to all. To choose to uphold some laws but ignore others (such as border laws) sends the message that laws do not apply to everyone. As Samuel Adams affirmed: “There shall be one rule of justice for rich and poor—for the favorite in [the royal] court and the countryman at the plow.”
“Doublespeak” is the term created in George Orwell’s novel, “1984”, to describe the unannounced redefinition of familiar words so that their audience thinks you support their freedom while you are actually luring them into slavery. It would appear Audrea thinks “laws” which do not apply to citizens but only to immigrants, depriving only immigrants of their fundamental right to liberty, must have wholehearted Christian support, so that everyone else will believe that our laws “apply to everyone”.
Did you follow that? Should I repeat it? She shudders at “the message that laws do not apply to everyone”; conversely, she wants a “message that laws...apply to everyone”, a message she believes will be “sent” by full Christian support for laws denying liberty which do not apply to citizens but only to immigrants.
She quotes Samuel Adams as if she thinks Adams supports her doublespeak. But Adams, along with other Founding Fathers of America, understood the very word “law” to mean restrictions that are equal in their operation on everyone. Lawmakers were not exempt from its restrictions, nor was the slave deprived of its benefits, to the extent the acts of lawmakers deserved the name “law”.
This was not a new idea invented by America. God thought of it first. Exodus 12:49 gave immigrants the same right as natural born citizens, upon meeting the same qualification, and orders that “One [the same] law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger [immigrant] that sojourneth among you.”
Our 14th Amendment likewise requires “equal protection of the laws” for everyone who is under the “jurisdiction” of our laws. The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 to close the loophole in the 13th Amendment of 1866, which outlawed slavery “except as a punishment for crime”. Clever Southerners had simply passed laws which made it a crime to do various things which people have to do to live, which applied only to blacks! So the 14th Amendment restored the concept of laws that apply equally to everybody.
My “Deportation Brief”, offered for the use of immigration lawyers, challenges the constitutionality of immigration quotas which limit liberty and apply only to undocumented immigrants, who are just as much under the jurisdiction of our laws as citizens. Would you justify a quota on how many citizens get to speak freely, or choose their religion? Will you justify a quota on how many immigrants may enjoy liberty? Is God just to treat you as mercifully as you treat others? Matthew 6:14-15, Luke 6:38.
Do undocumented immigrants have the same rights as citizens? Of course not. Let Samuel Adams be the judge. A “law” that gives some people only a fraction of the rights that the “law”gives others, does not fit the definition of “law” used by America’s Founders.
The natural exception is when people aren’t qualified to exercise a given right. Children can’t drive. Historians can’t do brain surgery. But children can grow up and qualify. Historians can go to medical school and qualify. Thus American law treats everyone equally, in giving everyone equal opportunity, upon meeting certain qualifications.
Except for immigrants and unborn babies. Do our immigration laws give immigrants the same rights as citizens, upon meeting the same qualifications which citizens meet? Of course not. An immigrant can earn a Ph.D. in an American university with a masters in English and not “qualify” to live or work here, much less apply for citizenship and vote, thanks to our arbitrary quotas.
Immigration rhetoric is so convoluted that even “jurisdiction” has a new Doublespeak definition about whether you are loyal to our country as judged by people who don’t want you here. But the dictionary definition, the definition in law, is that if police can arrest you for violating a law, that law has “jurisdiction” over you. Our “laws” definitely have jurisdiction over all immigrants.
We Republicans are rightly disgusted and alarmed by areas of the United States where the jurisdiction of Sharia Law competes with U.S. law, subjecting women and children to horrific abuses. We should be equally concerned when immigration laws empowered by our own votes subject a class of human beings to lawless fear and terror. This is not “one law” for us as well as for the “stranger”.
Quotas, for these reasons, violate the 14th Amendment, as well as God’s principles for our own happiness. .
America is in danger of going the way of so many nations before it who brought confusion on themselves by enforcing certain values and laws while ignoring others merely for political expediency. Yet what is now going on in America is not a new or unique problem. Long ago, C.S. Lewis acknowledged:
“Such lopsided ethical developments are not uncommon, and other ages too have had their pet virtues and curious insensibilities.”
Today, far too many are using their “pet virtues and curious insensibilities” as the basis of which laws should be obeyed or ignored. This leads to illogical and inconsistent policies.
Stop the Dangerous Caravans so they will go back to their Nice Safe Homes?
For example, it is ironic that many who are decrying the alleged mistreatment of migrants at the US border are ignoring the significant fact that 70% of the migrants who arrive here became victims of violence during the caravan to reach the border. In fact, 1 in 3 women have been sexually assaulted by other migrants traveling with them.
So this generous, compassionate author would solve the problem, not by sending help to rescue them and bring them to safety faster, but by never letting them find safety from countries full of violence and starvation? I hope this author will never love ME that much! Do you think immigrants don’t know about those caravans before they join them? They have cell phones given them by family here. They know. Why do you think they accept that risk? Obviously, because the risk is greater where they came from, as one of Audrea’s own footnotes documents. (#4, discussed below.)
At least I agree with Audrea that immigration policy is poisoned by “political expediency” and a want of logic.
Open borders draw far too many with the wrong type of character; open borders are a magnet for those who exploit women and others. As Vice President Pence affirmed: “There’s nothing compassionate about open borders.”
“Open borders” is a phrase designed to misrepresent. It implies letting anyone come without background checks, a position I have not heard that anyone wants (except for an absolutist Quaker that I once met). Allowing everyone to come who just wants to work hard and doesn’t want to kill us will actually make us safer and the border more secure, because workers will no longer want to come illegally, at great risk, if we let them come through the legal checkpoints where we can vet them thoroughly. That will leave only thousands, rather than millions, coming between the legal checkpoints, exposing them, leaving them much easier to find and catch.
(Pence:) “There’s nothing compassionate about refusing to change the laws that human traffickers use to take advantage of poor families. Those who would advocate open borders, free healthcare for illegal immigrants, and making illegal immigration legal are making it easier for human traffickers to mistreat poor and vulnerable families. That is morally wrong, and that has got to stop!”
“Free health care”: The notion that the real draw for people fleeing rape, torture, and murder from Communist drug gangs (which are the subject of many Voice of the Martyrs reports) is free health care seems a desperate excuse to not “take in” the stranger.
I interviewed some Somalian leaders, asking them, “Suppose immigration law allowed your families in Somalia to join you, on the condition that they would receive no welfare, but you would take care of them until they could take care of themselves: would you want that?” They said absolutely, let our families come: we will take care of them. We can solve immigration by getting rid of welfare for refugees, and getting rid of quotas for refugees. Refugees don’t need our welfare, and they can’t survive our quotas.
One thing making it “easier for human traffickers to mistreat poor and vulnerable families” is that evidence of personal danger, such as having witnessed the rape or murder of a family member, or having been assaulted yourself, is not enough reason to be approved as a refugee or asylee. In fact, the article linked at footnote 4 of this article notes that under Trump, “legitimate grounds for asylum” no longer include “gang violence and domestic violence”. That is, unless it is your politics, or religion, or race, etc that has made you their target.
Not only have refugee or asylum laws never helped victims of mere starvation or terror, but even for political or religious targets, the quotas have dropped from 200,000 in 1980 to 110,000 under Obama to 22,000 under Trump. Here are some totals, country by desperate country.
“Making illegal immigration legal” is more doublespeak. Passing good laws, and repealing bad laws, is what lawmakers are supposed to do. Immigration quotas are like a 5 mph limit on a freeway. It turns most drivers into lawbreakers. Raising the speed limit to 65 would “make illegal driving legal”. That would be a good thing.
Similar doublespeak came to me in a July 25 email from ConservativeIntel.com, which passed along a solicitation from Cornyn For Senate. It said liberals “advocate to completely decriminalize the act of crossing the border illegally.” Do you get it? After a legislature decriminalizes something, it’s not illegal any more, is it?
I even wrote and recorded a song about this doublespeak. “Amnesty” is the word redefined to now mean something like “making illegal immigration legal”. My song: “Please Define Amnesty”. To the tune of “All Of Me”.
How would raising the quota limit make it “easier for human traffickers”? It would put human traffickers out of business, because if we allowed slaves, as Andrea calls them next, to escape slavery to us, we could easily provide safe transportation for less than human traffickers charge.
I pray Vice President Pence never has that much “compassion” for me.
God still says to us today, Deuteronomy 23:15 “Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: 16 He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress [Hebrew: תוננו׃ yawnaw] him.” For a Bible study showing “yawnaw” should be translated “you shall not deport him”, because the Hebrew word refers, in every context associated with it, to “involuntary removal”, see [www.Saltshaker.US/HispanicHope/Ye-shall-not-vex-a-stranger.htm Ye Shall Not Vex a Stranger].
Stop Immigration, Stop Slavery, Save Lives?!
Nearly 20,000 slaves are trafficked into America every year, of whom about 80% are forced into sex slavery. The silence from the #MeToo movement about this danger lurking at the border is deafening.
Stopping illegal immigration is a pro-life issue. Until borders are controlled and criminal cartels held accountable, women and children will continue to be victimized on the altar of “humanitarianism.” The violence they allegedly flee may pale in comparison to the horrors they actually experience in their journey to the land of the free, and then the abuse they experience after they arrive here.
The violence they allegedly flee? How can anyone writing about Scripture, and about compassion, suffer such willful ignorance of such easily documented facts, in order to justify not “taking in the stranger”, which Jesus said risks Hell?
Especially when such documented facts are in one of the articles linked in the footnotes of Audrea’s article! Her own Footnote 4 links to a Doctors Without Borders article which criticizes the very kind of manipulation of statistics that sustain Audrea’s theories. It also specifically explains that the dangers of the trip North are less than the dangers of staying home. It says:
“One-third of the women surveyed and 17 percent of the men reported “sexual abuse” while in transit. (To be clear, for the narrower category of rape and other forms of sexual violence, 10.7 percent of women and 4.4 percent of men surveyed were affected during their transit through Mexico. Patients reported that the perpetrators of violence included members of gangs and other criminal organizations, as well as members of the Mexican security forces responsible for their protection.) When citing our figures, Administration officials generally do not mention that almost 40 percent of patients surveyed said that they fled their countries due to violence, and that close to 44 percent of them had experienced the murder of a family member over the prior two years. Many of our patients along the migration routes through Mexico are refugees with a reasonable fear of death or violence if sent back to their countries.”
As Christians, we must not sit idly by as others weaponize out-of-context “Christian compassion” for their own political gains. The Bible is clear: “Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities—to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed” (Titus 3:1 NASB).
1 Peter 2:13-16 instructs similarly. There, a review of the Greek words in v. 13 supports the interpretation that it is not every last little oppressive Law From Hell that we are supposed to “arrange ourselves under”, but the vision of righteous authority created by God.
(῾Υποτάγητε, KJV “submit”, means “arrange yourselves under”. πάσῃ ἀνθρωπίνῃ κτίσει KJV “to every ordinance of man”, literally means “to every original formation (pattern, institution) to man”. διὰ τὸν Κύριον·, KJV “for the Lord’s sake”, literally means “caused by the Lord”. In other words, organize your relationships according to God’s ideals for human relationships. Not according to a tyrant’s perversion of his authority.)
The whole letter of Peter addresses in this way not just the government/citizen relationship, but then the employer/employee relationship, 2:18, the husband/wife relationship, chapter 3, pastor/congregation relationship, 5:1-5, and finally, the “subjection” that all of us owe to each other, 5:5. God does not empower misuse of authority at any level, but calls us to heal its misuse.
This understanding is a lot more consistent with the behavior of Jesus and of all God’s Bible heroes. To the extent a ruler functions righteously, we obey gratefully. To the extent he does not, we witness to him, hoping to correct him, accepting, in love, the risk to our lives.
A simplistic, legalistic reduction of these passages to blind, slavish obedience to tyrants was rejected, fortunately, by America’s founders, and must be rejected today, and quickly, to save America from blind obedience to the Mark of the Beast. Because it is Bible believing conservative Republican Christians who are voting most to fast-track Mark of the Beast technology – at this point, E-verify and the RealID license, in order to keep from “taking in the stranger”. See my video.
Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.
 Hartig, H. (2018, May 24). Republicans turn more negative toward refugees as number admitted to U.S. plummets. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/05/24/republicans-turn-more-negative-toward-refugees-as-number-admitted-to-u-s-plummets/
 Adams, S. (1772, November 20). Amendment IX. Retrieved from http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendIXs3.html
 Lewis, C. S. (1940). The problem of pain. United Kingdom: The Centenary Press.
 The facts about the humanitarian crisis in Mexico and Central America. (2019, February 5). Retrieved from https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/what-we-do/news-stories/news/facts-about-humanitarian-crisis-mexico-and-central-america
 Remarks by Vice President Pence at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Patriot’s Gala. (2019, June 30). Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-vice-president-pence-faith-freedom-coalitions-patriots-gala/
 “11 Facts About Human Trafficking,” Do Something (accessed July 19, 2019), https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-human-trafficking516 words
(Three days before submitting this article for publication, I emailed Audrea: “I have reviewed your recent article about stopping illegal immigration being prolife. A draft of my response is attached. If I don't hear from you I will publish it soon, as I continue tweaking it. If you have the heart to dialog with me, I would rather do that.”)