Another Immigration Disappointment

by Jun 28, 2007

illegal-immigrants_thumbnail.jpgSenate Republicans (along with a few Democrats from Republican states) have once again blocked the immigration bill:

The Senate drove a stake Thursday through President Bush’s plan to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants, likely postponing major action on immigration until after the 2008 elections.

After the stinging political setback, Bush sounded resigned to defeat.

“Legal immigration is one of the top concerns of the American people, and Congress’ failure to act on it is a disappointment,” he said after an appearance in Newport, R.I. “A lot of us worked hard to see if we couldn’t find common ground. It didn’t work.”

While I was visiting California over the past few weeks, I talked to a lot of people about the immigration problem. Every single one of them was in favor of some kind of amnesty for illegal aliens. All of the people I talked to were Orange County conservatives (living “behind the Orange Curtain” as some of my more liberal friends would say), and one of them even had an NRA sticker on his truck. Still, the overwhelming opinion was, “They’re not going anywhere. We can’t just ignore them.”

The biblical approach to immigration is two-pronged. First is a duty to care for immigrants: “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:33-34). Second is an expectation that national borders are secure and immigrants who don’t conform to the morality of the country are kept out: “They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you” (Exodus 23:33).

Hmmm. Compassion for needy immigrants combined with an expectation that they conform to our values… seems pretty close to what the bill was trying to accomplish.