Christians In A Quandry Over Immigration

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The local paper of record reports Christians are torn:


Evangelical Christians say the issue of illegal aliens in the United States often creates a conflict between their allegiance to the Gospels and their loyalty to the government.

"On one hand, they really want to minister to people, but on the other hand, [illegal aliens] have broken the law -- and that's a problem for people," said John Clifford Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.


I'm going to propose a third consideration for Christians: the people whose livlihood has been damaged by the influx of undocumented laborers and subsequent decreasing wages.

If you used to be able to sell a roofing job for $10,000 using legal workers, and a new subcontractor comes on the scene who can do the job for $5.000 using illegal workers, and you are thereby put out of the subcontracting business, you and your employees probably have a different perspective on the "Christian" attitude toward illegal immigration.

Christ, as far as I've read, did not command us to walk out to the street corner every Friday and hand over our week's earnings to the general public. He did not say, don't put bread on your kids' table, because you should be handing over your paycheck to others. He did not say, if a thief who is gaming the system uses an unfair advantage to keep your company from getting business, then verily your family should go hungry.

I don't remember which Gospel tells us that the carpenter who follows the government's rules by paying payroll taxes, insurance and benefits, deserves to be run out of business by those who don't.

If the "Christians," to the extent it makes any sense to speak of them as a bloc, are going to weigh in on this topic, they should take the time to learn about the world they are purporting to establish public policy for.

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9 Comments

Yes, the general contractor has "unfair" competion of the exact kind small American companies hiring American workers enjoy when a corporate conglomerate ships their shops overseas as the GOPers tout capitalism, global markets and the Dow Jones.

On the one hand-other-hand scenario, even though some small contractors go out of business, more and more AMERICAN families can then afford to upgrade their homes, Lowes & Home Depot sell more goods, as do a zillion of other industries.

In other words, for every plus there is a minus; a winner and a loser. And just because the "honest" contractor loses the bid to remodel the home doesn't mean the over-all economy in the United States loses.

Before I make a comment, consider the first comment...so outsourcing - producing overseas - is the same as paying below the minimum wage. Not written by an economics major.

If a company moves its production overseas to sell products here at a lower cost, the result is that some people lose a manufacturing job. But, the money saved by consumers is capital that is spent elsewhere - producing more jobs than those lost. If you love the poor then grow capital.

Conversely, providing an illegal addition to labor (illegally increasing supply) reduces the wages of workers. If the market were allowed to work without illegal immigration then wages for Americans goes up.

Break.

An answer for fellow Evangelicals on the issue is to rend to Caesar that weich is Caesar and to the Lord that which is the Lord.

Caesar says NO to illegal immigration. Obey the law.

The Lord says love the poor. So grow capital here and follow a Munificent Destiny to invest capital in poor countries - and keep doing those mission trips to the 3rd World to uplift the poor.

Dean Settle said:

Amen. My business doesn't get the calls it used to, due to illegals and those who don't seem to mind living on top of each other (as thick as 25 people in a 3 bedrom house).
They also do not pay taxes, buy business licenses, or carry insurance...all of which I comply with. If they did, they'd cost as much as I do.

Want to see the clear end of the analysis? Consider the two immigrants who died when the ditch caved in on them as they dug a drain around a house foundation in Bethesda last year. Neither was legal, there was no insurance, and they half-arsed the job when they didn't spend money on bracing for the ditch. Now where are they? Where are we? We absorbed the cost of their deaths in our medical system that had to respond, and then the state probably buried them, too.

charles said:

That's an argument against ILLEGAL immigrants, but what about an argument to make them legal?

That is the true evangelical quandary -- where to come down on the battle to change immigration policy. If "Ceasar" says illegal immigrants are now LEGAL immigrants, the "render unto Ceasar" argument falls aside.

And in a democracy, we all get to be Ceasar, if we are in the majority. And if we make the illegals "legal" they come out and fall under the laws of our country, including the wage laws, so no longer are the undercutting wages of legals.

Of course, they still are a competition for the jobs, and that competition could well lower wages simply because of supply and demand.

But the point is that arguing that they are illegal now is not an argument for whether evangelicals should support making them legal now.

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

Well, where's Jack on this one? I'm sure he could rationalise the hell out of the christian conservative line on immigration --he's already managed to twist Jesus into a petty, prejudiced war-monger (he made God in his own image, I guess ;)

"We absorbed the cost of their deaths in our medical system that had to respond, and then the state probably buried them, too."

-a very christian attitude, there.

what about "the people whose livlihood has been damaged by the influx of undocumented laborers and subsequent decreasing wages"?

what about them? Because Jesus said "and blessed are those who are more concerned about their own income than the well-being of others, for they shall inherit a godless earth."

no wait, that wasn't the Real Jesus. The Real Jesus said, "If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back."

Trying to mesh the conservative stance on immigration with Jesus' message is forcing a square peg in a round hole. Is all this really about adopting a stance on immigration that's in line with Jesus' teachings, or is it to figure out how to interpret His message in a way that justifies an anti-immigration position?

GREAT points, these will be a new thread. Thank you all. I am catching up and time is tight at the moment.

I don't know where Jack or any of the others are! Sheesh. So that leaves me trying to catch up here in Philly in my hotel room before sleep settles in.

Kevin said:

Stay, I know better than to surmise what Christ would have said but I think you picked a great passage illustrating what he actually did. Nice. Joe, if you're feeling hungry and in the area on your swing back through, give a call!

Kevin said:

Joe, I left a comment here for SPMM which you were included in. No need to clear it from "Junk" necessarily. I forgot to type the secret password. But it looks like their may be another one of SPMM's hiding there too.

Thanks, dude, I got them out (Puft had retyped his already). I'm off on personal business for the day and will be back later.

I certainly will take you up on that offer one of these trips down 95!

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