Immigration: Better Questions, Better Perspective

            I like to see people weigh in on opposite sides of a controversial issue in a way that clarifies the conflict.  That’s the way we learn.  NPR gave an example of that yesterday when they interviewed a now-famous illegal immigrant, Jose Antonio Vargas, and followed it with an equally articulate opposite view from Mark Krikorian.  As I listened to each person, I could nod agreement with their points . . . each of them.  Vargas was persuasive in his plea for talented and productive people like himself to be granted permission to stay.  Krikorian was persuasive in his argument that Vargas should return to the Philippines.  Problem was that I could not agree with both people who were so opposite in their views.  So a situation like this calls for higher level questions to be raised.  That’s what I propose to do here.

For example, before you can resolve the debate, you have to come to terms with:

What is the role of the law in our land?
If the law should be enforced more strictly, how do you go about doing that?
If the law should be revised, on what basis and to what end?
How do you define an American?
What attitudes and guidelines should govern immigration today?  Their needs?  Our country’s needs?
What are the implications of granting amnesty to everyone?
What are the implications of exporting everyone who is here without documentation?
What are the implications of ignoring the whole situation or allowing it to remain in deadlock?

Now, my favorite question: Does a Christian worldview add anything to the argument?

Two recent books address immigration from a Christian world view:

       Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church and the Bible, by Daniel Carroll.
(Click on the image to link to


Let Them In! The Case for Open Borders, by Jason Riley





Steve Greenberg’s cartoon illustrates what happens when the debate gets politicized.

(Click on image to link to Steve’s blog)

Dr. Mike Pocock, professor of missions at Dallas Theological Seminary, wrote a helpful article last year in Kindred Spirit.  He proposed three important guidelines for our biblical thinking and then closed with this thought:

Whether it is hospitality to strangers (Rom. 12:13), or entertaining those who cannot repay us (Luke 14:12–14), doing good to all persons (Gal. 6:10), or considering all people equally no matter their culture or ethnicity (Col. 3:10–11), the Bible speaks to our attitude toward those of other races and cultures. We should be very careful to avoid either conventional or racist thinking. Rather we should love our neighbors as ourselves, not intellectualizing nor spiritualizing, but in concrete expression to whomever is in our community on whatever basis.

What additional questions would you ask to raise our level of thinking and clarify our perspective?

One Response to Immigration: Better Questions, Better Perspective

  1. leejagers says:

    Tim, you write well. I cut your comments from Facebook and pasted them here so they wouldn’t get lost. Your thoughts are worth remembering:

    I’ve been blogging about this for some time; here’s my take on the Vargas angle:

    And regarding Dr. Russell Moore:

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