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Today, hundreds of Evangelical leaders from around the country will join hands to raise awareness for comprehensive immigration reform during a National Day of Prayer. Like many faith groups, Evangelicals are the most recent to sign onto the national religious effort to "act on the Biblical mandate of compassion and justice toward immigrants" and call for reform of our broken immigration system. Some restrictionists groups, however, continue to criticize the role of religion and faith in the immigration reform movement—some even using the Bible as a weapon to condemn immigrants as law-breakers and sinners.

The Center for Immigration Studies, a restrictionist group that bills itself as "pro-immigrant with a low-immigration vision," recently released a poll which "claims to have found broad opposition among people of faith for comprehensive immigration reform." The group also published a report, A Biblical Perspective on Immigration Policy,  which condemns immigrants and attempts to promote an anti-immigrant agenda by narrowly examining the biblical role of civil government through scripture. Predictably, the report falls short and as Dr. M. Daniel Carroll Rodas, a Professor of Old Testament at Denver Seminary, points out, reveals a substantial lack of fact, scope and at best a loose interpretation of historical context.

In response to CIS’s attacks against faith communities, immigration attorney Bruce Hake, and his wife, Judy Hake, a certified Roman Catholic catechist, unmask CIS’s intentions as "restrictionist propaganda, not a serious study of scripture." The Hakes’ rebuttal, What the BibleReallySays about Immigration Policy (originally published in Bender’s Immigration Bulletin), deconstructs CIS’s misleading arguments—that religious leaders are in favor of "open borders;" the Bible dictates that "mercy toward foreigners" only applies to individuals, not government/civil authorities; and that foreigners have a duty to stay at home, even if starving—and defends what immigration faith advocates actually want:

[The CIS report] mischaracterizes what it is that advocates of a more merciful immigration policy are doing. They are not advocating for open borders. They are not advocating for disobedience to civil authority. They are not advocating that the laws not be enforced. Instead, they are arguing that the Biblical commands to be merciful to foreigners inform their personal values and impel them to work toward making the law more merciful. That, of course, is perfectly appropriate in a democracy. And when the law is made more merciful, that will be the new civil authority.

Another, more preposterous, example of CIS failed reasoning includes a paragraph on immigrant’s envy for American material blessings and the cost of such sins:

Foreign lawbreakers’ envy toward Americans’ material and political blessings may bring upon themselves eternal consequences: "It is through this craving [love of money] that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs" (I Tim. 6:10b). Violating immigration laws, just as violating other civil laws, manifests one’s failure to trust God to meet His people’s needs. Illegal aliens and their activists must ask themselves what the cost of such sin is worth to their souls.

The Hakes’ response:

In other words, undocumented immigrants are all motivated by greed and envy, and if you support them, you’re going to Hell! That’s spectacularly mean and unhinged.

The Hakes’ rebuttal illustrates just how bizarre and misleading restrictionists’ reasoning can be when it comes to immigration and faith and goes one step further to demonstrate what it is that immigration faith advocates want—immigration policies that reflect mercy to the stranger, recognition of immigrants as a human being, the value of family unity, the importance of secure borders, and an earned path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.

Today’s Evangelical Day of Prayer is not just another exercise in hand-holding, kumbaya-ing or a call for disobedience of civil authority—it is the latest commitment in a larger interfaith community push for immigration reform. While restrictionist groups continue to condemn immigrants, co-opt scripture verses and write off religious leaders as "out of touch with their congregations," faith groups will continue to stand together in faith and good works for more just and human immigration laws—laws that welcome the foreigner as human beings rather than objects in a rhetorical and political battle of partisanship.

Originally posted to ImmigrationPolicyCenter on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 02:23 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Usual Strawman Arguments (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IowaPopulist, numberzguy

    From OpenBordersUnlimitedPopulationGrowthAdvocacy Center, with an evangelical twist.

    •  You show up in every IPC diary with this same (7+ / 0-)

      kind of knothead slur.  The IPC, and others in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, aren't calling for open borders.

      You are speaking with the voice of the wingnuts.  In one of the articles linked in this IPC diary, the authors criticize a wingnut screed from the CIS, which many times falsely claims that immigration reform advocates are in favor of open borders.

      •  It's A Rational Analysis of Their Arguments (4+ / 0-)

        They consistently argue that all forms of immigration are beneficial and that all arguments against any form of immigration are wrong. Never mind that their arguments are innumerate, methodologically so bereft of soundness as to be somewhere between sadly meretricious and knowingly disingenuous, and in almost all instances, willfully blind to substantive real world correlations.

        That you would call any of this "a knothead slur" says more about your fundamental lack of intellectual honesty and/or analytical acumen than it does about anything I have said.

        When you create -- as you and IPC have -- a narrative which begins with the intrinsic premise that anyone who disagrees with you is a wingnut and a racist, publish papers including that unfounded premise, then when someone disagrees with you cite your own propaganda as evidence that the disagreement must be beyond the pale, you are using the same cynical agitprop tactics that Dick Cheney used to gin up the Iraq War.

        But fair is fair: I would be happy to hear your proposals for substantive restrictions on immigation which either of you would support.

        You say you don't support Open Borders and IPC doesn't support Open Borders. What restrictions on immigration are acceptable to you?

        •  Lies from start to finish. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          brenda, Sentido, cacamp, VirginiaJeff

          I can debunk this easily, but I don't regard you as serious.

          Ror the record, however, some corrections:

          1. Who do you mean when you say "they" consistently argue that all forms of immigration are beneficial?

          You are fighting a straw man. The IPC does NOT do that nor do the pro-reform articles in the diary's links. Fail.

          1. The second sentence of your post is funny but just ridiculously wrong. And of course you have no evidence, just wingnut slurs.
          1. Your second paragraph is just ad hom bilge. You are in fact spouting straight wingnut/knothead anti-foreigner nativist restrictionist talking points. My intellectual honesty and analytical acumen are perfectly sound, unlike yours.
          1. Your third paragraph appears to have been written by Karl Rove or Sean Hannity. It has no relationship to truth.
          1. Are you genuine with your fourth and fifth paragraphs? I don't think so, but I want to give the benefit of the doubt to a fellow Kossack.

          Your first question is what "proposals for substantive restrictions on immigration" that I and IPC (which is a think tank, not a person) would support. United States immigration law is so ridiculously complicated and inconsistent that a proper response to that offhand question would take at least 20 pages--and that would be superficial.

          I'll give you ONE example. I support barring the use of the H-1B visa for high-end IT positions, while generally increasing the number of H-1B positions. I'm not sure what the IPC thinks on that, but I'm sure they'd be open to the argument.

          Finally, you say:

          You say you don't support Open Borders and IPC doesn't support Open Borders. What restrictions on immigration are acceptable to you?

          No, that's not correct. I'm honest. I myself personally DO support open borders, subject to the U.S. criminal law.  However, the IPC most certainly DOES NOT support open borders, and NONE of the public advocates of what is now being called comprehensive immigration reform support open borders.  This is a restrictionist red herring--or one might say bloody flag, designed to inflame people.

          Finally, you ask what restrictions on immigration are personally acceptable to me?  A complete answer would have to be extremely long--and I'm capable of giving it.  In brief, I think almost all criminals and terrorists should be barred from immigrating to the United States (subject to stringent restrictions on how those labels are applied and with full civil liberties for all accused of such things).  I PERSONALLY think that should be the only limit on immigration to the United States.

          But I do NOT speak for the IPC! ALL serious players in the immigration reform debate, including the IPC (which is more important than you may realize), support most of the current rules on exclusion and deportation.

          Sigh. I hope you'll actually read this with a sense of fairness. I've gone to great trouble here to try to respond to your questions.

          •  Thank You For Your Frankness (0+ / 0-)

            Regarding your own views.

            The views of one who is heedless regarding population increase, heedless of the inevitable associated environmental degradation, heedless of the effects of increased immigration on unskilled and semi-skilled labor (witness your remarks regarding H1-B visas), and in short, so very heedless of so very many elements which are no less primary than the desire of some to migrate, are the views of one who is operating out of ideology unconnected with population biology, ecology, or any substantive consideration of water, food, and energy sheds.

            You may be a nice person, but there's a profound meta-cognitive failure at the very root of your process.

  •  There are two issues here. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rieux, commonmass, numberzguy

    One is whether "church leaders" really speak for their congregants. In the Zogby poll 64% of Catholics preferred gradual attrition in numbers of illegal immigrants by enforcement, only 23% preferred the alternative of amnesty. For mainline Protestants the corresponding numbers were 64% and 24%, and for Born-Again Protestants, the Evangelicals, 76% favored attrition by enforcement and 12% favored amnesty.

    I have seen very compelling arguments from Christian scripture on both sides of this issue. For a Christian who believes that the Bible is a living document that speaks to him/her in the modern age, the clear message would be that God has not ruled on this issue. The Bible no more tells you what to do with illegal immigrants than what your water bill should be. As an atheist, I find these arguments on an issue of public policy something of an insult to reason.

  •  I'd love a religious movement (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IowaPopulist

    to get jobs for Americans by eliminating a lot of illegals.

    That's a good religious movement.

    •  Wingnut speaking point. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brenda, Sentido
    •  I would love to see you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Timaeus

      do some of the jobs that migrant and non-documented workers do. I really would.

      "Oppressed people cannot be oppressed forever."--The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by commonmass on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 03:09:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah. Read about Smithfield Processing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IowaPopulist

        Luckily, I have a reference.

        But ironically the most decisive factor in the union’s victory may have been immigration enforcement raids at Tar Heel in 2007. The raids’ immediate result, the arrest of several dozen workers, was followed by the departure of hundreds of others who feared arrest on charges of violating immigration laws.

        Their exodus led to an abrupt switch in the plant’s demographics. By the time of the vote on UFCW representation, the majority of workers were once again native-born black Americans, as they had been in the years immediately after the plant opened in 1992. The News & Observer noted that the "raids may have finally sealed the union’s victory.... The 2007 raids purged the plant of illegal Hispanic workers, and left behind a majority of native workers more likely to support unionization."

        Progressives like myself support the rights of lower-level workers to get jobs.  I do not understand why the pro-immigration open-border types oppose the ability of blacks, legal immigrants and other to have meaningful work.

        Cheap labor is GREAT for mega-corporations, but is bad for normal people.  Why do you support giant corporations and their quest for cheap labor?

      •  BTW, this was addressed to numberz, (0+ / 0-)

        not to Timaeus.

        "Oppressed people cannot be oppressed forever."--The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

        by commonmass on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 03:14:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Woo-hoo, build the fence and pass the teabags! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Timaeus, brenda

      I love it when we reduce complicated issues to nativist slogans!

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 05:02:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why do we need to consult the Bible (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenskeeper, Philoguy, plankbob

    to deal with political problems? I am a practicing Episcopalian and not an Evangelical (in fact, far from it) and while occasionally faith informs my decision-making (like when I try to treat other people the way I would want to be treated and assume that how I treat those in need is a reflection of in what regard I hold God), I do not consult the Bible when making political decisions for myself.

    Immigration reform is a complicated business. Some of the people who scream the loudest about "illegals" would scream a lot harder when a head of iceberg lettuce suddenly cost 7 or 8 dollars, and would be really put out if it were ever suggested that they should actually go to work picking it.

    Let's leave God where he belongs--in our hearts, not in our politics.

    "Oppressed people cannot be oppressed forever."--The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by commonmass on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 03:13:28 PM PST

    •  Well said, and to make a (5+ / 0-)

      Biblical argument to support your point, I'm inclined to ask what it means to actually love your neighbor within the political sphere.  In my view, this entails keeping your religion private and making your arguments based on premises that are open to everyone regardless of ethnicity, religion, or lack thereof.  This is precisely what it means to respect others.  Your arguments should be addressed not to those who share your faith, but to those who are different and strangers.  The problem with religious grounds for public policy is that matters of faith and scriptural interpretations can never be decided.  Everyone has scriptural support for their religious beliefs and its impossible to show that one is right and the other is wrong.  Government should be concerned with the public good and arguments pertaining to legislation should revolve around what can be arrived at through reason and observation (capacities shared by all).  If you support immigration reform give me a secular argument to demonstrate that it contributes to the public good, not an argument based on your interpretation of scripture.  This is a basic principle of respect for alterity or otherness.  This is every bit as much addressed to my religious brothers and sisters as it is to social conservatives.  The whole reason the Enlightenment thinkers that built our government separated church and state is that faith is not a domain of knowledge and that when collective deliberations are advanced based on matters of faith, you inevitably end up with state violence because these arguments can't be resolved peacefully through rational persuasion.  The sword then becomes the only option.

    •  Exactly, why indeed? n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass

      Dream, that's the thing to do (Johnny Mercer)

      by plankbob on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 03:38:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Apparently you didn't read the diary, much (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brenda, catchaz, commonmass, VirginiaJeff

      less any of its links.

      The restrictionists like CIS are trying to use the Bible to block immigration reform.  Since many Americans are motivated by religious concerns, it's sound politics to give an opposing view.

      I would recommend you read the diary.

  •  Didn't Jesus himself run into some such (5+ / 0-)

    problem, being born in the wrong country or something like that?

    There's still people today who resent that he has Jewish heritage - when if fate had been just a tad different he could have been Greek, Roman, Chinese, i.e., part of one of the big time civilizations that existed back then.

    Thus, I can see how his followers today might be just a tiny bit sympathetic to allowing those disadvantaged by virtue of being born in the wrong country just a small bit of leeway in this matter . . .

  •  It's a shame that these fine diaries from (6+ / 0-)

    the IPC often attract little more than the same little group of wingnut restrictionists.

    •  Depends on how you see opposition. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenskeeper

      If it all looks like wingnut restrictionism to you, that's all you'll see.

      Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

      by billmosby on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:17:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I recognize obtuseness when the rightwing (4+ / 0-)

        does it.  Are you saying that when I perceive someone on the left being snarky and obtuse, I'm merely projecting?

        Bottom line, this diary isn't about advocating for unlimited open borders, despite what some of the snarkers are claiming.  It's about a religious group simply acknowledging that immigration isn't always a black-or-white issue.  And that circumstances and compassion have a role to play.  That's at least worth discussing.

        Political liberal / Bible believing Christian / Lousy at litmus tests

        by VirginiaJeff on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:39:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure it is worth discussing. (0+ / 0-)

          I like discussions rather than namecalling. And for me a discussion can just be an exchange of views or opinions, as well as more reasoned, fact-filled statements.

          I see a combination, mostly. Maybe 50 percent of the comments would fit the description of a discussion. So to say the diaries attract "little more" than the same group of wingnut restrictionists made me wonder if that's how you see whatever opposition to the viewpoint of the diaries crops up.

          Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

          by billmosby on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:50:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  By the way, what definition of restrictionist.. (0+ / 0-)

          .. do you use? What is its opposite? Or what is a reasonable alternative to the concept in your view?

          Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

          by billmosby on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:30:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  great diary, sorry for asshole commenters (7+ / 0-)

    thanks for important fact-filled diary.

    sorry for the response, but nowhere in America is free of anti-immigrant bias, even Daily Kos.

    secession = treason. Haters are Traitors!

    by catchaz on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 04:57:13 PM PST

  •  Second bit of good news about a religious (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timaeus

    organization today that involved taking a stand on a human rights issue.

    The other was about a group of religious leaders who are renewing their call for Obama to push for an investigation into the suspicious deaths of Guantanamo prisoners.

    Political liberal / Bible believing Christian / Lousy at litmus tests

    by VirginiaJeff on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:59:33 PM PST

  •  We were "imported" as legal immigrants but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timaeus, VirginiaJeff

    being treated worse than animals and finally being left on the street. Please take your time if you can, read my diaries that are published in this blog as "We don't blame on American People", "Where is our home?" and "Freedom of Speech, Human Right and American Dream" by "under the same sky". We need your vocies for helping us to fight for our right. Thanks everyone.

    "We all live under the same sky, but we don't all have the same horizon" by Konrad Adenauer

    by under the same sky on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:29:41 PM PST

    •  Hello. I read here very regularly, but I had not (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VirginiaJeff, under the same sky

      your earlier diaries. I just read the middle one.

      It is very unfortunate that you ran into a crooked lawyer. There are a lot of them. But there are also a lot of honest ones like me. Unfortunately, I don't handle your kind of case (and I couldn't handle it properly in any event, because you really need an Illinois law firm).

      You have more than two kinds of legal problems. You need immigration law advice. In the U.S. system, that is considered "federal" law.  But you also need state law advice about labor and employment law issues.

      It is hard for me to advise you here, because I don't want to disclose my identity or my private email address.

      Let me make a suggestion. Call some of these lawyers in Chicago:  Robert Gard, Scott Pollock, Lisa Scott. Beg them to give you a brief, free consultation. Mention you got this recommendation from an anonymous immmigration lawyer on a Daily Kos diary by the Immigration Policy Center. Tell your story and ask for advice.

      Your situation is far from hopeless! Good luck!

      •  your great help (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timaeus, VirginiaJeff

        Thank you so much for your comments and suggestions that are great helps to us. I don't know how to instruct you to read all of my diaries because I am a new user of this blog. I am also learning on how to use it at the moment.
        Regarding to the lawyers, unfortunately we already contacted 7 or 8 attorneys in Chicago area, but got no luck at all. One of the main reason we were given was becuase we live in a county where they normally don't practice. One of them just told us that our case was not worthy to pay his job and he was the only one whom we found practice in both Chicago area and in our county. Then, we contacted some local ones, 3 of them tell us that they don't represent employees. Finally, we found one who just took our money and did nothing and we also discovered that he doesn't practice in the field of Immigrant either employment and contract. The one my husband has now is the most cold and rude one we ever met, but since we have not much time to "shop around", my husband has to retain her. She is really rude and even yelled at us in her office.

        We never thought that all the lawyers are the same and we, in deed, believe that most of lawyers are just like you. Another example is my husband's work comp attorney who is very nice and helpful.

        Thanks again for your help. Please keep reading my diaries. I will post as much as I can. Your voice is great help for us.

        "We all live under the same sky, but we don't all have the same horizon" by Konrad Adenauer

        by under the same sky on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 11:33:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  On balance, immigration restriction needed (0+ / 0-)

    Doesn't Christianity mean you need to consider the effects of policies such as immigration on all parties?  Certainly the present US population is greatly affected by so many people wanting to move here.  I also attempt to be a good Christian but at the moment sincerely believe easy immigration to the US is doing more harm than good.  There are many reasons I feel this way.

    Some numbers worth considering: A whopping 82% of our population growth will be due to immigration in the years ahead under present policy.  It can nearly double our population in just a few decades.  If we think we're crowded now or having trouble funding healthcare and public education, just wait.  When you look around you at all the recent immigrants can it be argued they're not taking jobs and lowering wages?

    I may feel sorry for the immigrants which we will have to start restricting but their main problem always has been the poor policies in their home countries and not that the US won't let enough people in.  Why not direct some of the anger and criticism at all the corruption and abuse occurring in  other countries?  If they behaved better maybe so many wouldn't be trying to leave their home countries.  In any case, the US has to draw a line somewhere.  China and India could send us 10 plus million each year with no problem.  We've already taken in 10% or 20% of Mexico.  On balance, the US has done more than its share to help the world's poor.  I don't recall anyone other than the US making much effort to help the Haitians.    

    Today immigration mostly benefits US employers and hurts the rest of the US population.  Those who insist on easy immigration should go explain to struggling Americans (including poor Black and Hispanic citizens) why they must continue to be undercut by cheap foreign labor in their own country.  Quite a few employers are misusing immigration to their advantage at the expense of everyone else.

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