Immigration and border security seem destined to be the "hot buttons" of this year's mid-term elections.
Not only has Congress failed to solve the "Dreamers" issues, for illegal immigrants brought to this country by their parents when they were children, but it has not debated or moved on any comprehensive immigration legislation.
Republicans are scrambling to do something positive before the November elections on this subject, while they still are the majority in the two houses of Congress. Democrats seem determined to obstruct any plan and proposal of President Donald Trump or his legislative cohorts.
While the president's Departments of Justice and Homeland Security are trying to more strictly enforce existing immigration laws, they are facing mounting opposition from both inside and outside the Republican Party.
Attorney General Sessions' zero tolerance policies are especially explosive as they relate to separating illegal immigrant children from their parents when they are caught and await deportation or asylum hearings.
This core problem is viewed differently by "we're a nation of laws" conservatives, and the "don't be hateful and heartless" progressives. The former want secure border control before talking about back taxes, avenues of assimilation or any kind of "pathway" toward a legal residence or even citizenship.
The latter want amnesty for those undocumented aliens already here, along with a welcome wagon full of entitlements waiting in sanctuary cities for illegals who manage to get across our porous borders or flagrantly overstay their visas or work permits. Those who don't agree with this liberal viewpoint are often shouted down and labeled racists, Nazis—or worse.
Without question, there needs to be an honest and thoughtful debate on who should be permanently allowed to immigrate into our country and under what conditions. Unfortunately, both Democrats and Republicans tend to see primarily through political lenses, wanting to gain and maintain political power and voting influence. What's the solution?
Aren't We All Immigrants?
I have a relative who believes he has traced his side of our family back to Maximillian, archduke of Austria, German king, and Holy Roman emperor in the 16th century!
Another side of the family humbly traces back to the American Indians forcefully translocated by Andrew Jackson from our southeastern states, along the Trail of Tears, to the Oklahoma Territory in the 1830s. Even they traced their ancestry from somewhere else.
The entire human race, since our original ancestors were created, seems to be made up of immigrants and their offspring. Migration and inter-marriage have contributed to our varied skin colors, ethnic backgrounds, along with unique languages and related dialects.
The Apostle Paul explained to the philosophers in Athens:
The God of the universe "has made from one blood every nation of men to live on the entire face of the earth, having appointed fixed times and the boundaries of their habitation (Acts 17:26).
So, we are all "His offspring," created in His image—each with equal value and worth in our Creator's eyes. Yet, He has sovereignly placed us where we are, and when we are there so that we may perhaps reach out to Him and find Him (Acts 17:27-28). Only then can we love and serve Him with all our heart, soul and mind and then our neighbors, as ourselves (Matt. 22:36-40).
In the closing verses of Matthew's Gospel, Jesus commissioned His followers to make disciples of all peoples. That would include citizens and aliens alike!
Through the centuries, believers have sent missionaries around the world to accomplish this Great Commission. Perhaps we need to see the so-called immigration problem among us to actually be an imminent opportunity to minister the Good News to people He has sovereignly set among us, "for such a time as this."
Many immigrants come from countries which have a Christian heritage. They are already familiar with the things of God, if not personally following the ways of God, right now. Alone and in a new country, they may be hungry for new friendships and open to Christian discipleship. The doorway to spiritual life in Christ for them may be as close as your home and your witness.
In Matthew 28:20 Jesus promises He will be with us "always, even to the end of the age." And, Acts 1:8 informs us that by the power of the Holy Spirit we are empowered for this special evangelistic task.
So, let us learn to lean on the presence of our Savior and the power of the Spirit in these important days until our risen Lord calls us to Himself!
Gary Curtis served for 27 years, as part of the pastoral staff of The Church on The Way, the First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys, California. In 2015, he also retired from leadership of the church's not-for-profit media outreach, Life On The Way Communications, Inc. Now, he continues to blog at worshipontheway.wordpress.com. Gary and his wife, Alisa, live in southern California. They have two married daughters and five grandchildren.
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