Some Different Questions
BY Frater Bovious
CARROLLTON, Texas –I will start with a couple of pictures to illustrate a point:
These folks were on a one way trip – there was no easy way back.
These folks are not on a one way trip. They can go back and forth.
There are many similar reasons why both groups headed to the USA. But the approach of both groups toward assimilating into our culture are different – I believe the primary difference is to be found in the fact that one group had committed to living and dying in this country while the other group has options. This impacts the desire to learn the language, to fit in to the culture, etc. This impacts the immigration debate – for, at a certain level, these people don’t intend to be immigrants (a : a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence). They are just here for a while, and they are sending lots of money home.
But that’s all prefatory to the point of this post. The simplest and most obvious commonality to both groups is the availability of jobs in the USA versus where they were coming from. There are other reasons of course, but jobs are the foremost common denominator between the two groups – the ones on boats and the ones on foot.
The current immigration debate is like current TV and Movies – it’s all the same stuff repackaged – 60′s Batman TV show, 80′s and 90′s Batman movies and 21st century reboots of Batman movies to just point out one obvious example. So, the debate we are having now is the same debate we were having 30 years ago – including the band-aid of amnesty. Amnesty won’t solve the illegal immigration problem – partly because, as noted above, it’s not really about immigration (just keep that in mind as this post continues to use that word), it’s simply about work, and people will still walk across the border.
So, to change focus for a minute – here are some interesting facts:
According to the New York Times, writing in March of 2012, there were 11.5 million illegal immigrants in the USA in 2010. Of that number, PEW estimated 8 million are in the work force.
According to the BLS, currently we have just at 12 million unemployed.
Switching gears once more: everyone does realize, right, that the government HAS NO MONEY. I don’t mean just being nearly 17 trillion in debt. I mean, government has no money – everything they have, everything they spend, they got from the USA workers and businesses. Everything. Which means, we, you and me, pay for unemployment, food stamps, etc. And of course now they are taking from our future earnings, our kid’s future earnings, their kid’s, etc.
So, now, for the illustrative if inflammatory and yes inaccurate observation: Do you realize that at a certain level we are paying one person not to mow our lawns while we are paying another person to mow our lawns? Is this actually sustainable? Of course not and I have nearly 17 trillion reasons that undeniably demonstrate that this is not sustainable.
8 million people are undocumented workers in this country. Based on our unemployment levels there really shouldn’t be that many jobs available for these folks. You do realize that Mexico is simply exporting its unemployment, right?
The Point: As long as we have jobs here that our citizens will not do, someone who is not a citizen will come and do it. We cannot stop them – look around.
And, at a certain level, we should not stop them. The Bible has some pretty non-negotiable instructions regarding the sojourner in our midst:
For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner therefore; for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. Dt 10:17-19
The above applies to everyone (yes, even the American Indian, who came over from Asia in the mists of time) that lives here in the USA. We are to take in the sojourner, provide justice for the fatherless and the widow, etc. We have a moral and natural obligation to do so, for we are all of us here from somewhere else. We will always have the poor and the downtrodden in this world – and we will always have the obligation to take care of them at some level.
But, there is another truth ignored here. We have to take care of ourselves and our own to truly be able to take care of the sojourner.
We need to change our ideas about the dignity of work – you do also realize that we have generational welfare – that generational welfare is a cancer in our system and it is killing us. The dignity of persons, the dignity of work. They go hand in hand. We have to address the fact that there is no work beneath us; to realize that our very dignity as human beings dignifies any work that we do, that we define work, work does not define us, before we will have any kind of meaningful conversation regarding immigration reform. The actual amount of work available has to be reset to what it actually is – and our citizens need to be employed doing that work in order to force some clarity into the immigration debate. Until then we can all sit mindlessly watching another version of Amnestygeddon III.