On Immigration and Refugees

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114 Responses

  1. Babylon's Dread says:

    It divides this way for most people…

    The immigrant we hear about is a problem
    The immigrant we know is usually a blessing

  2. Michael says:

    We can’t deny either the problems or the blessings.
    There has to be a better way forward than through the vitriol.

  3. Josh the Baptist says:

    I think you have stated both sides of the issue well, Michael.

  4. Josh the Baptist says:

    But I don’t have any answers.

  5. Michael says:

    Josh,

    None of us have any answers…and our leaders are making sure the process to finding answers never begins in order to make political hay.

    We, as Christians, should be able to come to a table in the middle and lead to a better way.

  6. Steve Wright says:

    When we adopted our son from India, I needed to make three separate trips to the US embassy in New Delhi. Each visit there I encountered a line of over 100 people..all waiting to get in, almost if not all wanting to come to the USA. (As an aside, I did not have to wait in that same line being a US citizen)

    The line was because inside the building was absolutely packed with people waiting for their number to be called to talk to an agent about their situation. I could not get a seat and I was one of dozens standing room only.

    I even found out that some people provide for themselves and family by staying in line all night, then selling their place in line the next morning.

    I mention this because what struck me is that in New Delhi I drove past multiple embassies of western free nations (they are all located close to each other) – and I did not see one single person in any sort of line outside any other. France, Germany, Canada etc. I am sure they may have had a few inside doing business but only a few at any time.

    Hopefully this little anecdote is beneficial for whatever conversation this thread brings….

  7. OCDan says:

    I know it is easier said than done, but…

    “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Who is our neighbor and what would we want done if we were in their shoes?

    Just dwell on Jesus’ statement for a moment and the context. For the Jews it was absolutely earth-shattering. For the Samaritans, unbelievable. Now, I will grant you the US is not Israel of the bible. However, the church def. needs to reexamine itself and its rhetoric with regard to this issue.

  8. Michael says:

    OCDan,

    That’s where I start…but beyond that are many ramifications of grace and mercy that we must deal with as well.

    I must confess to only having one side of the equation down…

  9. OCDan says:

    Steve,

    Despite the fact that the media and the media hounds want everyone to think that people just want the US for freebies, what your story tells me is that people still look to the United States as the place to come.

    Sure, not everyone’s motives are pure, but my wife came here from the Philippines 25 years ago and we have been married 23 of those years.

    Many just want a better life for themselves and their families.

    Despite all the problems we have in this country, and there are countless ones, we need to remember that there are still people in this world who think the streets are paved with gold in the US, whether we like it or not.

  10. OCDan says:

    Michael,

    I couldn’t agree more with your #8. However, I don’t think many of the sub-issues are gonna wash or hold up well when we stand before the Almighty.

    I say that knowing full well I have not lived up to the scripture at all. I have fallen waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay short on this one, in my actions, heart, and mind.

  11. Steve Wright says:

    OCDan….Agree 100%. I also do not apologize for the idea of America being an exceptional nation (hardly perfect, but relative to the rest of the world) – as seen by the demand you and I both refer to….

    Note – not “Americans” being exceptional….America

  12. Michael says:

    OCDan,

    Until I went Juarez, I was nowhere near the heart of God on this matter.
    It’s important to note that this is a global issue…from Australia to Europe to our own border we’re witnessing the greatest migration in human history.

    One thing I will say is that until we find ways to make the places they are migrating from better, there aren’t any good solutions…

  13. OCDan says:

    Steve…thank you for clarifying the America vs. Americans part. I waffle on the exceptional part a lot, but now I think I understand why. It is because as you wrote it is the country, it is the ideals, the values, etc. as opposed to the people itself, since we are all fallible.

    Now, if we could get everyone on board the same ship (line of thinking)….just kidding.

  14. Steve Wright says:

    My parents had a great gardener. He employed a dozen or so people, worked very hard, and built a nice lower middle class life for himself and family as a legal immigrant from Mexico who became a US citizen. American dream indeed

    He also became a friend to our family. Inviting us over to their home each New Years for traditional tamales to celebrate.

    He often complained loudly about illegal Mexicans taking work (i.e. money) from him by underbidding him, trying to take his customers – of course these did not pay taxes, have business licenses, workers comp and liability insurance and so forth. Just cash to mow the lawn, pull the weeds, trim the hedges etc.

    That to me is the issue of “who is my neighbor” – Who should we hire when we need work done? The guy who is lowest cost to us no matter what…or guys like this gardener. They both are our neighbor so the question must go deeper…

    To Dread’s very first point. We all yell when we hear about some multi-million dollar corporation hiring a lot of illegal workers in order to save a bunch of money for the corp….but we either look the other way or even encourage each other to do so one person at a time.

    As a pastor (and a Christian) if led to financially help someone in need, I am not going to ask about their citizenship. Our church helps program does not. Those backpacks we gave out to the poor families very likely went to a few illegal immigrants (given the town we are in). What we do with our money in the name of Christian charity (KJV for love) is not based on national boundaries.

    However, as a random employer for the various odd jobs, I am only going to hire those trying to compete legally. I’ve got too many unemployed and underemployed artisans at our church trying to make ends meet legally to support an underground economy.

    That to me is a large part of the Christian balance. The political stuff I have no control over anyway.

  15. Scott says:

    Problem for me is that I overload on so many needs and crisis that come my way every single day.

    Crisis and needs within my own family, my community, State and country. The rapid dissemination of information in our day and the constant bombardment of images is in some ways a curse.

    I drove through L.A. yesterday. Under the fwy overpass of S. Alvarado & Hwy 101 was a whole encampment of homeless people lined on both sides of the street. People with dresser drawers, clothes lined and grocery carts filled with their only possessions. I thought to myself, that could be me.

    I don’t know what to do, too be honest with you. So, in the interim I will continue to minister to needs in my own family, continue donating to my local rescue mission and continue working hard and paying my taxes which I hope some of it will help in some way with meeting the needs of those experiencing a more global crisis.

  16. Michael says:

    Some things to consider…

    Right now the wait to become a legal immigrant from Mexico is 7-20 years.

    That has been constantly adjusted by our labor market needs over the years.

    They are not needed at the moment.

    Understand the difference between a refugee and a migrant.

    A refugee is fleeing violence or oppression and is a different legal category than migrants seeking work.

  17. Steve Wright says:

    Right now the wait to become a legal immigrant from Mexico is 7-20 years.
    That has been constantly adjusted by our labor market needs over the years.
    They are not needed at the moment.
    ———————————————————————————
    A large reason they are not needed is because millions of people here illegally are doing those jobs – the jobs most Americans are unwilling to do.

    That’s the catch-22 on the deportation discussion. America can’t deport those here illegally because they are doing the work foundational to our nation – but America can’t grant millions of new legal immigrants, wanting to work, because there are no jobs for them.

    But that goes to the broader political theoretical discussion out of our hands except as to rhetoric which is why I go back to what I can do. I will not knowingly give work to those here (or who hire) working illegally. That’s all I can do.

    I will not hesitate to give out of my own pocket money to someone in need, and support those who do as well…regardless of nationality.

    There is a difference between spending money for a service, and giving money away. Just like there is a difference between giving money and paying taxes (when some rich person is found to give almost nothing to charity and then says “Yeah, but I pay hundreds of thousands in taxes” – You pay taxes or you go to jail. It is not “giving” at all.

    Likewise in hiring…you pay or you don’t get your job done…it too is not “giving” at all.

  18. Steve Wright says:

    As a relevant aside…I believe the bipartisan consensus is about 40-45% of those here illegally are here because they have overstayed their visas. Not because they snuck across any borders…maybe that should be a political priority, especially since a lot of money and resources are going into the granting of those visas in the first place.

    Especially the moment that terrorism is cited as a motivator. The 9/11 attackers were brought here with VISAs

  19. philmetzger says:

    i really appreciate that you are trying to open a discussion about refugees. Thank you

  20. Michael says:

    Phil,

    You inspired me to take the risk again…thank you!

  21. Em says:

    first of all there is a North America, a Central America and a South America… we are all Americans on this continent – i got that lecture in first year Spanish class 🙂

    i think the U.S. had its foundation built by good people driven out of their ancestral homes by evil people … our foundational laws were respected for a couple hundred years, but now?
    we are becoming lawless and won’t that lead to a tyranny of evil here, too? i don’t think what the new flood of migrants and immigrants are coming here for will last much longer – dunno, tho, do i?
    every American does what seems good in his own eyes … we need to clean house for company, perhaps … don’t know how we do that, tho

  22. Dan from georgia says:

    I hope that people can see refugees through Gods eyes instead of thru the eyes of Fox News.

  23. Em says:

    let me add that it is the leadership in the U.S. that i see permeated with and increasingly dominated by evil – business, politics and our churches
    yes, i know we are all sinners, but evil is way more insidious than sin

    maybe we need more Christians migrating in… might work

  24. Dan from georgia says:

    Previous comment is how I feel and not meant to invite vitriol of instigate a fight. Thanks for this particular topic Michael!

  25. Michael says:

    Em,

    Much of the growth in churches is from migrants…
    Bowden gave this brief clip may years ago, but the issues remain.

  26. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I wrote this last night and promptly had to throw up worrying about the results.
    The last time I wrote on this topic I lost half my readership and most of the support I get.
    I was afraid to broach the matter again…but I had to try or I wouldn’t be able to sleep because of cowardice, not fear.
    So far…so good. 🙂

  27. Pastor Al says:

    The Cognitive Dissonance and Irony of the Politically Liberal Position on Immigration:

    “Fundamentalist Christians are evil! They are destroying the US!”….”Bring in the Muslims from Fundamentalist Islamic Nations!”

    Careful what you wish for….

  28. Steve Wright says:

    Well…all I will say is over the last couple years Fox News has done far, FAR more reporting about Christian refugees and the persecuted in Islamic nations than the other large networks combined…

    I’ll stop there…Because I agree, let’s see everyone through God’s eyes and not what is conducive to a prior political partisanship of the larger audience…

  29. Michael says:

    I’m not concerned with liberals and conservatives.
    My hope is that we raise a third voice, the “Christian” voice that recognizes the concerns of both and has a biblically informed position that leads to reform.

    The Islamic issue would fall under the category of “assimilation” and I think it’s a very important one, though not politically correct to raise.

  30. Michael says:

    Fox has reported on Christian refugees well.
    They have also ran some of the most scurrilous reports on Mexico I’ve ever seen.

    That’s why I plead for people to do better research…and be grounded in a biblical position that informs the political one.

  31. marklepard says:

    Mention immigration and most discussions degrade into half truths and reveal biases quickly, irregardless of one’s “side” of the issue. And as much as anecdotal evidence is quickly disregarded because it doesn’t conform to the long list of possible logical fallacies it may have violated, the personal stories are hugely important.

    My own story has brought me to an in between place on immigration. I understand the reservoir of angst that Trump has tapped into. But I’ve also experienced the emotion of having been dehumanized for ethnicity, and belittled because of birthplace.

    The Spanish speaking flock I briefly pastored was called “The Mexicans” by church leadership. Most were actually South American or Central American, but the chosen words spoke volumes. It hit like darts to my wife’s heart, and the godly men I was investing in to become elders. It’s hard to explain the feeling that hits you when you’ve been judged for your race.

    The first time I experienced it, I was living in Guadalajara. Rage, disbelief, and violence all manifested themselves in laughter. It’s all I could do to respond. And yet, while living in Cancun, my California driver’s license expired. I went to the local DMV, where they required my work visa in order to approve my driver’s license. That same week there was debate back home over whether to driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. The Mexican ambassador was pushing for California to approve them. Another laugh.

    I don’t want to bore you with all my stories, but I’ll give my two cents based on my experiences; Most Hispanic media pitches stories to overplay the racist angle. So every time there’s an immigration issue story, the Hispanic community sees it through a racism lense. So when you see them waving their Mexican flags around on American soil, you might try to understand that they at some point have experienced the dehumanization of racism from a white American, and then they’ve been frenzied up by a socialist leaning press. Then when they get white Americans responding with shouts and screams, it confirms the lies that their press is telling them. That’s exactly what happened last year in Murrieta. The only way to break through it is for individuals to respond with Agape. We brought one of those young mothers and her three year old daughter from that mess into our home for the night, then got her to the bus station the next day. God gave us an open door to explain the Gospel, which she professed faith in. And at the same time she was able to see that white people aren’t all racist.

    And yet I think the border needs to be better enforced, and a wall is not such a bad idea. They did it in San Diego County, and it works.

    I also see that illegals DO take jobs from Americans. And yes there are some jobs NO American wants.

    I’ve gone on too long. Sorry.

  32. Michael says:

    Mark,

    That was well done…another angle we need to consider.

    Walls work in some areas…they are also at times a social and environmental disaster.

    They also keep people in as well as out…one of the reasons many migrants have come here and stayed instead of returning home is the danger and difficulty of getting back across to work agriculture in season.

  33. EricL says:

    If this goes well, then maybe it is time to write a book on the topic. You’re building up quite a backlog of books to write, Michael. 🙂

  34. Michael says:

    EricL,

    Bowden already said anything I would say and said it infinitely better than I’m able.
    The only reason I’d even think about it would be to write specifically for a Christian audience that may go into spasms reading Chuck’s sometimes profane prose…
    Maybe a little ebook…maybe.

  35. marklepard says:

    The questions Christians need to ask on this subject are, “What is TRUE Biblical hospitality?”, “Does God require it of me personally?” and, “Does God require it from a nation collectively?”

    I can give a quick answer to the first one; It isn’t knowing how to entertain your friends.

  36. Michael says:

    Mark,

    The third question is where the rubber meets the road…

  37. marklepard says:

    It’s also the harder one to answer. I think.

  38. Michael says:

    Mark,

    It is.
    My answer is technically, no.
    This isn’t a theocracy, nor a “Christian” nation.
    By the same token I’m also a citizen of a “royal nation” whose king is Jesus and I answer to Him first.

    My actions as a citizen of one nation may conflict with being a citizen of the other…

  39. marklepard says:

    So politically do we vote to make this nation mirror our royal nation, even while spinning our wheels?

  40. Michael says:

    Mark,

    You’re asking really good, difficult questions.

    I think we do vote for righteousness as much as possible…but I have little faith in either the candidates or the system.

    I’m of the radical view that we either are or are becoming a “beast” nation…
    Another topic for another time.

    The church at her best is speaking God’s truth to earthly powers…announcing the kingdom that has come, but not yet in it’s fullness.

    Thus, my position is that we participate as we see fit, but we participate primarily as citizens under King Jesus.

  41. Paul A. Lytton says:

    The answer will probably come from a fake christian (the anti-christ) in the form of a New World Order.

  42. philmetzger says:

    For what it’s worth, I think the subject of migrants and refugees are really two different issues with some overlapping points.

  43. Michael says:

    Phil,

    Agreed…tried to make that point a little earlier.

    You’re right in the middle of this issue right now….what should we know from your perspective?

  44. philmetzger says:

    I just got out of church and am heading home. When I get home I’ll gladly add my small two cents.

  45. Michael says:

    Phil,

    That will be very helpful…thank you!

  46. philmetzger says:

    Ok I’m back. I think you made the point well regarding the distinction between the two. A refugee is fleeing violence and oppression. Our experience right now in Hungary is convoluted- there is no way presently to differentiate between refugee and migrant. The border is wide open and everyone is flooding through. Obviously this is creating a lot of fear and opinions across Europe.

    My take is kind of simplistic… Solving the issue of migrants or refugees is WAY above my pay grade and more than that, nobody in the government is asking for my opinion.

    I can’t solve the issue but I can make a difference serving the people right in front of me. We are watching literally thousands of people a day walk across the border. They are exhausted and most of them are afraid. You can’t even imagine the difference it makes for us to smile at them.

    I’m certain that not everyone coming in is doing so for the right reasons but it seems to me that Jesus didn’t tell me to make that my concern. I believe that gospel living is more powerful than even the most evil of intentions.

  47. Michael says:

    Phil,

    Thank you for that.
    Are you as concerned as some that there are imbedded ISIS agents among these refugees…or is that even a factor in your response to them?

  48. philmetzger says:

    Not a factor in my response at all. I’m not so naive as to think that this isn’t possible. Let’s draw this out to it’s end though. Let’s assume there are which could very well be. Because there are possibly those elements should I not help the rest?

    In other words, we aren’t going to necessarily know right now and I pray we don’t have any problems. But if we do I won’t regret for one second having handed out blankets to children.

  49. Michael says:

    Phil,

    I very much appreciate your heart in this matter and for taking the time to tell us about what you’re seeing.
    How can we help?

  50. Steve Wright says:

    Refugees and migrants are definitely two different groups of people. I earlier wrote about migrants given the title of this article.

    I advocated for asylum to Elian Gonzalez back in the day. Bill, Hillary, Janet Reno and my two CA senators opposed my point of view. I still have Boxer’s letter to me somewhere I think.

    May God guide you, Phil, and bless you in your efforts

  51. Steve Wright says:

    Phil,

    Could you tell us if people are basically passing through or are they stopping and trying to stay in your area? I ask because I assume that might affect the ability and the particularity of whatever help resources you all can provide….???

  52. philmetzger says:

    Thanks for letting me rant on this subject! I’m grateful that there are many people who are willing to talk about the matter. We’ve seen an outpouring of prayer and giving which has been so amazing. Crisis like this seems to bring out the best and the worst in all of us.

    How to help: My prayer is that Christians will get a heart for people, even through watching these events unfold. I’m praying that instead of becoming tainted by the media and politicians that Christians will see Divine imperative to love at all costs. We are still called to sacrifice. So I guess one way to help is to pray- not as much for those of us helping but the thousands of refugees. I go home to a warm bed at night- not so for these people.

    We have put up a paypal for people who want to give financially but I don’t need to put it here. I wish we could have people give things but the situation is so fluid that there’s no way to know the need before it is on top of us.

    Next week Tuesday, Hungary closes its borders and criminalizes anyone walking over. This will move the people to find another way. We are trying to go on the offense and figure out what that’ll look like and then get there to set up tents, food and clothing. This is a prayer request: for wisdom.

  53. Thankful says:

    I think Phil is getting the issue right. If the Govenment is allowed to act in it’s primary role of serving/protecting it’s citizens, the church can act in it’s role of saving the lost and demonstrating God’s love for man.

    Maybe those (me?) in the church that want the government to solve the problem don’t want to have to act in their role as the church (or begin to confuse the two institutions). We are not called to solve the problem, but act as the body of Christ, although those in power do have a great burden that they will hopefully rely on God to handle.

    Let no man think of himself more highly than he ought.

  54. Michael says:

    Phil,

    You are more than welcome to post that Paypal here…and you and those you are serving will be in our prayers.

  55. philmetzger says:

    Steve: people are not staying in Hungary. They want to get to Germany or somewhere in W. Europe. EU law gets a bit tricky on this subject though: they must be registered where they first enter the European Union. Hungary is supposed to register them and then there can be a transfer to another country. This situation is unprecedented. A long story short- Hungary tried to enforce the law but was not even near ready to process this many people so the people were sleeping in the train station. They realized nothing was changing so they started walking to Vienna which is about 180 miles. After 16 miles the Hungarian government sent buses to take them to the border.

    So the point is there are laws but nobody was ready for these kinds of numbers.

  56. Em says:

    i hear that Russia is pouring military assets into Syria… of course, folk are trying to get out of there as they see something sinister playing out before their eyes… yet, i heard that there were even Burmese (Myanmarans, if you prefer) and Indonesians walking with this migration (?) … what is going on?
    i know that’s not the topic here, but we need to pray for wisdom on many fronts now, i think… i’m not talking about laying in supplies for a siege, but just for wisdom in the chaos that seems to be building… we, as Believers, need to seek direction from God the Holy Spirit, not from Donald T … or even good old Bernie
    i know this is Christian platitude, and we tend to be foolishly platitudinous, but it really can be our focus to a good end

  57. Em says:

    #53 – amen to what Thankful said

  58. Jim says:

    Lines on maps drawn by sociopaths.

    Why do we need nations and flags and rulers? I know, silly question…

  59. The Dude says:

    Micheal
    You write about stuff that pisses me off all the time. Keep telling the truth.. that’s what counts. Most of the time you write about stuff that I don’t want to have to deal with …The Goodness of God always prevails.
    Bless you.

  60. Michael says:

    Dude,

    Thank you.
    I don’t usually write to provoke people…when I do, I usually say so up front.
    The last time we had this discussion I nearly hung up my keyboard…I’m grateful it has been a good thread today.

  61. Michael says:

    Jim,

    To avoid anarchy?
    Feel free to expand on this for us…

  62. Thankful says:

    It seems nations (established at Babel) are the method God chose to prevent humanity from uniting in revolt against Him. ‘And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.’

    This is why Christians are resistant to a ‘One World Government’/’New World Order’ as God established the old order and it would seem Satan’s plan is to reverse that to the point where humanity can once again be one with one language and nothing will be restrained from them. Hence we wait for Jesus to return and overthrow the beast and anti-christ (whenever that is revealed).

  63. Jim says:

    Michael,

    Anarchy means “without rulers”. It is often confused with chaos, as if everyone would go crazy without a ruling class.

    Do you honestly think that the men who drew lines on maps had good intentions? My scots-irish ancestors help steal Texas from Mexico and killed the native Americans living there for good measure. They lived by might makes right, and were not concerned with anarchy.

  64. Michael says:

    Jim,

    There is a lot of Native American blood in my line so I get part of that.

    Isn’t government a God ordained institution?

  65. Jim says:

    Micheal,

    We’ve discussed my heretical views re Rms 13. I’m a 1 Sam 8 guy.

    I would ask readers to consider which passage rings true. When was there ever a righteous govt?

  66. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jim – is that a requirement of government – to be righteous? How about just effective?

  67. Em says:

    i confess that i don’t have the statistics, but i do know that all the tribes that populated the Americas before we came across the Atlantic to “join” them used to set geographical boundaries and kill each other, not necessarily in nice ways, to hold or gain turf… i maintain that we, Scotch-Irish or German or English or Dutch etc. just did it better than the natives – used to drive my late husband crazy arguing the point … we both descended from a mix of the races

    might makes right and sometimes right makes might, but always the politics of the world are being channeled by a very just and omnipotent God toward a good conclusion… i confess, it isn’t clear to me, at all, but i believe with all my heart that He is in charge of how history is unfolding as well as its future

  68. Em says:

    stupid old lady question, is that caution sign up there a real road sign?

  69. Em says:

    thank you, Michael for the Bowden linked interview, BTW

  70. Pastor Al says:

    A big problem is that the Muslims don’t seem to assimilate. Europe seems to demonstrate that dynamic.

    It’s a big problem. We’ll face it here if we buy into the kumbaya stuff too much.

  71. Jim says:

    Jim – is that a requirement of government – to be righteous? How about just effective?
    ______________________________________________

    I guess I’d have to ask for an example of an effective govt.

  72. Michael says:

    Em, yes it is real sign.

  73. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “I guess I’d have to ask for an example of an effective govt.”

    Well it could be theoretical – the point being that I think that is more the purpose of government than being righteous.

    Em, those are real signs when you drive on the freeway close in San Diego

  74. Scott says:

    What would be the process of differentiating between a refugee and immigrant? I still don’t fully comprehend that delentiation.

    In other words, people streaming across our southern borders looking for work and whatever, could just say they are refugees seeking asylum do to government oppression in their own countries(?)

    Also, I probably missed it, but did anyone link a way for me to send money to Phil’s group?

  75. Scott says:

    Never mind on the link, I found it.

  76. Michael says:

    “In other words, people streaming across our southern borders looking for work and whatever, could just say they are refugees seeking asylum do to government oppression in their own countries(?)”

    No.
    First Mexican migration here is at a net zero and has been for some time.
    Not much streaming going on in reality.

    Next, if someone comes to our border seeking refugee status, they are immediately detained, sometimes for months.
    The process to have your case heard in immigration court is long and difficult.
    Refugee status is rarely granted to Mexicans as to do so would be an admission from our government that parts of Mexico have been failed states.

  77. Michael says:

    The story of one seeking refugee status;

    “WHAT HE GETS is this: He is immediately jailed, as is his son. They are separated. He is taken to El Paso and placed in a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center run by Deco, Inc. He is deloused, given a blue jumpsuit, and set to work scrubbing floors for a dollar a day. He is denied bond, and no hearing is scheduled. Had he entered the United States illegally and then asked for asylum, he would be eligible for bond. But since he entered legally and asked for asylum at the port of entry he is kept in prison because the Department of Homeland Security declares that Emilio has failed to prove that he “would not pose a danger to the community.”

    He remembers those moments he loved: making his son’s breakfast, washing his son’s clothes. Now he can do nothing for him. Emilio cries a lot. He remembers all those bribes, all those sobres, he refused for years. He thinks, “If I had taken bribes I wouldn’t be here in prison.” Instead, he is surrounded by 800 prisoners—Africans, Middle Eastern people, Indians, Russians, and of course Central Americans and Mexicans, swept up in the increasing ICE raids.

    “The Mexicans,” he says, “are treated the worst. The staff curses us and calls us rats, narcos, and criminals. The work of the prison is done by the Mexicans and Central Americans. It is ironic—the illegals are arrested for working at real jobs in the US and then they get put in prison and are made to work for nothing.”

    For a month, he cannot speak to his son. He is tormented by the fear that older boys might molest him. The prison officials refuse to tell him anything. Finally, he gets a 10-minute phone call. The boy says he is doing okay. Emilio tells him they will not be able to go back to Mexico. He can sense his son is bitter; he has lost his home, his friends, even his dog. Emilio wants to hug him and kiss him as he did each day at home.

    The prison is haunted by a Cuban ghost. Twenty years before, it is said, the man hung himself with a bedsheet. And now at night, sometimes all the showers come on, or the toilets are emptied of water. Prisoners say that security cameras see the Cuban in the library in the middle of the night reading. There are sounds of a guitar playing. The ghost is a message that tells Emilio what the prison can do to a man. Emilio’s lawyer explains that asylum will be difficult, but allowing himself to be deported back to Mexico will be fatal. The lawyer says, “Maybe the United States does not want you but we know Mexico does not want you. Think of your son.”

    He does. And after a few months, Emilio’s son is released to friends in El Paso. He tells his father not to give up. He tells the press, “I really miss him and I miss my home too, but for me, my dad is more important. Because if something happens to him, I think that I would die. Because he is the only person I have and I love him more than anyone in the world.”

    At the end of January 2009, nine days after President Obama is sworn in, Emilio Gutiérrez Soto is suddenly released. When they call him to the office, he assumes he is being shipped to another prison in the American gulag. His lawyer also had no indication of the release. He is reunited with his son.

    His first hearing is postponed, and it could be again, because the US government loves postponing such hearings in the hope that migrants will give up and go back home. Emilio cannot work because the US government has yet to give him a work permit.”

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2009/07/we-bring-fear

  78. I had time to think about effective government … my city is very effective
    1.) My streets are clean
    2.) My trash gets hauled away every week
    3.) They pump fresh water into my house
    4.) The take away my poop
    5.) If I need a cop, I just call
    6.) If I need an ambulance, they arrive within 8 min
    7.) Fire department is even better
    8.) If the kids want to play Little League the city has built parks.

    It doesn’t get any better than that – and ‘righteousness is not even a part og it.

    Jim, you live in the land of ‘effective’ government. aren’t you guys HOA land? You won’t find a more effective form of government than an HOA. Brutal, not righteous at all … but effective. 🙂

  79. Scott says:

    Does anyone know how many undocumented (illegal) people there are in the U.S. right now? The numbers are diverse. I’ve read and heard it said that there are 11 million? Is that accurate?

  80. Michael says:

    Scott,

    No one really knows, but that number is probably close.

  81. Scott says:

    Thanks, Michael.

  82. Linnea says:

    I get compassion, I get receiving the alien, I get God’s word. God’s word says receive the alien– it doesn’t say we provide them with food stamps, healthcare, and welfare.

    I’m curious–how many who support unlimited migrant access–how many have their own businesses? Why is this relevant? You haven’t worked your rear end off and paid exorbitant taxes until you’ve owned your own business. Those exorbitant taxes go to support programs you really don’t agree with.

    When I hear that illegal migrants get more government support than our veterans, it makes me angry.

    We do need to sort this out in this country, but the reality is, if we receive everyone who wants to come in, services to those of us already here must decrease.

  83. Michael says:

    Charles Bowden was a tormented genius, but a genius nonetheless. Lest you all think I hold to some “liberal agenda” I’ll let Chuck tell it like it is…and he wrote this 10 years ago.

    “There are no honest players in this game. People cut the cards to fit their ideology. More Mexicans come north than either government admits.
    They do take jobs. (They say Mexicans take jobs Americans refuse to do. This is probably true in some instances. But in the mid–1960s slaughterhouse workers earned twice the current wage for their toil. Now such jobs are held by Mexicans.)

    They do commit crimes.

    And if the arrival of millions of poor people in the United States does not drive down wages, then surely there is a Nobel Prize to be earned in studying this remarkable exception to the law of supply and demand.

    They are no longer migratory workers. And it is not seasonal labor. The people walking north all around me are not going home again. This is an exodus from a failed economy and a barbarous government and their journey is biblical.

    And all the solutions in political play are idiocy. Worker permits? Demand at this moment is certainly the 12 million illegals in the United States today, and it climbs each year by maybe a million more.

    Open the border? Mexicans would be trampled to death by Asians storming up the open route and, also, by other Latin Americans, those folks the Border Patrol calls OTMs, Other Than Mexicans.

    Build a wall? The border consists of 1,951 miles of desert, mountains, and scrub, a zone legally traversed by 350 million people a year–the busiest border in the world.

    Employer sanctions to make illegals unemployable? Fine, then Mexicans go home and Mexico erupts and we have a destroyed nation on our southern border and even greater illegal migration. In 1910, the Mexican Revolution ripped apart a nation of 15 million souls. One out of 15 died. But 892,000 fled to the United States. Now there are 108 million Mexicans. Do the math.

    There are piles of studies on these matters, studies that prove illegal migration benefits the United States, studies that prove it does not benefit the United States, studies that show it enhances the GDP or has little or no contribution to the GDP. There are plans to manage this migration and plans to stop it dead in its tracks. There are proposed solutions. And, of course, there are claims that we don’t really need a solution, because mass migration is natural for a nation of immigrants and as American as apple pie.

    But in the end, you don’t get to pick solutions. You simply have choices, and by these choices you will discover who you really are. You can turn your back on poor people, or you can open your arms and welcome them into an increasingly crowded country and exhausted landscape.

    I think this country already has too many people and that the ground under our feet is being murdered and the sky over our heads is being poisoned. I find these beliefs pointless when I stand on the line.

    Across it flows the largest migration on earth. Nearly 15 percent of the Mexican workforce now resides in the United States. When the dust settles, this exodus will influence us more than the Iraq war. The war is who we are; the migrants are who we will be. For a century, the United States has tolerated and sponsored various nondemocratic rulers in Mexico. When Porfirio Díaz ruled as a dictator, we celebrated him. When the revolution came, we tried to corrupt and control various factions and repeatedly invaded. When a new dictatorship settled on Mexico disguised within single–party rule for 71 years, we celebrated it. When the students were butchered in Mexico City in 1968 on the eve of the Olympics, we focused on gold medals and ignored the murders. When Mexico became a narco state in the 1980s, we denied this fact. When NAFTA proved ruinous to most Mexicans, we denied this fact. And now as millions flee this charnel house, we pretend it is simply a mild structural readjustment of globalization, something that provides us cheap labor and grows that thing we call our economy.

    For several decades now our economic theology has outsourced not only American jobs but also the reality that most people on this planet must endure. We buy clothes made by children and comment on the good price. Oceans have largely sheltered us from the consequences of our actions. But the Third World has finally said hello and this time not even a wall will keep it silent or at bay. What is happening on our southern border has penetrated our entire country and the border is simply a point where we watch the world race toward us at flood level. The issue is not securing a broken border any more than the real issue in New Orleans is building a better levee. Storms are rising, and the walls and levees are simply points where we taste their initial force as they move inland.

    We have entered the future even as we pretend it is simply a version of our past.”

  84. Jim says:

    MLD,

    Let’s talk about federal governments. I don’t think your city is building a wall, deporting illegals, or granting amnesty.

    The final count isn’t in on HOAs, but we have over 20,000 condo assn’s, one of which I run as president. It’s corporate govt by contract, so a much different animal.

    I’d take fed gov by contract in a second.

  85. Michael says:

    Linnea,

    I don’t know anyone who supports unlimited immigration (other than the libertarians).

    Having a close friend and a doctor who worked in a VA hospital, that is a whole ‘nother mess that is a disgrace.

    I believe that the only long term solution is to help make the places they come from stable.

  86. Jim says:

    Linnea,

    I’ve been self employed since 2000, except for three years. Our tax system is criminal.

  87. Jim says:

    Michael,

    Even the US empire can not make the third world “stable”. Even if it were possible, stability is the last thing the ruling class desires. Their specialty is destabilization.

  88. Michael says:

    Jim,

    We don’t have a choice.
    This is a global issue now…and has been for some time.

    Bowden in 2005;
    “We want an answer, a solution. But there is only this fact: We either find a way to make their world better or they will come to our better world. At the moment, we insist on the wrong answer to the wrong question. And so, the Border Patrol will grow. There will be a wall. Tougher laws will be passed by Congress. And the people will keep coming.”

    The only alternative will be the to kill them in waves…something Mexico does occasionally already.

  89. Scott says:

    Linnea, believe me I know. I run my own little trucking business and between government regulations and cheaper and cheaper (foreign) labor coming into the industry, it’s scary.

    I think this is why Donald Trump has struck a chord with so many people. People are afraid, whether real or imagined and these politicians know how to tap into it.

    I appreciate Michael’s attempt to shed light on the whole picture. It’s very fluid right now and is definitely something we’re all going to have to deal with on some level.

  90. Michael says:

    Scott,

    If we are going to have true reform and real solutions everyone from Linnea to Phil to me to you to Jim has to be heard and honestly addressed.

    Now, I’ll throw something else in…a dirty little fact most people don’t know.

    Many economists believe that the undocumented worker is the only thing holding the Social Security system together.

    They still pay into the system, but have no way of collecting from it.

    Thus they grace us with about 2 billion a year in SS taxes that they will never spend…and without that coming in the system may go under.

  91. Michael says:

    I misspoke…
    “They are paying an estimated $15 billion a year into Social Security with no intention of ever collecting benefits,” Stephen Goss, chief actuary of the SSA told CNNMoney. “Without the estimated 3.1 million undocumented immigrants paying into the system, Social Security would have entered persistent shortfall of tax revenue to cover payouts starting in 2009,” he said.

  92. The Dude says:

    Mexico is simply a mess. The Mexican government could care less about their own people unless it’s the wealthy and political class.Resolving the border will require both governments to work together .Good luck with that.

  93. Michael says:

    Dude,

    That’s true.
    That’s why we need real statesmen and real ideas…not politicians using it for a vote.

  94. Scott says:

    Michael, that is a huge figure.

    I wonder though, without being confrontational, if there is really a net benefit to that scenario when you factor back the costs which are incurred to the system via earned income credits and such?

    Do you have any statistics on that?

  95. Michael says:

    Collectively, they paid an estimated $10.6 billion to state and local taxes in 2010, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), a research organization that works on tax policy issues. Contributions varied by state. In Montana they contributed $2 million. In California, more than $2.2 billion. On average they pay about 6.4% of their income in state and local taxes, ITEP said.
    A 2007 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on the impact of undocumented immigrants on the budgets of local and state governments cited IRS figures showing that 50% to 75% of the about 11 million unauthorized U.S. immigrants file and pay income taxes each year.
    A 2013 CBO analysis of the failed bipartisan bill introduced by the so-called “gang of 8” that would have created a path to legal status for many undocumented immigrants found that increasing legal immigration would increase government spending on refundable tax credits, Medicaid and health insurance subsidies, among other federal benefits. But it would also create even more tax revenue by way of income and payroll taxes. That could reduce deficits by $175 billion over the first 10 years and by at least $700 billion in the second decade.
    ITEP estimates that allowing certain immigrants to stay in the country and work legally would boost state and local tax contributions by $2 billion a year.

    Undocumented immigrants do not qualify for welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, and most other public benefits. Most of these programs require proof of legal immigration status and under the 1996 welfare law, even legal immigrants cannot receive these benefits until they have been in the United States for more than five years.

    Non-citizen immigrant adults and children are about 25% less likely to be signed up for Medicaid than their poor native-born equivalents and are also 37% less likely to receive food stamps, according to a 2013 study by the Cato Institute.
    Citizen children of illegal immigrants — often derogatorily referred to as “anchor babies” — do qualify for social benefits. Also, undocumented immigrants are eligible for schooling and emergency medical care. Currently, the average unlawful immigrant household costs taxpayers $14,387 per household, according to a recent report by The Heritage Foundation. But in its 2013 “Immigration Myths and Facts” report, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says most economists see providing these benefits as an investment for the future, when these children become workers and taxpayers.
    A CBO report on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 concluded that a path to legalization for immigrants would increase federal revenues by $48 billion. Such a plan would see $23 billion in increased costs from the use of public services, but ultimately, it would produce a surplus of $25 billion for government coffers, CBO said.

  96. Michael says:

    Scott,

    I will also say that every side seems to have their own reports and estimates.

    My whole point is to try to bring some balance to what the media puts out because this is a political football to them instead of a human issue.

  97. Jim says:

    Interesting to see tax cattle verbiage used in reference to “illegals”. “Investment in the future…”

  98. Steve Wright says:

    I don’t know anyone who supports unlimited immigration (other than the libertarians).
    ——————————————————-
    That Huffington Post article I linked to the other day (and the multiple commentators that affirmed it) were not libertarians

  99. Michael says:

    Here’s what I’m saying.
    I’m surrounded as I speak with stacks of books and papers on the subject.
    I’m on numerous discussion boards all of which take a pretty compassion first position on migration.
    I talk with all sorts of college professors here and in Mexico.
    I’ve been neck deep in migration issues for years.
    I’ve never heard one of those people advocate for completely open borders.
    I’ve never advocated for completely open borders.
    There may be a few out there who do, but they are not found in any of the books or literature I’ve read and I’ve read about this until my eyes bleed.

    My guess would be that they are the opposite fringe from those who want to deport everyone and send the military to the border.

    They are certainly not represented in the EIC.

  100. Ryan Couch says:

    I own and operate a produce business. I work with and interact with both legal and illegal immigrants almost daily. My sparse Spanish and their broken English makes for interesting communication and conversation.

    The labor situation in the agricultural world is really a problem…not because Mexican immigrants are taking jobs, but because farm and orchard owners cannot find enough pickers to harvest crops. One such farmer (who happens to be an immigrant himself…came to America to work and now owns his own farm, one of the best farmers in the state btw) let many of his crops go to waste this year because he simply did not have the labor to pick the crops. Another farmer (long standing berry grower outside Salem, OR) told me that it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for him to find berry pickers…his best pickers are 50+ year old women but their children do not want to do the work they grew up watching their parents do. Another farmer, who owns an orchard in Hood River, lost most of his crew this year to better paying jobs in WA. and there was no one to take their place. I could go on with stories…suffice it to say, we have a real agricultural labor issue and unless we open our borders and allow more people from Mexico who are desperate for any American job we will have a real food issue on our hands in the next several years.

  101. Michael says:

    Ryan,

    Thanks.
    We have a similar problem with pears and grapes here.
    The problem being that if they get here and go home, they may not make it back across, despite how “wide open” some allege the border to be.

    Some of the workers here are those who chose to stay at some point because of the difficulty getting back and forth.

  102. Jonnyb says:

    It all started in 1942 with the bracero program.

    Some of the workers saw that life in El Norte was somewhat better. They worked hard but at least they had work.

    They were taken advantage of and Cesar Chavez made the far workers struggle a moral cause.

    From there it became clear that these working Latinos liked it here and left the farms.

    They integrated into areas where they raised families and learned to help one another to survive among the locals.

    They worked hard at what ever was available, such as service jobs like house cleaning, gardening and kitchen help.

    Americans do understand.

    It is mostly the white middle class who are the most vocal and are in support of some of Trump’s rantings.

    Some one said they like the one’s they know and don’t like the ones they hear about.

    This is human nature.

    The bulk of us don’t really know those who have come here for a better life.

    They have loved ones. They have fears that they will be taken from one another suddenly without being able to reunite.

    This is no way to live for anyone.

    And yet they have managed a strong foothold in America and have contributed to society in so many ways.

    Which Latino did Jesus Christ not give up His life for?
    Viewed through this perspective would we see any one of them has a lesser value than all of us who are here legally?

  103. Ryan Couch says:

    Michael,

    In my 20 years in and out of this business I can’t recall seeing a white person or a natural born American citizen picking produce…and like I said many of the first generation immigrants who have raised children in America are getting too old to do the work and their children do not want to do it (don’t blame them btw)…not to mention the immigrants are becoming choosier about what jobs they take; they make a lot more money picking certain crops, so they go where the money is, leaving many farmers without workers. While many conservatives are calling for stricter border control, our farmer are struggling to make ends meet because they don’t have the labor force to bring their crops to harvest…and white kids are not beating down anyone’s door for the jobs.

    It’s funny farmer’s are usually very conservative politically…except in regard to two issues:

    1. Border control (they desperately need immigrant workers)
    2. Climate change (they cannot deny the change in our climate and it’s effect on their crops)

  104. Michael says:

    Ryan,

    I was hoping someone with your background would speak to this issue…and I’m glad you did.

  105. Michael says:

    jonnyb,

    Bless your heart…thank you for that.

  106. Michael says:

    This was productive and informative beyond what I could have hoped for.
    Thank you all…

  107. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    As a Christian, I think my primary duty is to love these immigrants and look at it as Jehovah sending them to our door steps to give them the gospel. What an awesome opportunity!

  108. Steve Wright says:

    While many conservatives are calling for stricter border control, our farmer are struggling to make ends meet because they don’t have the labor force to bring their crops to harvest
    ————————————————————–
    I just want to add that just about any conservative I hear on this issue is very vocal about the need to streamline legal immigration and cut the red tape.

    Border control is not immigration control. This is how the stereotype of the xenophobic, racist conservative develops in the media by conflating two very, very different issues.

  109. UnCCed says:

    This issue, or the way it was discussed (not really, one-sided, but we liked to pretend we were thinking) was one of the first red flags I had been duped a long time ago. Not duped by CC per se (though I’ve witnessed for 20 years its definately allowed though not taught), but by I THINK American Protestantism. I only make that destinction because I have no idea what occurs/discussed about this issue in other parts of the church.
    Anyway, at a men’s study (which was quite good btw) this issue came up around the time SoCal was heaping the blame for everyone’s ills on brown people (prop 187). It was the first time I remember our study being diverted to such a political issue. We had a visitor from England who was quite shocked and offended by some of the comments and made that know, quite fairly I might add (he didn’t respond in attack like the comments, but just explained what he didn’t understand-he heard about America being a melting pot-why do we want to keep them out now?).
    He was then ridiculed for being a Socialist, blah, blah.
    I didn’t realize till just then while I never rode the blame-the-brown-people wagon, it did at least sound quite racists and weird at a church.
    Now, I really don’t know the solution because I understand some of the difficulties of just letting everyone come in (another BIG discussion).
    But here are some issues I have:
    – During Iraq, we had a guy serve with us from a South American country, just to get his citizenship, then bring his family. I would be VERY offended if anyone tried to stop him.
    – I don’t like that American allowed a FLOOD of white immigrants from Europe decades ago, but now brown people (if too many) will “ruin ‘Merica” (you should see my Facebook-mostly Christians).
    – Most of the immigrants (don’t have, will have citizenship status) I’ve worked with are hi-tech professionals or engineers. As a believer I’d much rather help those staring, escaping danger, etc., to enjoy the blessings of this country.
    – Did we forget WE were all immigrants before punishing Native Americans and Mexicans for being on our land before we got here?
    – There have been and remain MANY problems with border security and immigration due to faulty legislation, law enforcement, etc., NOT the fault of immigrants, yet most if not all of those complaining have never contacting their representative or will do anything about it.

  110. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    To clarify, I have no problem with the government enforcing the law regarding illegal immigration. I’m just saying what we as Christians should do when we come across them.

  111. Em says:

    i don’t know if what is rolling around in my head will make sense this a.m., but this nation is a lawless nation now – God is dead and question, hold disdain for authority (other than your own)
    there was a time in this nation when God was not dead – there was an underlying fear of a Creator… and there was an underlying understanding of respect for authority… holdovers from the past, the times when men learned, that through cooperation and chains of command, to set their sails on ships and defend their lands… it made for progress, for adventurous exploration of the planet – so, experientially, it made sense…

    i was reading Jeremiah this morning chapter 44 – he’s telling the Jew that bad times are coming because they no longer fear and serve God and their reply was, “nuts, we’ve had good times worshipping the Queen of heaven, and that’s what we’ll continue to do. Jeremiah, you’re the problem.”

    my point is? i think that’s where we are now… the nation has gone from being simple minded (in a good way) to being rebellious and egotistical… the land is turning on us, not blessing our endeavors and we “know” that we are so good: “just look at what we’ve built here.” … it must be all those brown people causing our woes… the devil’s red herring 🙂

  112. Steve Wright says:

    Phil…if you are still around…

    I keep seeing stats that 75% of the people are men, with the other 25% pretty evenly split among women and children.

    Do those stats match your eyeball test and what you all are actually seeing?

    I must say that the photos seen seem to agree with the stats, but am curious if that is the case on the ground. Thank you.

    (P.S. A friend of a friend who is there with you said they helped deliver a baby the other day. Once more, God Bless you all for all you are doing)

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